California Laws and Incentives for Electricity
The list below contains summaries of all California laws and incentives related to Electricity.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) and Natural Gas Infrastructure Charging Rate Reduction - SDG&E
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) offers lower rates to customers for electricity used to charge PEVs. SDG&E's PEV Time-of-Use rates are available in two variations: EV-TOU-2 bills home and vehicle electricity use on a single meter; and EV-TOU bills vehicle electricity use separately, requiring the installation of a second meter. Lower rates are also available to customers who own a natural gas vehicle and use a qualified compressed natural gas fueling appliance at home. For more information about PEV Time-of-Use rates, see the SDG&E EV Rates and NGV Rates website.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Rebate - LADWP
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) provides rebates to commercial and residential customers toward the purchase of Level 2 EVSE. Commercial customers who purchase and install EVSE for employee and public use can receive up to $4,000 for each charger. Eligible customers may qualify for up to 20 rebate awards depending on the number of parking spaces. Residential customers who install wall-mounted chargers can receive up to $500. EVSE must be installed within the LADWP service area; rebates do not cover the cost of installation. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis through June 30, 2018, or until funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first. For program guidelines and application materials, see the Charge Up L.A.! website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Rate Reduction - LADWP
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) offers a $0.025 per kilowatt-hour discount for electricity used to charge PEVs during off-peak times. Residential customers who install a separate time-of-use meter panel will also receive a $250 credit. For more information, see the LADWP Electric Vehicle Incentives website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Rate Reduction - SCE
Southern California Edison (SCE) offers a discounted rate to customers for electricity used to charge PEVs. Two rate schedules are available for PEV charging during on- and off-peak hours, the Residential Time-of-Use Plan and the Electric Vehicle Plan. For more information, see the SCE Electric Vehicle Residential Rates website.
Clean Vehicle Electricity and Natural Gas Rate Reduction - PG&E
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) offers discounted Residential Time-of-Use rates for electricity used for plug-in electric vehicle charging. Discounted rates are also available for compressed or uncompressed natural gas used in natural gas vehicle (NGV) home fueling appliances. For more information, see the PG&E Electric Vehicle Rate Plans and NGV Rates websites.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) and Charging Incentives - Sonoma Clean Power
Qualified Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) customers are eligible to receive a free JuiceNet-enabled EVSE from eMotorWerks, which allows the EVSE to be connected to Wi-Fi and communicate with the SCP CleanCharge software. This software helps customers avoid using as much power when California's electric grid is particularly expensive or harmful to the environment. Customers with an existing standard, non-connected EVSE, are eligible to receive a free JuicePlug (smart grid adapter) to convert to a JuiceNet-enabled EVSE. Customers are responsible for shipping and installation costs. Eligible customers may also receive a $250 rebate in JuicePoints to pay for charging. Other terms and conditions may apply. For more information, including frequently asked questions, see SCP's Drive EverGreen website.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Insurance Discount
Farmers Insurance provides a discount of up to 10% on all major insurance coverage for HEV and AFV owners. To qualify, the automobile must be a dedicated AFV using ethanol, compressed natural gas, propane, or electricity, or be a HEV. A complete vehicle identification number is required to validate vehicle eligibility. For more information, see the Farmers California Insurance Discounts website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Rebate - SCE
Southern California Edison (SCE) provides rebates of $450 to residential customers who purchase or lease an eligible new or preowned PEV. Residential account holders may apply on behalf of a PEV owner in their household. For more information, see the SCE Clean Fuel Rewards Program website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Credit - SDG&E
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) offers an annual credit of $200 to customers who own or lease a PEV. The credit is available to qualified customers through 2020. For more information, including how to apply, see the SDG&E Electric Vehicle Climate Credit website.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment and Charging Incentives - SMUD
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) offers residential customers a $599 rebate or a free Level 2 (240 volt) plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charger. Rebates or chargers are available to SMUD residential customers with the purchase or lease of a new PEV. To be eligible for the rebate or charger, completed applications must be postmarked within 180 days of the date of purchase or lease of the PEV. Additional terms and conditions apply. For more information, including the rebate application, please see SMUD's Drive Electric Incentive website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Rebate - PG&E
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) provides rebates of $500 to residential customers who purchase or lease an eligible PEV. Residential account holders may apply on behalf of a PEV owner in their household or their tenant in a multifamily household with the vehicle owner's permission. For more information, see the PG&E Clean Fuel Rebate website.
Advanced Transportation Tax Exclusion
The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) provides a sales and use tax exclusion for qualified manufacturers of advanced transportation products, components, or systems that reduce pollution and energy use and promote economic development. Incentives are not available after December 31, 2020. For more information, including application materials, see the CAEATFA Sales and Use Tax Exclusion Program website. (Reference California Public Resources Code 26000-26017)
Employer Invested Emissions Reduction Funding - South Coast
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) administers the Air Quality Investment Program (AQIP). AQIP provides funding to allow employers within SCAQMD's jurisdiction to make annual investments into an administered fund to meet employers' emissions reduction targets. The revenues collected are used to fund alternative mobile source emissions and trip reduction programs, including alternative fuel vehicle projects, on an on-going basis. Programs such as low emission, alternative fuel, or zero emission vehicle procurement and old vehicle scrapping may be considered for funding. For more information, including current requests for proposals and funding opportunities, see the AQIP website.
Point of Contact
South Coast Air Quality Management District
Phone: (909) 396-3296
Fax: (909) 396-3252
Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Vouchers - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) contributed funds to the California Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) for eligible vehicles used in the eight-county San Joaquin Valley Air Basin. These "plus-up" vouchers range from $12,000 to $30,000, depending on the vehicle, and are in addition to California Air Resources Board voucher amounts. Vehicles must be domiciled in the air basin 100% of the time for at least three years. For more information, see the San Joaquin Valley Plus-Up website.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Incentives - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District administers the Public Benefit Grant Program, which provides funding to cities, counties, special districts (such as water districts and irrigation districts), and public educational institutions for the purchase of new AFVs, including electric, natural gas, and propane vehicles, as well as hybrid electric vehicles. The maximum grant amount allowed per vehicle is $20,000, with a limit of $100,000 per agency per year. Projects are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, see the Public Benefit Grant Program website.
Voluntary Vehicle Retirement Incentives - San Joaquin Valley and South Coast
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the South Coast Air Quality Management District administer the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP) Pilot Retire and Replace program, providing incentives to replace a vehicle eligible for retirement with a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Used vehicles must be no more than eight years old and applicants must live in the San Joaquin Valley or South Coast air basins. Eligible replacement vehicles must meet a minimum fuel economy average by model year or average at least 35 miles per gallon (mpg). Alternative fuel vehicles are also eligible, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). Funding for alternative transportation mobility options, such as public transportation or car sharing, is also available in lieu of purchasing another vehicle. The incentive amounts vary by income level as compared to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and replacement vehicle type.
|Income Eligibility||Vehicle <8 Years||Fuel Economy >35 mpg||PHEV or ZEV||Alternative Transportation Mobility Option|
|Low Income (<225% FPL)||$4,000||$4,500||$4,500||$4,500 Value|
|Moderate Income (<300% FPL)||Not Eligible||$3,500||$3,500||$3,500 Value|
|Above Moderate Income (<400% FPL)||Not Eligible||Not Eligible||$2,500||$2,500 Value|
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Incentives - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers the Charge Up! Program, which provides funding for public agencies and businesses for the purchase and installation of new, publicly accessible EVSE. A single port Level 2 station is eligible for up to $5,000 per unit, and a dual port Level 2 station may receive up to $6,000 per unit. There is an annual funding cap of $50,000 per applicant. Applicants interested in funding for DC fast charging infrastructure should contact SJVAPCD to review project eligibility. For more information, including application requirements and restrictions, see the Charge Up! Program website.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Pilot Programs
The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will provide funding for pilot utility programs to install EVSE at a school facilities, other educational institutions, and state parks or beaches. Priority will be given to locations in disadvantaged communities, as defined by the California Environmental Protection Agency. Utilities may submit project proposals until July 20, 2018. (Reference Assembly Bills 1082 and 1083, 2017 and California Public Utilities Code 740.13-740.14)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Loan and Rebate Program
The Electric Vehicle Charging Station Financing Program (Program), part of the California Capital Access Program (CalCAP), provides loans for the design, development, purchase, and installation of EVSE at small business locations in California. The Program may provide up to 100% coverage to lenders on certain loan defaults. Lenders must apply to the California Pollution Control Financing Authority (CPCFA) to participate and enroll each qualified EVSE loan through CalCAP. Upon approval, CPCFA will pay a premium into the lender's loan loss reserve account for up to 20% of the loan amount and contribute an additional 10% for installations in multi-unit dwellings and disadvantaged communities.
Small businesses are eligible for a rebate of 50% of the loan loss reserve amount after the small business repays the loan in full or meets monthly payment deadlines over a 48-month period. Eligible borrowers must be small businesses with 1,000 or fewer employees and must maintain legal control of the EVSE for the entire loan period. The maximum loan amount is $500,000 per qualified small business and can be insured for up to four years.
The California Energy Commission funds the Program. For more information, including EVSE technical requirements and eligibility requirements for both borrowers and lenders, see the Program website.
Plug-In Hybrid and Zero Emission Light-Duty Vehicle Rebates
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) offers rebates for the purchase or lease of qualified vehicles. Qualified vehicles are light-duty zero emission vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has approved or certified. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis to individuals, business owners, and government entities in California that purchase or lease new eligible vehicles. Manufacturers must apply to ARB to have their vehicles included in the CVRP.
For vehicles purchased on or after March 29, 2016, eligibility for the rebate for individuals is based on gross annual income, as stated on the individual's federal tax return. Individuals with a gross annual income above the following thresholds are only eligible for rebates for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs):
- $150,000 for single filers
- $204,000 for head-of-household filers
- $300,000 for joint filers
ARB determines annual funding amounts for the CVRP, which is expected to be effective through 2023. ARB must submit a report to the State Legislature on the environmental and economic impacts of the CVRP by December 31, 2018. For more information, including information on income verification, a list of eligible vehicles, and how to apply, see the CVRP website.
Plug-In Hybrid and Zero Emission Light-Duty Public Fleet Vehicle Fleet Rebates
The Public Fleet Pilot Project (PFPP) offers rebates to eligible state and local public entities for the purchase of qualified light-duty fleet vehicles located in disadvantaged communities. The rebates are for up to $5,250 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, $10,000 for battery electric vehicles, and $15,000 for fuel-cell electric vehicles the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has certified. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Manufacturers must apply to ARB to have their vehicles included in the PFPP. Each entity may receive up to 30 rebates annually and cannot receive California Vehicle Rebate Project incentives for the same vehicle. Only individuals with low and moderate household incomes will receive rebates. All other applicants will be put on a waitlist. For more information, including a list of eligible vehicles, locations, and entities, see the PFPP website.(Reference California Health and Safety Code 44274 and 44258)
Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Financing Program
Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing allows property owners to borrow funds to pay for energy improvements, including purchasing and installing EVSE. The borrower repays over a defined period of time through a special assessment on the property. Local governments in California are authorized to establish PACE programs. Property owners must agree to a contractual assessment on the property tax bill, have a clean property title, and be current on property taxes and mortgages. Financing limits are 15% of the first $700,000 of the property value and 10% of the remaining property value. For more information, see the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority PACE website. (Reference California Public Resources Code 26004-26082)
Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Rebate - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers the Drive Clean! Rebate Program, which provides rebates for the purchase or lease of eligible new vehicles, including qualified natural gas, hydrogen fuel cell, propane, zero emission motorcycles, battery electric, neighborhood electric, and plug-in electric vehicles. The program offers rebates of up to $3,000, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis for residents and businesses located in the SJVAPCD. For more information, including a list of eligible vehicles and other requirements, see the SJVAPCD Drive Clean! Rebate Program website.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Fueling Infrastructure Grants
The Motor Vehicle Registration Fee Program (Program) provides funding for projects that reduce air pollution from on- and off-road vehicles. Eligible projects include purchasing AFVs and developing alternative fueling infrastructure. Contact local air districts and see the Program website for more information about available grant funding and distribution from the Program. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 44220 (b))
Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Incentives
The California Energy Commission (CEC) administers the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) to provide financial incentives for businesses, vehicle and technology manufacturers, workforce training partners, fleet owners, consumers, and academic institutions with the goal of developing and deploying alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies. The CEC must prepare and adopt an annual Investment Plan for the ARFVTP to establish funding priorities and opportunities that reflect program goals and to describe how program funding will complement other public and private investments. Funded projects include:
- Commercial alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) demonstrations and deployment;
- Alternative and renewable fuel production;
- Research and development of alternative and renewable fuels and innovative technologies;
- AFV manufacturing;
- Workforce training; and
- Public education, outreach, and promotion.
Low Emission Vehicle Incentives and Technical Training - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers the REMOVE II program, which provides incentives for cost-effective projects that result in motor vehicle emissions reductions and long-term impacts on air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. REMOVE II is providing funding for vanpool agencies that reduce or replace single occupant vehicle commutes in the San Joaquin Valley. To participate, vanpool agencies must submit an application to SJVAPCD and sign a contract to become a Vanpool Voucher Incentive Program partner. REMOVE II also includes an Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Mechanic Training Component that provides incentives to educate personnel on the mechanics, operation safety, and maintenance of AFVs, fueling stations, and tools involved in the implementation of alternative fuel technologies. For more information, see the REMOVE II website, the Vanpool Voucher Incentive Program and the AFV Mechanic Training Component website.
Technology Advancement Funding - South Coast
The South Coast Air Quality Management District's (SCAQMD) Clean Fuels Program provides funding for research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects that are expected to help accelerate the commercialization of advanced low emission transportation technologies. Eligible projects include powertrains and energy storage or conversion devices (e.g., fuel cells and batteries), and implementation of clean fuels (e.g., natural gas, propane, and hydrogen), including the necessary infrastructure. Projects are selected via specific requests for proposals on an as-needed basis or through unsolicited proposals. For more information, see the SCAQMD Research, Development, and Demonstration website.
Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) and Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Purchase Vouchers
Through the Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), the California Air Resources Board provides vouchers to eligible fleets to reduce the incremental cost of qualified medium- and heavy-duty HEVs and ZEVs at the time of purchase. Vouchers are available on a first-come, first-served basis and range from $2,500 to $117,000. Only fleets that operate vehicles in California are eligible. For more information, including a list of qualified vehicles and other requirements, see the HVIP website.
Low Emissions School Bus Grants
The Lower-Emission School Bus Program (Program) provides grant funding for the replacement of older school buses and for the purchase of air pollution control equipment for in-use buses. The California Air Resources Board must verify that the air pollution control devices reduce particulate matter emissions by at least 85% for each retrofitted school bus. Public school districts in California that own their buses are eligible to receive funding. Private school transportation providers that contract with public school districts in California to provide transportation services are also eligible to receive funding for the retrofit of in-use buses. New buses purchased to replace older buses may be fueled with diesel or an alternative fuel, provided that the required emissions standards specified in the current guidelines for the Program are met. Funds are also available for replacing on-board natural gas tanks on older school buses and for updating deteriorating natural gas fueling infrastructure. Commercially available hybrid electric school buses may be eligible for partial funding. For more information, see the Program website and contact local air districts to confirm funding availability. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 41081)
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) and High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lane Exemption
Compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen, electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) meeting specified California and federal emissions standards and affixed with a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Clean Air Vehicle sticker may use HOV lanes regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle. White Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available for qualified CNG, hydrogen, and electric vehicles. Green Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available for qualified purchased or leased PHEVs. Stickers are valid through the following dates:
- Stickers issued before January 1, 2019 expire January 1, 2019;
- Stickers issued on or after January 1, 2019 for a vehicle that had been issued a sticker between January 1, 2017 and January 1, 2019, expire January 1, 2022; and
- All other stickers issued on or after January 1, 2019 expire on January 1 of the fourth year after the sticker was issued.
Laws and Regulations
Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Parking Space Regulation
An individual may not park a motor vehicle within any on- or off-street parking space specifically designated by a local authority for parking and charging PEVs unless the vehicle is a PEV fueled by electricity. Eligible PEVs must be in the process of charging to park in the space. A person found responsible for a violation is subject to traffic violation penalties. (Reference Assembly Bill 1452, 2017, and California Vehicle Code 22511)
State Agency Low Carbon Fuel Use Requirement
Beginning January 1, 2017, at least 3% of the aggregate amount of bulk transportation fuel purchased by the state government must be from very low carbon transportation fuel sources. Beginning January 1, 2018, the required amount of very low carbon transportation fuel purchased will increase by 1% annually until January 1, 2024. Some exemptions may apply, as determined by the California Department of General Services (DGS). Very low carbon fuel is defined as a transportation fuel having no greater than 40% of the carbon intensity of the closest comparable petroleum fuel for that year, as measured by the methodology in California Code of Regulations Title 17, Sections 95480-95486. DGS will submit an annual progress report to the California Legislature. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 17, Section 95480-95486)
Support for Zero Emission and Autonomous Vehicle Infrastructure
Cities and counties that receive funding from the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program are encouraged to use funds towards advanced transportation technologies and communication systems, including, but not limited to, zero emission vehicle fueling infrastructure and infrastructure-to-vehicle communications for autonomous vehicles. (Reference Senate Bill 1, 2017, and California Streets and Highways Code 2030)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Programs Report
The California Air Resources Board (ARB), in partnership with its stakeholders, must complete a report that reviews each of ARB's ZEV-related programs by July 1, 2019. Specifically, the report must include an analysis of the greenhouse gas and air quality goals of each ZEV program, the progress of each program towards meeting its goals, and a cost-benefit analysis of each program. In this report, ARB must also propose recommendations for improvements to these programs and on how to encourage the cost-effective deployment of ZEVs in fleets across the state. (Reference Senate Bill 498, 2017, and California Health and Safety Code 43018.8)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Signage Authorization on Highways
EVSE facilities located at roadside businesses are eligible to be included on state highway exit information signs. Signage must be consistent with California's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. (Reference Assembly Bill 1633, 2017, and California Streets and Highway Code 101.7)
Freight Efficiency Action Plan
The California State Transportation Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Agency, and relevant state departments, including the California Air Resources Board, the California Department of Transportation, the California Energy Commission, and the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, implemented the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan (Plan), which establishes targets to improve freight efficiency and transition to zero emission technologies. The Plan identifies state policies, programs, and investments to achieve the following targets:
- Improve freight system efficiency by 25% by 2030; and
- Deploy over 100,000 zero emission freight vehicles and associated equipment, maximizing the number of vehicles powered by renewable energy, by 2030.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Local Permitting Policies
A city or county with a population of 200,000 or more residents must adopt an ordinance that creates an expedited, streamlined permitting process for EVSE. A city or county with a population of fewer than 200,000 residents was required to adopt such an ordinance by September 30, 2017. Each city or county must consult with the local fire department or district and the utility director to develop the ordinance, which must include a checklist of all requirements for EVSE to be eligible for expedited review. A complete application that is consistent with the city or county ordinance must be approved, and entities submitting incomplete applications must be notified of the necessary required information to be granted expedited permit issuance. (Reference California Government Code 65850.7)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Production Requirements
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) certifies new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles as ZEVs if the vehicles produce zero exhaust emissions of any criteria pollutant (or precursor pollutant) under any and all possible operational modes and conditions. For manufacturers with annual sales greater than 60,000 vehicles, at least 14% of the vehicles they produce and deliver for sale in California must meet ZEV requirements for Model Years (MY) 2015 through 2017.
Manufacturers with annual sales between 4,501 and 60,000 vehicles may comply with the ZEV requirements through multiple alternative compliance options that include producing low emission vehicles and obtaining ZEV credits. Manufacturers with annual sales of 4,500 vehicles or less are not subject to this regulation.
ARB's emissions control program for MY 2017 through 2025 combines the control of smog, soot, and greenhouse gases (GHGs) and requirements for ZEVs into a single package of standards called Advanced Clean Cars. In December 2012, ARB finalized new regulatory requirements that allow vehicle manufacturer compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GHG requirements for MY 2017-2025 to serve as compliance with California's adopted GHG emissions requirements for those same model years.
The accounting procedures for MY 2018-2025 are based on a credit system as shown in the table below. The minimum ZEV requirement for each manufacturer includes the percentage of passenger cars and light-duty trucks produced by the manufacturer and delivered for sale in California. The legislation also includes opportunities for compliance with transitional zero emission vehicles (TZEVs), which must demonstrate certain exhaust emissions standards, evaporative emissions standards, on-board diagnostic requirements, and extended warranties.
|2025 and later||22%|
Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Fee
Beginning July 1, 2020, zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) owners must pay an annual road improvement fee of $100 upon vehicle registration or registration renewal for ZEVs model year 2020 and later. The California Department of Motor Vehicles will increase the fee annually to account for inflation, equal to the increase in the California Consumer Price Index for the prior year. (Reference Senate Bill 1, 2017)
Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Policy Development
The California Energy Commission (CEC) must prepare and submit an Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) to the governor on a biannual basis. The IEPR provides an overview of major energy trends and issues facing the state, including those related to transportation fuels, technologies, and infrastructure. The IEPR also examines potential effects of alternative fuels use, vehicle efficiency improvements, and shifts in transportation modes on public health and safety, the economy, resources, the environment, and energy security. The IEPR's primary purpose is to develop energy policies that conserve resources, protect the environment, ensure energy reliability, enhance the state's economy, and protect public health and safety. For the current IEPR, see the CEC California's Energy Policy website.
As of November 1, 2015, and every four years thereafter, the CEC must also include in the IEPR strategies to maximize the benefits of natural gas in various sectors. This includes the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25302 and 25303.5)
Mobile Source Emissions Reduction Requirements
Through its Mobile Sources Program, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has developed programs and policies to reduce emissions from on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles through the installation of verified diesel emission control strategies (VDECS) and vehicle replacements.
An on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicle rule (truck and bus regulation) requires the retrofit and replacement of nearly all privately owned vehicles operated in California with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 pounds. School buses owned by private and public entities and federal government owned vehicles are also included in the scope of the rule. By January 1, 2023, nearly all vehicles must have engines certified to the 2010 engine standard or equivalent. A drayage/port truck rule regulates heavy-duty diesel-fueled vehicles that transport cargo to and from California's ports and intermodal rail facilities. The rule requires that certain drayage trucks be equipped with VDECS and that all applicable vehicles have engines certified to the 2007 emissions standards. By January 1, 2023, all applicable vehicles must have engines certified to 2010 standards. A public transit agency fleet rule regulates public transit fleets and sets emissions reduction standards for new transit vehicles. A solid waste collection vehicle rule regulates solid waste collection vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds or more that operate on diesel fuel, have 1960 through 2006 engine models, and collect waste for a fee. The fleet rule for public agencies and utilities requires fleets to install VDECS on vehicles or purchase vehicles that run on alternative fuels or use advanced technologies to achieve emissions requirements by specified implementation dates.
Point of Contact
California Air Resources Board
Phone: (866) 6DIESEL (634-3735)
Fleet Vehicle Procurement Requirements
When awarding a vehicle procurement contract, every city, county, and special district, including school and community college districts, may require that 75% of the passenger cars and/or light-duty trucks acquired be energy-efficient vehicles. By definition, this includes hybrid electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles that meet California's advanced technology partial zero emission vehicle (AT PZEV) standards. Vehicle procurement contract evaluations may consider fuel economy and life cycle factors for scoring purposes. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25725-25726)
Volkswagen Group of America's (VW) Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment Plan
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the VW California ZEV Investment Plan. As required by the October 2016 2.0-Liter Partial Consent Decree, VW must invest $800 million over ten years to support the increased adoption of ZEV technology in California. VW will submit a series of four 30-month cycle ZEV investment plans to CARB for approval; EPA has approved the Cycle 1 plan, covering Quarter 1, 2017, through Quarter 2, 2019. The Cycle 1 plan includes building a basic charging network, launching a multi-lingual public outreach and education campaign, and beginning ZEV access projects. ZEV infrastructure rollouts will be focused in six metropolitan areas: Fresno, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, and Sacramento. VW has also designated Sacramento as the first "Green City," with the goal of offering residents a better quality of life through enhanced mobility and improved air quality. For more information, see the California ZEV Investment Plan: Cycle 1 and CARB's Volkswagen Settlement website.
Alternative Fuel and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Retrofit Regulations
Converting a vehicle to operate on an alternative fuel in lieu of the original gasoline or diesel fuel is prohibited unless the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has evaluated and certified the retrofit system. ARB will issue certification to the manufacturer of the system in the form of an Executive Order once the manufacturer demonstrates compliance with the emissions, warranty, and durability requirements. A manufacturer is defined as a person or company who manufactures or assembles an alternative fuel retrofit system for sale in California; this definition does not include individuals wishing to convert vehicles for personal use. Individuals interested in converting their vehicles to operate on an alternative fuel must ensure that the alternative fuel retrofit systems used for their vehicles have been ARB certified. For more information, see the ARB Alternative Fuel Retrofit System website.
A hybrid electric vehicle that is Model Year 2000 or newer and is a passenger car, light-duty truck, or medium-duty vehicle may be converted to incorporate off-vehicle charging capability if the manufacturer demonstrates compliance with emissions, warranty, and durability requirements. ARB issues certification to the manufacturer and the vehicle must meet California emissions standards for the model year of the original vehicle.
Access to Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Registration Records
The California Department of Motor Vehicles may disclose to an electrical corporation or local publicly owned utility a PEV owner's address and vehicle type if the information is used exclusively to identify where the PEV is registered. (Reference California Vehicle Code 1808.23)
Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards
California's LEV II exhaust emissions standards apply to Model Year (MY) 2004 and subsequent model year passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles meeting specified exhaust standards. The LEV II standards represent the maximum exhaust emissions for LEVs, Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, and Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, including flexible fuel, bi-fuel, and dual-fuel vehicles when operating on an alternative fuel. MY 2009 and subsequent model year passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles must meet specified fleet average greenhouse gas (GHG) exhaust emissions requirements. Each manufacturer must comply with these fleet average GHG requirements, which are based on California Air Resources Board calculations. Bi-fuel, flexible fuel, dual-fuel, and grid-connected hybrid electric vehicles may be eligible for an alternative compliance method.
In December 2012, ARB finalized regulatory requirements, referred to as LEV III, which allow vehicle manufacturer compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GHG requirements for MY 2017-2025 to serve as compliance with California's adopted GHG emissions requirements for those same model years. See the LEVII and LEV III Program websites for more information. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 1961-1961.3)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Promotion Plan
All state agencies must support and facilitate the rapid commercialization of ZEVs in California. In particular, the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission (CEC), Public Utilities Commission, and other relevant state agencies must work with the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative and the California Fuel Cell Partnership to establish benchmarks to achieve targets for ZEV commercialization. These targets include:
- By 2020, the state will have established adequate infrastructure to support one million ZEVs;
- By 2025, there will be 1.5 million ZEVs on the road in California and clean, efficient vehicles will displace 1.5 billion gallons of petroleum fuels annually; and
- By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector will be 80% less than 1990 levels.
(Reference Executive Order B-16, 2012)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Policies for Multi-Unit Dwellings
A common interest development, including a community apartment, condominium, and cooperative development, may not prohibit or restrict the installation or use of EVSE in a homeowner's designated parking space. These entities may put reasonable restrictions on EVSE, but the policies may not significantly increase the cost of the EVSE or significantly decrease its efficiency or performance. If installation in the homeowner's designated parking space is not possible, with authorization, the homeowner may add EVSE in a common area for their use. The homeowner must obtain appropriate approvals from the common interest development association and agree in writing to comply with applicable architectural standards, engage a licensed installation contractor, provide a certificate of insurance, and pay for the electricity usage associated with the EVSE. Any application for approval should be processed by the common interest development association without willful avoidance or delay. The homeowner and each successive homeowner of the parking space equipped with EVSE is responsible for the cost of the installation, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of the station, as well as any resulting damage to the EVSE or surrounding area. The homeowner must also maintain a $1 million umbrella liability coverage policy and name the common interest development as an additional insured entity under the policy. If EVSE is installed in a common area for use by all members of the association, the common interest development must develop terms for use of the EVSE. (Reference California Civil Code 4745 and 6713)
Public Utility Definition
A corporation or individual that owns, controls, operates, or manages a facility that supplies electricity to the public exclusively to charge light-duty battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, compressed natural gas to fuel natural gas vehicles, or hydrogen as a motor vehicle fuel is not defined as a public utility. (Reference California Public Utilities Code 216)
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Infrastructure Information Resource
The California Energy Commission, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission, must develop and maintain a website containing specific links to electrical corporations, local publicly owned electric utilities, and other websites that contain information specific to PEVs, including the following:
- Resources to help consumers determine if their residences will require utility service upgrades to accommodate PEVs;
- Basic charging circuit requirements;
- Utility rate options; and
- Load management techniques.
State Transportation Plan
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) must update the California Transportation Plan (Plan) by December 31, 2020, and every five years thereafter. The Plan must address how the state will achieve maximum feasible emissions reductions, taking into consideration the use of alternative fuels, new vehicle technology, and tailpipe emissions reductions. Caltrans must consult and coordinate with related state agencies, air quality management districts, public transit operators, and regional transportation planning agencies. Caltrans must also provide an opportunity for general public input. Caltrans must submit a final draft of the Plan to the legislature and governor. A copy of the 2016 report is available on the Caltrans website. Caltrans must also review the Plan and prepare a report for the legislature and governor that includes actionable, programmatic transportation system improvement recommendations every five years. (Reference California Government Code 65070-65073)
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Requirements
New PEVs must be equipped with a conductive charger inlet port that meets the specifications contained in Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard J1772. PEVs must be equipped with an on-board charger with a minimum output of 3.3 kilovolt amps. These requirements do not apply to PEVs that are only capable of Level 1 charging, which has a maximum power of 12 amperes (amps), a branch circuit rating of 15 amps, and continuous power of 1.44 kilowatts. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 1962.3)
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Parking Incentive Programs
The California Department of General Services (DGS) and California Department of Transportation (DOT) must develop and implement AFV parking incentive programs in public parking facilities operated by DGS with 50 or more parking spaces and park-and-ride lots owned and operated by DOT. The incentives must provide meaningful and tangible benefits to drivers, such as preferential spaces, reduced fees, and fueling infrastructure. Fueling infrastructure built at park-and-ride lots is not subject to restricted use by those using bicycles, public transit, or ridesharing. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25722.9)
State Agency Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Installation
State Agency Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Installation California state agencies must actively identify and pursue opportunities to install EVSE, and accommodate future EVSE demand, at state employee parking facilities in new and existing agency buildings. (Reference Executive Order B-18-12, 2012)
Establishment of a Zero Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program
The California Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program (Program) will provide funding for zero and near-zero emission heavy-duty vehicles, including vocational trucks, short- and long-haul trucks, buses, and eligible off-road vehicles and equipment. The Program is expected to provide $12 million to $20 million in funding annually through December 31, 2020. At least 20% of allocated funds must go towards early commercial deployment of eligible vehicles and equipment. The California Air Resources Board and the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission will develop and administer the Program. Remanufactured and retrofitted vehicles meeting warranty and emissions requirements may also qualify for funding. (Reference Assembly Bill 1073, 2017, and California Health and Safety Code 39719.2)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Initiative
The California Air Resources Board's (ARB) Charge Ahead California Initiative will work toward a goal of placing in service at least 1 million ZEVs and near-zero emission vehicles in California by January 1, 2023. In consultation with the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, ARB must prepare a funding plan that includes a market and technology assessment, assessments of existing zero and near-zero emission funding programs, and programs that increase access to disadvantaged, low-income, and moderate-income communities and consumers. Potential programs include those involving innovative financing, car sharing, charging infrastructure in multi-unit dwellings in disadvantaged communities, and public transit. The funding plan must be updated at least every three years through January 1, 2023. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 44258.4)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Policies for Residential and Commercial Renters
The lessor of a dwelling or commercial property must approve written requests from a lessee to install EVSE at a parking space allotted for the lessee on qualified properties. Certain exclusions apply to residential dwellings and commercial properties. All modifications and improvements must comply with federal, state, and local laws and all applicable zoning and land use requirements, covenants, conditions, and restrictions. The lessee of the parking space equipped with EVSE is responsible for the cost of the installation, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of the equipment, electricity consumption, as well as any resulting damage to the EVSE or surrounding area. The lessee must also maintain a $1 million umbrella liability coverage policy and name the common interest development as an additional insured entity under the policy. (Reference California Civil Code 1947.6 and 1952.7)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support
California joined Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the deployment of ZEVs through involvement in a ZEV Program Implementation Task Force (Task Force). In May 2014, the Task Force published a ZEV Action Plan (Plan) identifying 11 priority actions to accomplish the goals of the MOU, including deploying at least 3.3 million ZEVs and adequate fueling infrastructure within the signatory states by 2025. The Plan also includes a research agenda to inform future actions. On an annual basis, each state must report on the number of registered ZEVs, the number of public electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and hydrogen fueling stations, and available information regarding workplace fueling for ZEVs. Each state also committed to:
- Support ZEV commercialization through consistent statewide building codes and standards for installing EVSE, streamlined metering options for homes equipped with EVSE, opportunities to reduce vehicle operating costs, increased electric system efficiency through time-of-use electricity rates and net metering for electric vehicles, and integrating ZEVs with renewable energy initiatives;
- Establish ZEV purchase targets for governmental agency fleets, explore opportunities for coordinated vehicle and fueling station equipment procurement, work to provide public access to government fleet fueling stations, and include commitments to use ZEVs in state contracts with auto dealers and car rental companies where appropriate;
- Evaluate the need for, and effectiveness of, monetary incentives to reduce the upfront purchase price of ZEVs as well as non-monetary incentives, such as high occupancy vehicle lane access, reduced tolls, and preferential parking, and pursue these incentives as appropriate;
- Work to develop uniform standards to promote ZEV consumer acceptance and awareness, industry compliance, and economies of scale, including adopting universal signage, common methods of payment and interoperability of EVSE networks, and reciprocity among states for non-monetary ZEV incentives;
- Cooperate with vehicle manufacturers, electricity and hydrogen providers, the fueling infrastructure industry, corporate fleet owners, financial institutions, and others to encourage ZEV market growth;
- Share research and develop a coordinated education and outreach campaign to highlight the benefits of ZEVs, including collaboration with related national and regional initiatives; and
- Assess and develop potential deployment strategies and infrastructure requirements for the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
For more information, see the Multi-State ZEV Task Force website.
Vehicle Acquisition and Petroleum Reduction Requirements
The California Department of General Services (DGS) is responsible for maintaining specifications and standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks that are purchased or leased for state office, agency, and department use. These specifications include minimum vehicle emissions standards and encourage the purchase or lease of fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). Specifically, DGS must reduce or displace the fleet's consumption of petroleum products by 20% by January 1, 2020, as compared to the 2003 consumption level. Beginning in fiscal year 2024, DGS must also ensure that at least 50% of the light-duty vehicles purchased by the state are zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). Further, at least 15% of DGS' fleet of new vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 19,000 pounds or more must be ZEVs by 2025, and at least 30% by 2030.
On an annual basis, DGS must compile information including, but not limited to, the number of AFVs and hybrid electric vehicles acquired, the locations of the alternative fuel pumps available for those vehicles, and the total amount of alternative fuels used. Vehicles the state owns or leases that are capable of operating on alternative fuel must operate on that fuel unless the alternative fuel is not available. DGS is also required to:
- Take steps to transfer vehicles between agencies and departments to ensure that the most fuel-efficient vehicles are used and to eliminate the least fuel-efficient vehicles from the state's motor vehicle fleet;
- Submit annual progress reports to the California Department of Finance, related legislative committees, and the general public via the DGS website;
- Encourage other agencies to operate AFVs on the alternative fuel for which they are designed, to the extent feasible;
- Encourage the development of commercial fueling infrastructure at or near state vehicle fueling or parking sites;
- Work with other agencies to incentivize and promote state employee use of AFVs through preferential or reduced-cost parking, access to electric vehicle charging, or other means, to the extent feasible; and
- Establish a more stringent fuel economy standard than the 2007 standard.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Open Access Requirements
EVSE service providers may not charge a subscription fee or require membership for use of their public charging stations. In addition, providers must disclose the actual charges for using public EVSE at the point of sale; allow at least two options for payment; and disclose the EVSE geographic location, schedule of fees, accepted methods of payment, and network roaming charges to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Exceptions apply.
The California Air Resources Board may adopt interoperability billing standards for network roaming payment methods for EVSE. Providers would be required to meet these standards within one year of adoption.
(Reference California Health and Safety Code 44268 and 44268.2)
Mandatory Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Building Standards
The California Building Standards Commission (Commission) published mandatory building standards for EVSE installation in parking spaces at multi-family dwellings and non-residential developments in the California Green Building Standards Code within the California Building Standards Code. For more information, see the California Building Codes Standards Commission website. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 18941.10)
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Electricity Exemption
Electricity used to charge PEVs at a state-owned parking facility is exempt from California law prohibiting gifting public money or items of value. (Reference California Government Code 14678)
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