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Proposed Rule Would Lead to More Electrified Chassis

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The California Air Resource Board (CARB) has released a proposed rule that, if finalized, would require manufacturers of incomplete or complete vehicles greater than 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight – with annual sales of more than 500 in California – to begin to electrify their fleets starting in 2024.

According to CARB, zero-emission technology is needed in the medium- and heavy-duty market to meet the state’s emission reduction goals, but to date, the major truck manufacturers have been relatively absent in this space.

For the past decade, smaller startup truck manufacturers have stepped in to fill market demand and have been designing and marketing zero-emission trucks, which have significantly advanced the technology. However, the startups do not have broad dealer networks or regional service facilities that can be leveraged quickly to provide support and maintenance services for zero-emission technology.

The proposed rule is focused on requiring large truck manufacturers to sell zero-emission trucks in California to broaden the market and to send a clear signal that medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles will be a major part of California’s overall strategy to reduce criteria emissions, reduce climate impacts and reduce petroleum use.

This rule won’t necessarily force chassis manufacturers to electrify motorhome chassis, but chassis manufacturers might choose to do so depending on the demand for such products. The rule will require chassis manufacturers to identify chassis types for which electrification makes the most sense, which may or may not include motorhomes.

Though motorhome manufacturers making their own chassis aren’t likely to be impacted by the rule because of the sales threshold, they could benefit from the rule if they elect to voluntarily produce electric motorhomes and generate credits, according to the RV Industry Association.

Comments on the proposal are due Dec. 9 and the rule will be considered by the board at a hearing which will take place in Sacramento at 9 a.m. PT on Dec. 12.

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