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Quick Facts about California’s Zero Emissions Vehicle Program

Advanced Technology for Cleaner Cars

What is California’s Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Program?

  • In 2011, California officials will strengthen state standards that ensure consumers will have access to the cleanest choices for cars and trucks.
  • First started in 1990, the goal of the Zero Emissions Vehicle program is to speed up the mass commercialization of advanced technologies and to get ultra-clean advanced vehicles into the hands of consumers and onto California’s roads.



How does the program benefit drivers?

  • The standards are helping to electrify transportation. Consumers will start to see exciting new options like more plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars, and cars that use fuel cell technology.
  • The Zero Emission Vehicle program is critical to meeting California’s goals of healthier air and reducing heat-trapping emissions 80 percent by 2050.



What have the standards achieved?

  • The Zero Emissions Vehicle program has successfully helped commercialize “near zero” emission technologies that have reduced soot and smog-forming pollution to very low levels¹.  
  • The program has spurred the development of hybrid electric vehicles.



What advanced technologies will consumers see next?

The program provides significant flexibility in the choices automakers can provide in order to comply.

  • If fully implemented, the current Zero Emission Vehicle program should result in as many as 65,000 advanced technology vehicles on the road by 2014 (a mix of mostly plug-in hybrid electric vehicles).
  • If automakers focus mainly on “pure” Zero Emission Vehicles, vehicles that don’t burn gasoline at all, the program will lead to as many as 25,000 battery and fuel cell vehicles by 2014.



What’s next for the Zero Emissions Vehicle Program?

  • In 2011, California officials will update the regulation’s requirements for 2015 and beyond to ensure that automakers are making sufficient investments in advanced ultra-clean vehicle technology like fuel cells and better batteries to get us on path to electrifying transportation and meeting our goals for reduced heat-trapping emissions.


UCS experts in advanced vehicle technologies will be honest brokers in assessing the technology, separating hype from reality.

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1. These “partial zero-emission vehicles” have near-zero tailpipe emissions for soot and smog-forming pollution, zero evaporative emissions and an extended emissions warranty of 15 years or 150,000 miles. In fact, with regard to these pollutants, they are 80 percent cleaner than the average 2002 model year car.

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