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Why CARB’s new regulations for heavy-duty EVs represent a massive opportunity for installers of EV chargers

Thanks to the rapid growth of the electric vehicle marketplace, charging stations for those EVs are becoming a critical part of public infrastructure. As the next generation of clients looks to the EV market for a new set of wheels and a place to plug in, governing bodies are creating new regulations to accommodate this booming industry.

In June 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) developed a set of regulations to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) freight trucks, buses, and vans. Combined with President Biden's National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, the updated rules are set to launch the EV industry into a new era. With more heavy-duty EVs on the road, the demand for EV charging stations is likely to go from 0 to 60 in a matter of years.

Let's talk about what the regulations mean for value-added resellers (VARs) that sell and install EV chargers. 

California's new ACF program: some background and proposed rules

Exhaust from freight traffic accounts for about half of California's air pollution, with diesel trucks pinpointed as the number one contributor of nitrogen dioxide, a possible carcinogen. There's also evidence that pollution from non-electric cars, trucks, and buses disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, which are often adjacent to seaports, freeways, and warehouses. 

The Advanced Clean Fleet (ACF) regulation is one of the most sweeping attempts to rectify the situation in the state's history. The program aims to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in government-owned and commercial fleets. Together with the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) regulations, which provides rebates to fleet owners who purchase EVs, ACF is a part of California's initiative to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. 

Who's affected?

  • Drayage truck fleets
  • CA state and local agencies (e.g., school and water districts)
  • Federal government agencies
  • High priority fleets: Fleets with at least $50 million or more in gross annual revenue and who own or operate one or more vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 8,500 pounds in California.

What's the timeline?

  • Manufacturers will need to sell only zero-emission medium-and heavy-duty vehicles by 2040.
  • For state and local government fleets, 50% of vehicle purchases must be zero emission beginning by 2024. 100% of vehicle purchases need to be zero emission by 2027.
  • All drayage trucks must be zero emission by 2035. In 2025, only zero-emission drayage trucks can be added to the fleet, and legacy vehicles need to be removed promptly at the end of their useful life.
  • Federal and high priority fleets need to follow a transition schedule to increase the number of EVs and retire vehicles with combustible engines.

What do the new regulations mean for EV charging businesses?

A new type of client, one who may have only thought about EVs in passing, will soon be in dire need of EV infrastructure.

These future clients will be school district and local government officials, municipal transportation companies, and drayage fleet managers. They may be overwhelmed by the various components and complexities of EVs and have other priorities, with EV charger installation being just one item on the agenda.

They can't and will not want to deal with hardware, software, new payment processes, and maintenance that come with the installation of EV chargers. Luckily, many resellers and EV charging businesses excel at all those things and have the resources to coach new clients through the process.

In other words, your EV charging business is about to become an even more invaluable resource, especially if you provide a one-stop solution.

Even if your operation isn’t primarily based in California, these new regulations might still affect you, as they apply to all high-priority fleets that own at least one truck in CA. That means companies based out of state may still need to comply with the regulations.

In other words, heavy-duty EVs and the subsequent demand for charging stations will surely trickle outside the Golden State. And with the newly-approved nationwide EV charging network plan, EVs for municipal systems and commercial fleets may soon become a priority nationwide.

What can I do to prepare my business?

ACF and LCFS regulations come with tight deadlines. (Drayage fleets in CA will need to purchase EVs only by 2025!) Installing the necessary EV infrastructure to accommodate new heavy-duty EVs may inevitably feel like building a plane in mid-flight.

Network owners and EV charger installation businesses will need to move fast and have the right tools in place when flustered clients come knocking. You may need to keep an eye on new rebate programs across different states, especially those that cover installation fees. Being in the loop can help you lead an informed discussion with budget-conscious clients such as school districts.

This new type of client will also need a fast installation process with minimum interruptions on-site. Now is also a good time to start streamlining your workflow and setting yourself up with the right tools. 

Having access to compatible hardware and software components will become increasingly important in the coming years as new products come on the market to meet the demands of commercial EVs. Here at ChargeLab, we provide an open, interoperable, and hardware-agnostic operating system that works with both commercial and fleet charging stations. 

If you own a business that sells or installs EV chargers and would like to become a reseller of ChargeLab, reach out to us today.

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If you're looking for software to help build your EV charging business, contact ChargeLab today.

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