Price volatility of fossil fuels and a growing emphasis on reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions make electric vehicles (EV) and hybrids an attractive alternative to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. States have utilized multiple policy mechanisms to spur deployment and adoption of EVs at the commercial scale, capitalizing on benefits to energy security and both environmental and human health. This page gives an overview of Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) and Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Programs, while the following three pages outline policy options for batteries, charging infrastructure, electric school buses, direct sales, electrifying state fleets, multi-family housing charging, incentives, and rural access.
Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Program
California adopted the first Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) regulations in 1990, including three components: 1) tiers of exhaust emission standards for increasingly more stringent categories of low-emission vehicles, 2) a mechanism requiring each auto manufacturer to phase-in a progressively cleaner mix of vehicles from year to year with the option of credit banking and trading, and 3) a requirement that a specified percentage of passenger cars and light-duty trucks be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) with no exhaust or evaporative emissions. The most recent phase of regulation (LEV III) includes gradually stricter requirements for greenhouse gas and particulate emissions from 2015 to 2025. Sixteen states, including the District of Columbia, have adopted California’s LEV regulations.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program
California adopted the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program in 1990 with a key update in 2012. The program assigns each automaker ZEV credits, which are required to consist of an increasing percentage of their total vehicle sales. The credit requirement is 7%, until it rises to 22% in 2025. Plug-in hybrid vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are eligible under this program; however, different types of vehicles are worth varied amounts of credits. Fourteen states, including the District of Columbia, have adopted California’s ZEV regulations.
Electric Vehicles Legislation
Download the full resource for electric vehicle policy options related to:
- Charging Infrastructure
- Direct Sales
- Electric School Buses
- Electrifying State Fleets
- Multi-Family Housing Charging
- Rural Access