- A New York state law signed by governor Kathy Hochul sets a goal of 100 percent new passenger car and truck sales in the state being zero-emission vehicles by 2035, similar to executive order issued earlier by California governor.
- Newly adopted legislation sets similar goal for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in New York state, but with a target year of 2045.
- EV sales in New York state accounted for less than 2% in 2020, pointing to a need for significant gains over the next 13 years.
Following a trend set by a number of states in the U.S., New York state has passed a law that sets a target for 100 percent of new passenger cars and trucks sold or leased in the state to be zero-emissions vehicles by the year 2035. The legislation was signed by Governor Kathy Hochul just a few days ago. The legislation contains a similar goal for off-road vehicles and equipment by 2035. The law also establishes a goal for all medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold or leased in the state to be zero-emission vehicles by 2045, “for all operations where feasible.”
The signed legislation is more akin to a policy statement or executive order, in that it directs a state agency—namely the Department of Environmental Conservation—to propose regulations that will require increased volumes of zero-emission vehicles to be offered for sale with the goal of achieving a 100 percent mark by 2035. The law effectively compels state agencies to phase out sales of gas- and diesel-engined vehicles and trucks by a certain date through agency rules, which itself have yet to be adopted.
The law as drafted lacks enforcement mechanisms and concrete steps that agencies will need to take in order to phase in sales of zero-emission vehicles. In effect, there are no corresponding state agency rules that have been enacted to promote sales of zero-emission vehicles to such a significant extent, or (perhaps more importantly) actively inhibit sales of internal-combustion vehicles at a dealer level. Further legislation and agency rules, complete with enforcement mechanisms, will be needed.
The law also requires that a zero-emission vehicle strategy be developed by 2023, which will then be used by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create programs and policies to actually promote EV sales.
“Using California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule as a template, the proposed regulation would require truck manufacturers to transition to clean, electric zero-emission vehicles,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “Truck manufacturers would be required to meet a certain annual sales percentage of zero-emission trucks, which will vary among vehicle weight classes, beginning with model year 2025. By the 2035 model year, at least 55 percent of all new Class 2b-3 pickup trucks and vans, 75 percent of all new Class 4-8 trucks, and 40 percent of all new Class 7-8 tractors sold in New York State will be zero-emission. The proposed regulation provides medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturers with several compliance options and would require a one-time reporting from applicable truck fleets.”
The statement above, you may have noted, mentions proposed (but not yet adopted) regulations aimed at out-of-state truck manufacturers, rather than sales by truck dealers within the state, while also seeking compliance from reports by specific fleets.
New York state faces some headwinds in achieving 100 percent zero-emission sales of passenger cars and trucks by 2035, with the market share of electric vehicles in the state currently hovering around 1 percent. Plug-in hybrids will also qualify as zero-emissions vehicles. Sales of these ZEVs will have to make significant gains while sales of gas- and diesel-engined vehicles will have to surrender significant market share each year. This is likely to be dictated by market forces more than anything, absent some compelling incentive programs.
Many automakers have rolled out ambitious goals for transitioning to EV-only lineups, but even these goals come with plenty of asterisks. For one thing, assuming comparable levels of annual vehicle sales in the US until 2035, the recovery and processing of raw materials for the production lithium-ion batteries alone would have to experience significant growth, absent the sudden arrival of solid-state battery technology that would rely on more easily obtained raw materials. So even the plans of automakers to go EV-only by a certain year are based on other industries being able to keep up with that transition.
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