California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California is again leading the way for environmental regulation in the U.S. with the state’s plan to transition to an all-electric public bus fleet by 2040.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the Innovative Clean Transit regulation, the first of its kind in the U.S., in an effort to reduce emissions generated by the state’s public transportation. The sector, according to CARB, is responsible for 40 percent of climate-changing gas emissions and 80 percent to 90 percent of smog-forming pollutants in California.

Mass transit agencies in California are expected to roll out 1,000 electric buses by 2020, compared to 153 electric buses on the state’s roads today. The agencies, which are required to submit plans on how they will make the transition, will only be allowed to purchase zero-emissions buses starting 2029.

The target is for all 200 public transit agencies in California to be operating 100% zero-emission bus fleets by 2040. The full implementation of the regulation is expected to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 19 million metric tons from 2020 to 2050, which CARB said is the same as taking 4 million cars off the road. CARB also expects a reduction in harmful tailpipe emissions, which includes nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, by about 7,000 tons and 40 tons, respectively, over that 30-year period.

With the Innovative Clean Transit regulation, CARB is looking at benefits that include cleaner air and quieter rides for people who regularly take public transportation. The plan will also allow transit agencies to save $1.5 billion in costs by 2050, once the infrastructure is fully established. Lastly, the deployment of electric buses in California will result in new employment opportunities, including manufacturing jobs for the required vehicles.

The move may be considered as a massive boon for Proterra, which has been busy spreading awareness on the capabilities of its electric buses, as well as BYD, the Chinese automaker that put up an electric bus assembly plant in California.

The cities of California have done their share in working towards a cleaner future, with one example being the partnership between Los Angeles and Proterra for their own electric bus fleet. The Innovative Clean Transit regulation of the CARB, however, will make zero-emissions buses not just an option for California, but rather the standard.


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