The Advanced Clean Cars Program
This page last reviewed January 18, 2017
Continuing its leadership role in developing innovative and ground breaking emission control programs, the Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program in 2012. This historic program, developed in coordination with the United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), combined the control of smog-causing (criteria) pollutants and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into a single coordinated set of requirements for model years 2015 through 2025. ACC assured the development of environmentally superior passenger cars and other vehicles that will continue to deliver the performance, utility, and safety vehicle owners have come to expect, all while saving the consumer money through significant fuel savings.
ACC is an integral part of California’s ambitious long-term requirements to reduce the State’s impact on climate change and improve ambient air quality. The components of the ACC program are the Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) regulations that reduce criteria pollutants and GHG emissions from light- and medium-duty vehicles, and the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulation, which requires manufacturers to produce an increasing number of pure ZEVs (meaning battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles), with provisions to also produce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) in the 2018 through 2025 model years.
The vehicle programs are a critical component in the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for achieving national ambient air quality standards in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley. They are also integral in ARB’s Scoping Plan to achieve the GHG reduction goals that were established through California legislation and Executive Orders.
When the ARB adopted the ACC program in 2012, the agency committed to conduct a comprehensive Midterm Review (MTR) of three elements of the program -- the ZEV regulation, the 1 milligram per mile (mg/mi) particulate matter (PM) standard, and the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards for 2022 and later model years. ARB's Resolution 12-11 specified areas for staff to consider for its review and staff presented annual informational items to the board, with the final report released in December 2016.
A Midterm Evaluation (MTE) of the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards for 2022 and later model years is also being conducted at the national level, and ARB staff are collaborating with the U.S. EPA and the NHTSA to review the standards since the California program closely mirrors the national program for these model years.
On November 30, 2016, EPA released a Proposed Determination finding that the MY 2022-2025 GHG standards remain appropriate and that a rulemaking to change them is not warranted. This determination was based on the robust technical record including the joint-agency 2016 draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR), input from the auto industry and other stakeholders, and updated analyses. Subsequent to a review of public comment, U.S. EPA concluded their midterm evaluation and published a Final Determination in January 2017 that affirmed the existing federal greenhouse gas standards would remain as adopted.
ARB released its Advanced Clean Cars Midterm Review Report on January 18, 2017. This report and its appendices encompass ARB's technical analysis for the midterm review of the adopted LEV III GHG and PM emission standards and ZEV requirements. The report includes recommendations to the Board for next steps for each of the adopted requirements.
Research & Assessment
Success of the ACC program requires regular assessment of the state of technology, industry parameters, and the consumer market in order to ensure maximum feasible benefits. ARB has sponsored or co-sponsored extramural research projects to support the mid-term review:
Gregory Pannone, Control Tec
In September 2016 staff held an Advanced Clean Cars Symposium, “The Road Ahead” that brought together automakers, suppliers, and other clean car stakeholders to look at technologies that expand upon the TAR, and help inform the ARB midterm review. The first day featured presentations made by representatives from industry and academia on various groundbreaking trends in ZEV technologies, including the latest in battery technology, wireless charging, and ARB’s analysis of manufacturer provided plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) in-use data and emissions testing of PHEVs. The second day covered engine and vehicle technologies that were not extensively used in the analysis for the joint agency 2016 TAR but are expected to be on production vehicles in the near term and could help meet the adopted GHG and PM standards.
Market Support & ZEV Collaboration
Implementation of the ACC program requires a variety of government actions beyond regulatory development in order to encourage ZEV sales and usage, remove market barriers and establish necessary charging/refueling infrastructure. As outlined in California’s ZEV Action Plan state agencies and legislation play an important role in promoting growth in the ZEV market, such as through incentives like the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project or single-occupant access to carpool lanes as well as investments in hydrogen fueling stations and fast-charging stations. Collaborating with state, national and international partners is a key program strategy as well that helps address challenges to ZEV market expansion in California and beyond, including technology development and cost reduction.
Additional Program Information
ACC Symposium: The Road Ahead (September 2016)
Summary of the ACC Program
Early Program Activity
News Release: California Air Resources Board Releases Proposed Advanced Clean Car Rules (December 2011)
News Release: California Air Resources Board Approves Advanced Clean Car Rules (January 2012)
News Release: ARB proposes regulations to accept Federal GHG vehicle standards (August 2012)
Presentation from Community Meetings (July 2011)
Proposed ACC Amendments: AB1085 Background Materials for Emissions Data, Economic Data and Public Health Impacts