California and China Collaborating To Lead ZEV Deployment

California Governor Jerry Brown and Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols met with Chinese auto and battery makers Wednesday in Beijing to support bringing more zero emission cars, trucks, and buses to their roads.

Representatives from  BYD, Beijing Auto Group, Great Wall, Geely, Dongfeng Xiao Kang, Yangtze Motors, and a half dozen other vehicle manufacturers and battery companies, attended the meeting.

A new working group is being established between California and China to expand cooperation with Chinese automakers and battery companies. It will be conducted through the China-US ZEV Policy Lab at University of California, Davis. That lab was started in 2014 between UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and the China Automotive Technology and Research Center.

The meeting with auto and battery executives was one of several that took place this week for Brown and Nichols in Chengdu, Nanjing, and Beijing. China is working on adopting a ZEV credit policy later this year based on California’s. Collaborative efforts through the China-US ZEV Policy Lab are expected to shape much of that policy, according to CARB.

Governor Brown had scheduled the China trip long before President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that the U.S. will be pulling out of the Paris climate change accord. The outspoken governor has made comments about California now having to lead the way for the U.S. to work with China on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through transportation and clean energy.

“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,” Brown said.

California and China are the home bases for relatively large inventories of ZEVs – and for a share of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. China is seeing sales of about 40 percent of the global plug-in electrified vehicle market while California makes up about half of total U.S. sales.

On the emissions side, the transportation sector produces nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in California, and is the largest source of smog-causing air pollution and fine particulate pollution.

China faces well-documented air quality challenges. City and national government officials have been taking measures to reduce fossil-fuel powered vehicles from roads and to support China’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions. Switching over from coal-powered plants to renewable energy is part of that initiative, along with bringing out more “new energy vehicles.”

Chinese and California officials have been in talks about health hazards tied to air pollution, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthening economic growth through clean technologies.

“California and China have both seen what unchecked emissions can do to public health, the environment and our economies,” said Nichols. “Building on these shared concerns and the progress we both have made in zero-emission and battery technology, we can work as partners to bring tens of millions of the cleanest possible vehicles to market over the next decade and a half.”

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CARB reported that as of March, California had more than 280,000 zero-emission vehicles on the roads. That’s less than a quarter of what Brown has set for the state’s goal of seeing 1.5 million ZEVs on the roads by 2025; and four-to-five million by 2030.

Sales have been up this year. In the first quarter of 2017, ZEVs accounted for nearly 5 percent new car sales in California, according to a recent analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation.

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