After mandating that all new passenger vehicles sold in California must be electric by 2035, the state has gone bigger. The federal Environmental Protection Agency granted a legal waiver on Friday that lets California require that half of all heavy vehicles—including garbage trucks, tractor-trailers, and cement mixers—be electric by the same deadline. The waiver enables California to enact regulations more stringent than federal standards on pollution from trucks, though the Biden administration has new rules in the works, the New York Times reports. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said such policies will spread. "This is a moment to mark because it's a preview of the order of magnitude of the change in the industry," he said. "There's a power in these waivers and that power is emulation."
The president of the Engine Manufacturers Association expressed concerns about the policy, which will apply to vehicles as small as delivery vans. To meet the mandate, Jed Mandel said, manufacturers need "adequate lead time, regulatory stability, and the necessary zero-emission recharging and refueling infrastructure." Rannie Vincent of Western Trucking School in Bakersfield said it's a tough time to make such a change, per KBAK. "There is an 85,000 trucker shortage, and I think it could be devastating to the industry," she said. California's ability to go beyond federal standards already is being challenged in court by Republican attorneys general from 17 states. That case is to be heard by an appeals court later in the year. (Read more electric vehicles stories.)