What You Need to Know About California’s Zero Emission Vehicle Program

For California residents, zero-emission vehicles have now become part of the future. This type of vehicle, sometimes called a ZEV, is the goal for all California car owners by 2035. The initiative represents the culmination of three decades of legislative work for the state of California. 

But what does this mean for California drivers? The answer begins with a brief history of how the state got to the policy of zero emissions. Plus, what exactly is a ZEV and how does it help to reduce emissions? 


The road towards zero-emission vehicles began in 1990 as part of California’s Air Resource Board or CARB requirements. Since then, there have been modifications to the initiative, most notably in 2012 that have combined with two bills known as the Advanced Clean Car Regulations. 

The result is that California became the first state in the US to actively pursue a zero-emission policy through the promotion of the ZEV or zero emission vehicles. That policy was augmented to what it is today through the passage of legislation that will outlaw the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2035. 

What is a ZEV?

Zero-emission vehicles constitute cars and trucks consist of three different types. 

  • 100% Battery Power
  • Hydrogen Power
  • Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles: w/Ultra-Low Smog Forming & GHG Pollutants

In essence, a ZEV produces no emissions that translate to an increase in GHG or pollutants that form smog or other irritants in the atmosphere. This includes all cars and light duty trucks to be sold in the state. 

What Changes Can We Expect? 

The Advanced Clean Cars II regulations which were adopted in 2022 will start applying their standards in 2026 and gradually increase to 100% by 2035. The timeline for implementation is as follows. 

  • 2026: 35% of all new vehicles sold must be zero-emissions
  • 2030: 68% of all new vehicles sold must be zero-emissions
  • 2035: 100% of all new vehicles sold must be zero-emissions

To accomplish this task, California’s electric grid and powering stations must be increased dramatically. As the shift from fossil fueled vehicles to electricity will require tripling the number of power plants across the state. 

Plus, an estimated 1.2 million chargers will be needed to support the full transition to electrically powered vehicles. In addition, there will need to be a vast increase in the number of hydrogen stations as well to accommodate vehicles powered from clean hydrogen energy. 

How It Impacts You?

The bottom line is that zero-emission vehicles are part of California’s future. Which means by 2035 if you wish to purchase a new vehicle, it will need to be either battery or hydrogen powered. However, the used car market is still intact under the emission guidelines. Plus, you can purchase new fossil fuel vehicles in other states unless the regulations change. 

If all goes according to plan, a typical ZEV will have well over a million charging stations along with your residence to find the power needed for travel. The future of travel in California will be with zero-emission vehicles. 

Contact Brickley Environmental Today 

With numerous dangers facing your home or business, calling the professionals at Brickley Environmental is a good place to start. We offer our knowledge and experience along with the tools to detect and remove infestations of various types. The services provided by Brickley Environmental include the following. 

  • Asbestos Abatement
  • Mold Remediation
  • Lead-Based Paint Removal 
  • Demolition 
  • Hazardous Waste Removal

If you are facing any of these issues, call Brickley Environmental today. Our friendly, courteous staff will take your call and answer your questions, so you can make the best-informed decision about what to do next. At Brickley Environmental, we are here to help you.