The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is currently in the preliminary stages of developing new regulations for On-Road Motorcycles (ONMC), with the goal of reducing emissions from this mobile sources category, per the 2016 Mobile Source Strategy. Zero-Emission Motorcycles (ZEMs) will play a role in reducing overall emissions by displacing emissions from internal combustion engines.
Historically, some of the challenges facing ZEM adoption have included vehicle cost, limited range, and charging time/availability. With advancements in battery technology and an increase in number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, ZEMs are becoming a more attractive option for motorcyclists.
In 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed Executive Order B-16-2012, which established a goal of 1.5 million Zero-Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs) on California's roads by 2025. In 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-79-20, which will require that all new passenger car and truck sales must be zero emission starting in year 2035. This EO does not explicitly mention ONMC, but CARB continues to work diligently to transition all mobile source categories to zero emissions, including ONMC. Several federal, state, and local incentives exist already. Current CARB incentives include the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP) which provides rebates of $750 per ZEM sale to help offset the cost for consumers, and CARB's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program is currently proposing utility rebates of up to $600 (based on analysis conducted by CARB staff to determine Energy Economic Ratios (EERs) for ONMC). These programs represent a significant investment in the promotion of ZEMs, but further action will be needed in order to meet the 1.5 million ZEV goal by 2025. California's 2016 ZEV Action Plan outlines steps that various State agencies will take to accelerate the ZEV market. It includes an action item for CARB to "consider regulations that would create or expand upon emissions-based credit programs for Zero-Emissions Motorcycles."
A ZEM incentives Technical Working Group (TWG) has begun meeting in June 2018 to engage stakeholders in trying to develop the appropriate level and type of ZEM incentives that will be most effective in helping to accelerate widespread development and adoption of ZEMs in the marketplace.
For those who are interested in purchasing a ZEM, CARB has compiled a list of current incentive programs which include rebates, tax credits, and other financial incentives.