The California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff are currently developing new regulations for On-Road Motorcycles (ONMC), with the goal of reducing emissions to help California to meet ambient air quality standards. Reducing ONMC emissions is part of CARB’s broader Mobile Source Strategy, and Zero-Emission Motorcycles (ZEMs) will play an important role by providing consumers a clean alternative to traditional 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 overcoming these challenges and becoming a more attractive option for motorcyclists. There are several ZEM models currently available for sale in California, with more entering the market each year.
ZEMs may qualify for rebates and financial incentives such as the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, the California Clean Fuel Reward, and a federal tax credit. Many local jurisdictions also offer electric vehicle and charging incentives, so check your local government and electric utility websites.
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 Executive Order does not explicitly mention ONMC, but CARB continues to work diligently to transition all mobile source categories to zero emissions.
The most recent draft of CARB’s 2020 mobile source strategy proposes aggressive emission reduction targets across the transportation sector. This includes a scenario where 100% of motorcycle sales are ZEMs by 2035. CARB’s motorcycle regulation development staff is seeking to balance air quality goals with the technical and economic realities of the motorcycle market and is proposing a target of 50% ZEM by 2035.
CARB staff’s proposal would establish a ZEM credit program to help the motorcycle industry steadily increase zero emissions sales through 2035 and beyond. The ZEM credit program would accelerate ZEM sales growth, provide flexibility for ONMC manufacturers, and reward early ZEM manufacturers by adding value, in the form of credits, to current ZEMs.
CARB staff presented an overview of the ZEM proposal on June 9, 2021. The presentation slides can be found here.
Key points of the proposal:
- ZEM manufacturers can generate credits for each CARB certified ZEM sold in California. The number of credits awarded depends on vehicle characteristics including range, top speed, and fast charging capability.
- ZEM credits can be sold or traded to other ONMC manufacturers or banked for future use.
- Large ONMC manufacturers will be required to submit ZEM credits equal to a percentage of their annual California ONMC sales. The proposal would start at 10% of annual sales in 2028 and increase steadily to 50% of annual sales in 2035
CARB staff is planning to present the proposed regulation to the Board in May 2023. Draft regulatory text will be made available for a formal public comment period 45 days prior to the Board hearing.
You can subscribe for more information and updates to CARB’s ZEM program here.