Zero-Emission Vehicles

In March 2020, the Motor Vehicle Emission Standards – Zero-Emission Vehicles law (RCW 70A.30.010) directed us to adopt California’s vehicle emission standards. This includes new requirements to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) sold in Washington.


Zero-emission vehicles help us reduce greenhouse gases

Transportation in Washington is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and also a major contributor to other types of air pollution.

Under a 2020 law, Washington is required to reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030, 70% by 2040, and 95% by 2050. Since almost 45% of Washington's annual greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, cleaner cars and trucks are essential to meeting these limits. 

Increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles on our roads will reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2030.

Zero-emission vehicle basics

A zero-emission vehicle is a vehicle that releases no tailpipe air pollution. (Brake pad and tire wear can be a source of air pollution from any vehicle.) A zero-emission vehicle continues to run clean throughout its life, unlike a standard petroleum-powered vehicle, which typically pollutes more as it ages and parts wear out.

There are two types of zero-emission vehicles:

Although not zero-emission vehicles, these hybrids are a bridge between gas-only and fully electric:

Rulemaking about low-emission vehicles

Ecology adopted new ZEV and LEV standards on November 29, 2021. The requirements will take effect in 2024, with the release of model year 2025 vehicles.

In January 2022, Ecology announced the start of rulemaking to adopt additional vehicle emission standards. The proposed rule would increase zero-emission vehicle sales of passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles to 100 percent starting in 2035. It would also require cleaner, less polluting heavy-duty engines.

Zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs)

ZEV vehicles include battery-powered electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles. Washington proposes to add these new requirements:

  • Passenger cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty vehicles
    • Extends Washington's ZEV program through 2035
    • Requires increasing percentage of ZEV sales each year
    • Requires all sales of new light-duty and medium-duty to be ZEVs by 2035
    • Adds battery durability and warranty requirements based on the battery state of health
    • Increases minimum all-electric range for plug-in hybrids

Low-emission vehicles (LEV)

  • Passenger cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles
    • Reduces emission standards for multiple pollutants
    • Improves vehicle certification requirements to include more driving conditions, like quick acceleration
  • Medium and heavy-duty trucks (vehicles weighing more than 8,500 pounds)
  • One-time fleet reporting requirements
    • Fleets with 5 or more medium and heavy-duty vehicles must report.
    • Fleets that own their own vehicles, and those that dispatch or contract vehicles must report.
    • Fleets must report fleet entity, facility, or home base, and specifics of vehicles over 8.500 pounds.
    • Fleet information is due Sept. 30, 2023, based on 2022 fleet operations.