California releases first electric trucking standard

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California’s new zero-emissions truck manufacturing standard, proposed last week, has made waves already, both for being the first of its kind in the country and for the amount of controversy it has cased.

In addition to expected emissions and electrification targets, the new standard also requires half of all medium and heavy-duty truck sales in California be zero-emission vehicles by 2030. Despite years of policy-crafting and debate, the rule has drawn serious fire from both independent trucking groups and environmental coalitions, though for totally different reasons.

“A 50% transformation is unrealistic in the next decade,” Joe Rajkovacz, government affairs director for the Western States Trucking Associations, told FrieghtWaves last week. “The cost of the new emerging technologies won’t be cheap.”

A diesel-powered Class 8 truck runs around $125,000. The Tesla Semi, by contrast, costs around $150,000 for the 300-mile range version and $180,000 for the 500-mile range truck, FrieghtWaves also reported.

Environmentalists, on the other hand, say the regulations don’t do enough to combat rising greenhouse gas emissions. An estimate by the Union of Concerned Scientists found only 4 percent of the nearly two million trucks on California’s roads today would be electric by 2030 under the proposed rule. In contrast, the UCS is calling for the California Air Resources Board to also require at least 15 percent of the trucks on the road to be zero emission by 2030.

The Air Resources Board will hold its next hearing in early December, with regulations finalized in Spring 2020.

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