This Week in Trucking Ep 13

Do Electric Truck Regulations in California Apply to You? | Ep 13

This week, we’re mixing things up with a topic we’ve mentioned in previous episodes: zero-emissions trucks. California’s leading the country on emissions regulations and the electrification of trucking, a controversial move as many business owners don’t have the deep pockets to invest in such expensive equipment. Beyond affordability, there are unanswered questions about maintenance, reliability, and infrastructure.

I interviewed Cal Fleet Advisor Program Manager, Brian Rand, and CARB Information Officer, Kate Lamb, to better understand how the transition to electric trucks and emissions regulations affect small carriers and owner-operators.

Did you know California has incentives for buying electric vehicles that can cover up to 90% of the purchase price?

For more information about how emissions regulations affect your business and how you can benefit from the electrification of the trucking industry in California, reach out to Cal Fleet Advisor.

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Episode Highlights

Cal Fleet Advisor Overview

  • Free technical assistance for medium and heavy-duty fleets in California
  • Helps with zero-emission vehicle transition: vehicle selection, charging infrastructure, incentives

Key Regulations

  • Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation
    • Applies to drayage fleets, high priority fleets, federal fleets, and state/local government fleets
    • Requirements vary by fleet type; new trucks in drayage must be zero-emission
    • High priority fleets: 50+ trucks or $50 million in annual revenue
  • Other Emissions Regulations
    • Clean Truck Check (Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program)
    • Reporting fleet to CARB and regular smog checks for heavy-duty trucks
  • CARB regulations apply to vehicles operated in California, with some exemptions, such as a five-day pass for brief visits.

Related: Trucking Permits for California Carriers + CARB Emissions Regulations

Incentives and Extensions

  • HVIP program: up to 90% of vehicle cost covered for small fleets
  • Other incentives include federal tax credits.
  • Infrastructure delay extensions available for those facing implementation challenges

Challenges and Opportunities

  • Market for Zero-Emission Trucks
    • Higher upfront costs but lower operational costs (fuel, maintenance)
    • Variety of vehicle types available, with over 150 models in the HVIP catalog
  • Addressing Concerns
    • Common concerns: cost, availability of trucks
    • Emphasis on long-term savings and available financial support
    • Importance of staying informed and leveraging incentives
  • Other states like Washington, Oregon, New York showing interest in similar programs.

Electrification Concerns

  • OTR drivers have concerns about electric trucks, including range, charging times, and potential delays in shipments due to charging needs.
  • Electric trucks with 400-500 mile ranges are emerging. Charging speeds are improving, with new standards like megawatt charging reducing times further.
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells: An alternative offering similar benefits to electric trucks, with quick refueling times and a range of 400-500 miles.
  • Repairs and Maintenance: Concerns about finding repair services for electric trucks, especially long-distance. Choosing manufacturers with national networks can mitigate issues.
  • Fleet Planning: Fleets should plan for maintenance and repair logistics, possibly arranging parts or service agreements with manufacturers or dealerships.
  • Charging Infrastructure: Charging infrastructure is rapidly developing, especially in California. Resources like can help locate charging sites and plan logistics.

Benefits of Electric Trucks:

  • Operational Savings: Lower maintenance costs, fewer parts, cheaper electricity compared to diesel, and access to green freight lanes.
  • Driver Comfort: Less vibration, noise, and emissions, leading to reduced fatigue and a more pleasant driving experience.
  • Industry Transition: The transition to electric vehicles might mirror the shift from manual to automatic transmissions, with initial resistance but eventual widespread adoption.

Remember, offers free support to small fleets, answering questions and helping navigate regulations.