California and China partner in push for ZEVs; new working group to expand cooperation

California and China partner in push for ZEVs; new working group to expand cooperation

8 June 2017

California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and California Air
Resources Board (CARB) Chair Mary D. Nichols met with
officials of China’s leading automakers and battery manufacturers
in an effort to expand cooperation and accelerate deployment of
zero-emission cars, trucks and buses.

At the close of the meeting, Governor Brown and Chair Nichols
agreed to establish a new working group through the China-US ZEV
Policy Lab at UC Davis to expand cooperation with Chinese
zero-emission vehicle and battery technology companies. The lab
is a partnership established in 2014 between UC Davis
Institute of Transportation Studies and the China Automotive
Technology and Research Center (CATARC).

The meeting included officials from Chinese automakers such
as BYD, Beijing Auto Group, Great Wall, Geely, Dongfeng Xiao
Kang, Yangtze Motors and a half dozen other vehicle and battery
companies. Discussions with the companies centered on plans for
developing new models of zero-emission vehicles and support
needed to enter the US market.

China now accounts for more than 40% of plug-in vehicles (from two-wheelers to buses) sold in the world, according to a recent report from the IEA. (Earlier post.) California accounts for more than 50% of sales in the United
States. China’s production of zero-emission vehicles has
skyrocketed over the past two years.

In California, the transportation sector is responsible for
nearly 40% of greenhouse gas emissions and is also by far
the largest source of smog-causing pollution and fine particle
pollution. With the nation’s largest market for cars and
light-duty trucks, California pioneered regulations to clean up
emissions, including a zero-emission vehicle initiative that
dates back to 1990.

Today, some 37 different battery-powered, plug-in hybrid, and
fuel cell electric vehicle models are available in California. As
of March, California had more than 280,000 zero-emission vehicles
on the roads, and the Governor has set a goal of putting 1.5
million ZEVs on the roads by 2025 and 4-5 million by 2030.

California’s market has shown strong growth recently, with ZEVs
accounting for more than 10% of new vehicles in 16
California cities in 2016, according to a recent analysis by the
International Council on Clean Transportation. In the first
quarter of 2017, ZEVs accounted for nearly 5% of new car
sales statewide.

China, which faces well-documented air quality challenges, is
likewise strongly committed to deploying zero-emission vehicles,
or “new energy vehicles.” China is expected to announce a ZEV
credit policy this year modeled after California’s program
resulting from collaborative efforts led by the China-US ZEV
Policy Lab.

Since 2014, ZEV sales in China have increased nearly sevenfold to
509,000 vehicles in 2016, making China the largest market and
strongest driver of global market growth. A national “road map”
for the country’s auto market aims for ZEVs to account for at
least 20% of total vehicle sales by 2025, or about 7
million vehicles a year.

In order to achieve California’s climate goals, we need more
electric cars and more hydrogen fuel cell cars that are charged
with renewable energy. We welcome any
Chinese technology that will help us achieve these goals. We have
a very tall hill to climb and we want to introduce clean
technologies as quickly as possible. We need a great leap
forward.

—Governor Brown

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