Zero-emissions trucks: Coming to a California near you?

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By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Perhaps Tesla’s Elon Musk is on to something. California is contemplating becoming the first locale in the world to mandate zero-emissions trucks by decree. The state’s controversial California Air Resources Board (CARB) took testimony last week on a proposal that would rewrite emission standards, and says it will vote on the proposal next year. What’s at stake?

In CARB’s vision, by 2030 – just a decade away – the state would see 74,000 zero-emissions trucks plying the Golden State roadways. That’s just 4 percent of the one-and-a-half-million medium- and heavy-duty trucks smoking down the highways today. Hit the hardest would be big trucks, like semi trucks and box trucks. Under the plan, half of all new big rigs would have to be zero-emitters by 2030. Pickup trucks and full-sized vans would need to meet standards by the same year, but only 15 percent of all sales would need to be zero emissions. By 2040, CARB wants to see ALL trucks sold to be zero-emitters.

It’s a tall order. Will battery technology be in a position to make it practical for all-electric propulsion? If it is, will there be a large enough, fast enough charging system network in place? And what about in those backwoods areas, say in the Sierras, where fifth wheel and travel trailer owners would head to with their rigs? It’s not clear how much CARB has taken that into the equation, but they are fired up with health improvements. If true, there is something to be said for the saving of 600 lives that CARB says are taken prematurely by air pollution attributed to vehicle emissions.

The proposal is getting a mixed review. Many environmental groups support the idea, but complain that the mandate isn’t fast enough or big enough. On the other side, an engine manufacturing industry representative, Jed Mandel, reminds the board that for business owners, a truck is a significant investment that needs to return a profit. He aptly points out that zero-emissions engines simply cost more than conventional combustion engines.

Given a historical perspective of CARB mandates, it’s likely this new plan will fly. Like it or not, Californians will see a future where “fill ‘er up” will mean something other than gas or diesel.

##RVT927b

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Bob p
1 month ago

It would be interesting to calculate how much emissions goes into the manufacturing of these zero emissions vehicles, and then how much emissions go into recharging these vehicles. CARB proves everyday they don’t think beyond the end of their nose. There ain’t no free lunch, somewhere there’s a time when you must pay the piper. They can tell us all day long about zero emissions but they can’t tell you how they do it, solar is great as long as the sun is shining, wind is great as long as the wind is blowing. Maybe California has the answers for them, I don’t know, but I know there are many places in the USA where the sun doesn’t shine everyday and the wind doesn’t blow hard enough for wind turbines. What do these areas do for power? I know of many owner operators in the trucking industry who will not go into CA simply because of the stupid regulations. When no one but big trucking companies will go into CA the goods you buy will triple in cost because they have to recoup their cost .

Tony
1 month ago

I guess that CARB will explain to their subjects why everything they buy will get a sever cost jump. If the tucks cost more, the companies will charge more to haul the goods we all need, the freight will be delayed when the drivers spend hours recharging instead of 20 minutes at a fuel pump, taxes will jump due to the loss of fuel taxes, and they will pay the added per mile cost the trucking companies have to add for the cost to change out and dispose of the massive battery packs. When it gets to expensive for trucking companies to operate in California, they will not go there. For years, truckers have refused to go to areas that didn’t pay enough because of tolls or lack of return loads or other added expenses. Who is going to deliver to any area when they can’t make a profit?

Dave
1 month ago

Before you think Tesla is a good stock to buy, check with your financial advisor. Verify if their profits came from selling cars.

Billy Bob Thorton
8 months ago

Oh, and one more thing. This just in, Tessa is valued at 81 billion dollars with a B. That valuation is greater than either Ford, General Motors, or Chrysler. So much for the geniuses of wall st. When you think you’ve seen it all, you ain’t.

Steve
8 months ago

” zero-emissions engines simply cost more” – funny I never heard of a “ZERO EMISSION ENGINE” – I assume the writer means electric motor. No “ENGINE” is zero emission. And to get close will be expensive and not very efficient!

As for the comments about wind generators. It’s time to start developing the vertical turbine style. We need to get away from the inefficient propeller style!

bisonwings
9 months ago

MCN (Motorcycle Consumer News) ran a article on the true cost of a battery powered vehicle. 1. The environmental cost for production of a battery, regeneration parts, electric motor, and cables capable of powering said vehicle exceed any environmental savings over fossil fuels. As was noted in another post here the electricity to power the electric generators that power the plants that produce batteries and all of the other parts needed are powered by fossil fuels. Wind power without taxpayer subsidies would have never happened and add to that the environmental cost to wildlife and the case against them skyrockets. Birds on the endangered species list any bird is attached to the flash of sunlight off the blades. And they make a sound when they are spinning at their optimum speed for power production that draws in birds and fiscally effects People living close by. Each year 10’s of thousands of birds are killed by wind generators. Power companies pay a annual $5000.00 fine and just keep on killing.
Add the tremendous cost of maintenance on the blades, bearings and generators themselves and you begin to understand how inefficient they really are.
The article also pointed out that many of the solar components are manufactured off shore where environmental issues are ignored.
So spread the word folks. The media isn’t doing it’s job of due diligence to report the truth about theses environmental issues.

Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  bisonwings

To add, batteries need to be recharged most likely by generated electricity. Electricity is typically generated by burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, digested methane, or other burnables. There is no such thing as 0-emision.

Tommy Molnar
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Zero emissions are only in heads of goofy California politicians.

Billy Bob Thorton
9 months ago

Listen, this is just smoke and mirrors. Let’s review; fact, for every gallon of diesel fuel not purchased, which by the way has approx. 50% taxes federal, state, sales, etc. buried in the selling price, the rest of us will be making up the difference. If you think for one second, less tax revenue from that source, will mean the burn rate will lessen, then you haven’t been paying attention the last 50ty years, and i own a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Fact, approximately 75% of ALL electric generation is from fossil fuels (coal, nat. gas, etc.) Which is then inputed into the batteries. Resulting in the lie of clean emmision vehicles. Windmills are an economic joke, as well as subsidized solar. Few understand that their is no subsidy for fossil fuels, that is another lie portrayed by the uninformed. Those who make that statement, dont understand the U.S. tax code.

So, in summary, the experiment will fail, when the looting government becomes so upside down, the ability to tax the remaining marginal income goes past equilibrium. When that happens, God help us all.

Dennis
9 months ago

This madness is not unique to California. Our Canadian Federal government is going down this same path to bankrupt the entire nation over this utter nonsense. They have mandated a full on attack of our resource industry putting hundreds of thousands of people in the west out of work in the name of saving the planet.
The worst part is that the eastern half of the country just reelected these eco bandits to a minority government. God help us all.

limon
9 months ago

At the very base level It’s a population problem, but CARB can not comprehend that as they waste tax money on their wine and steak dinners as they hazily pontificate on actions that only delay the inevitable conclusion.

Tom
9 months ago

CARB does consider electric transmission into the equation. Several local governments are banning natural gas for heat or food preparation here in CA. I bet you can guess what the restaurants think about that.

Gray
9 months ago

Perhaps CARB is on to something: they should mandate that all electric vehicles have a solar panel hood and trunk lid tied into the drive motor batteries, with a windmill generator on the vehicle roof. Once in motion, the windmill and solar panels will keep the vehicle running indefinitely (perpetual motion, right?) That, and a CARB order that the tide will come in only gently, never at a threatening height as sea levels rise.

Calling electric vehicles “zero emission” is nothing but grotesque deception. Shifting the energy demand to massive electric plants, increasing the load on interstate transmission lines that lose up to half the energy they carry, increasing the huge environmental burden of battery manufacture and disposal, and ignoring the impact of an insanely expensive and disruptive charging infrastructure… all makes as much sense as puffing one’s breath against a skate-board mounted sail to eliminate the need for pushing one’s self along by foot.

Billy Bob Thorton
8 months ago
Reply to  Gray

Whatever he’s drinking, make mine a double!

Thomas Becher
9 months ago

Zero emissions? Hardly, the electricity needed to recharge must be made somewhere and no electricity is made when the sun goes down. We can’t build any new nukes and even natural gas has emissions. Luck to you,California.

Billy Bob Thorton
8 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Becher

We could build more nuclear generation, but it’s currently a NIMBY culture. Until we come close to running out, that won’t change.

Kenneth Fuller
9 months ago

Get ready for the EPA to continue cleaning out your wallet. It’s all a smoke screen. It just shifts the way emissions are emitted. The internal combustion engine could still be fined tuned for better mileage, hence less emissions. Look at how much they have been cleaned up since the 70’s.

Billy Bob Thorton
9 months ago
Reply to  Kenneth Fuller

Respectfully, you don’t understand the fundamentals of engineer. Efficiencies are near maximum. CAFE standards have been held in check, because they couldn’t be met by laws of physics.

Billy Bob Thorton
9 months ago
Reply to  Kenneth Fuller

The EPA has been curtailed somewhat over the last three years. Their ability to legislate through regulation is unconstitutional. I look forward to having this rogue agency, brought into line in the years to come. You want a law, follow the constitution, not rogue tree hugging imbicils.

John
9 months ago

Saw the demo for Musks PU truck. They didn’t mention if it has a heater. If not DOA in Minnesota.

Tommy Molnar
8 months ago
Reply to  John

As has been mentioned in countless blogs, Elon’s pipe dream was just a prototype. Notice no windshield wipers, no side view mirrors, and generally not legally streetable.
Then there was that ‘fake’ pulling contest between some two wheel drive Ford and his pie in the sky truck. Electricity has a long way to go before it replaces fossil fuels – if it EVER does. Once there are no subsidies for buying these electric cars, sales will drop off, even though many car manufacturers are coming up with them. Even Porsche now has one, aimed directly at the Tesla Model S, but costing $150k.

William Newhall
9 months ago

The **** running California are bound and determined to run business and tax payers out of the state. Were are a couple leaving this nut house.

Fred
9 months ago

Great! Don’t let the door hit you!

DAVID QUINN
9 months ago

***fornia is slowly creating a moat around the state, but Oregon and Washington will soon climb aboard. The truckers must not cave to this like they did with the diesel emissions rules around 10 years ago that cost truckers thousands to have the privilege of driving in this crappy state. Create a port of entry to drop your cargo and head fast back to the freedom loving Americans away from the coastal states. Billions wasted to save just one life, ok 600 lives, there are plenty more factors to kill us off. CARB is the greatest dictator out there.

Billy Bob Thorton
9 months ago
Reply to  DAVID QUINN

California has the highest taxed fuels, thus selling prices on gasoline and diesel in the country by far. The state still runs a deficit. CALPERS is so underfunded, that all of the govt employees reaching retirements in several years, will have to accept reduced defined benifits. But, before that unfolds, Chicago city public employees reach the financial cliff first. Years of underfunded, mismanaged pension funds will be coming due there shortly.

Drill every square inch of the NWR, produce as much fossil fuel as possible, and stop the government, out of control spending.

Captn John
9 months ago

CA has the highest fuel tax in the country. Maybe they will do the same with electricity to pay for roads.
I don’t know or want to know if their thought process is impacted by the air or water but I hope it doesn’t spread. What used to be a great state has turned to poop literally. Instead of trying to make it better they do what they can to make it worse.

DAVID QUINN
9 months ago
Reply to  Captn John

Everyone will now be taxed on the miles driven since the amount of fuel used will be reduced, they sure ain’t giving you a high-5 to come clean and they cannot live without spending your hard earned taxes they love to collect.

William Newhall
9 months ago
Reply to  Captn John

California already has one of the highest electrical rates in the country.
Their wish for an all electric cars and truck is a fools folley. The electrical grind does not have anywhere near the capacity to handle all the charging.

Leo Suarez
9 months ago

Does anyone in CA even think about all of the toxic metals and other chemicals inside a battery. Eventually those 10’s of millions of batteries will probably end up in a landfill and years later that landfill will probably leak like most do and all of those nasty chemicals will find their way into water sources and God knows what else. As an electrical engineer I can tell you there is nothing clean about battery technology.

Donald N Wright
9 months ago

Are the majority of batteries still lead based? Isn’t lead considered harmful? Will this rule apply to all the homeless living in motorhomes?

Herb
9 months ago

***fornia strikes again! Too bad, was once a nice state to visit.

tom
9 months ago

Would the last business to leave California please blow out the candle as they leave. Would not want to cause a fire hazard.