California sets the course for ICE exit

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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has now passed the regulation ‘Advanced Clean Cars II’, which defines the path for the ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) cars in the US state from 2035 onwards. However, the ban on internal combustion vehicles has been softened.

Originally, only zero-emission cars were to be sold in California from 2035. According to the regulation now passed by CARB, however, plug-in hybrids will also continue to be allowed. However, they must offer an electric range of at least 50 miles (80 kilometres) under real driving conditions. In addition, car manufacturers may not cover more than 20 per cent of their total sales with PHEVs. But there is also a minimum range of 150 miles or 241 kilometres for battery-electric cars and fuel cell vehicles to count towards a manufacturer’s ZEV quota.

The regulation, which includes pickup trucks and SUVs as well as classic cars, generally states that automakers must sell an increasing number of their vehicles as BEVs, PHEVs or FCEVs each year starting with the 2026 model year in California – CARB groups these vehicles together as Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs). This rate starts at 35 per cent and increases to 68 per cent by 2030, reaching a full 100 per cent by 2035. This is a fairly linear increase.

The CARB also defines, among other things, requirements for the residual capacity of the battery after certain running times and for the warranty for electric drive components. By the model year 2030, the regulations require that the vehicle maintain at least 80 per cent of its electric range for ten years or 150,000 miles, to give an example of one such requirement.

“Once again California is leading the nation and the world with a regulation that sets ambitious but achievable targets for ZEV sales. Rapidly accelerating the number of ZEVs on our roads and highways will deliver substantial emission and pollution reductions to all Californians, especially for those who live near roadways and suffer from persistent air pollution,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph.

California had already introduced a similar quota system for commercial vehicles in 2020, up to and including US Class 8 heavy-duty semi-trucks. The quotas extend into 2035, when they are expected to account for between 40 and 75 per cent of sales, depending on the weight class. The long-term goal is that every commercial vehicle in the US state will also be emission-free by 2045.


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