Zero Emission Vehicles in California

  • Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCVs) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are both commercially viable pathways that demonstrate Zero Emissions potential in the transportation sector.
  • Zero Emission Vehicle technology is here now! 
    • Automaker surveys from the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the Air Resource Board project close to 50,000 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) on the road in California by 2017. Daimler, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen have active fuel cell vehicle programs with a commercial target date of 2015.
    • Nissan is launching its BEV Leaf in 2010 and is expected to have approximately 10,000 vehicles on the road in 2011. The number of BEVs on the road in California by 2015 is expected to approach half a million vehicles.
    • Nissan, Ford, GM, Toyota, and Honda all have active ZEV programs that have the potential to over-comply with California's ZEV regulation in each phase.
  • Zero Emission Vehicles are expected be cost competitive with other alternative transportation options in the near term.  At least one OEM expects to be able to sell its 2015 retail FCV at approximately $50,000 without taking a loss.5 The Nissan Leaf BEV will be priced competitively around $22,000 after federal and state (California) tax incentives.6 
  • Zero Emission Buses offer one the most effective platforms to deliver zero emissions benefits to underprivileged communities and provide a clean alternative in mass transit applications.  Continued funding of both transit fueling infrastructure and zero emission buses remain critical to bringing this technology to commercial viability.  Many of these buses are designed, constructed and maintained in California. 

ENVIRONMENTAL Benefits of Zero Emission Vehicles

  • There is broad consensus that both hydrogen and electricity are key elements of a portfolio approach toward meeting California’s 2050 climate goals in the transportation sector.7
  • Hydrogen can be made from a variety of traditional and renewable feedstocks, moving California and the U.S. to more domestic sources of transportation fuels. 
    • Hydrogen from renewable sources has zero toxic emissions, zero criteria pollutants and zero greenhouse gases.
    • Hydrogen produced from natural gas and used in a fuel cell vehicle is 2-3 times more efficient than gasoline in a combustion vehicle, and reduces greenhouse gases by about half.8  
    • SB1505 (Statues of 2006), sponsored by EIN, assures environmental benefits of hydrogen-fueled transportation.  It requires 33% of hydrogen for transportation in California to come from renewable sources.  ARB is working to promulgate SB 1505 regulations by the end of 2010.
  • The Environmental Benefits of BEVs are largely dependent on the composition of the electric grid. These benefits will increase as more electricity production comes from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power. 
    • BEVs, when running on electricity produced from renewable sources, have zero tailpipe emissions, zero criteria pollutants, and zero GHG emissions from a Well-to-Wheels perspective. 
    • Many states, including California, have implemented strong Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) which require defined levels of energy produced to be produced from renewable sources. 
    • We need a strong federal RPS to realize environmental benefits of BEV deployment outside California.

Legislation, Funding & Regulation

  • We need strong state support to attract zero emission vehicles and buses, and the related jobs and industry, to California.  
    • Due to long lead-time in the development of hydrogen fueling stations, it is imperative that we continue to fund, and potentially mandate, development of fueling stations to ensure that the proper infrastructure is in place to support vehicle deployment. Continued state support, such as funding through the AB 118 Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, is critical to facilitate early deployment of hydrogen infrastructure.
  • The AB 118 Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, is a key component of California’s progressive climate change policy goals. 
    • AB 118 is complementary to other CA policies attempting to reduce the environmental impact of the transportation sector such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), Zero Emission Vehicle Program (ZEV), Clean Fuels Outlet, and the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32).
    • AB 118 investment dollars provide a critical financial bounce needed to support the regulatory push to successfully deploy clean vehicle technologies.
    • An integrative, thoughtful, and balanced process involving key stakeholders from industry, government agencies, environmental NGOs, and policymakers establishes the AB 118 funding levels.  Investment Plan development benefits from the stakeholder input and should be continued in the future.    
  • The Zero Emissions Vehicle regulation is a market driving force that will help guide California in the formation of a more sustainable transportation sector.