Zero-emission vehicles (ZEV)

In March 2020, the Legislature passed the Motor Vehicle Emission Standards – Zero-Emission Vehicles law (RCW 70A.30.010) which directs us to adopt California’s vehicle emission standards. This includes new requirements to gradually increase the number of new zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) sold in Washington, until all new vehicles meet the ZEV standard starting in 2035.

The law does not ban any gas or diesel vehicle currently on the road, but steadily replaces fossil fuel-powered vehicles with cleaner models for new vehicle sales. Plug-in hybrid vehicles, which combine a gas engine with a battery-electric system, will qualify for the 2035 ZEV standard as long as they can travel at least 50 miles on battery power.

Zero-emission vehicles help 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 40% 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 Washington 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 entirely zero-emission vehicles, these hybrids are a bridge between gas-only and fully electric:

  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles combine a gasoline-powered engine with a smaller battery that can be recharged with electricity. New plug-in hybrid vehicles with more than 50 miles of all-electric range will meet the 2035 standard and can continue to be sold beyond this date.
  • Hybrid electric vehicles combine a gasoline-powered engine with a battery that the engine recharges. These vehicles don't plug in and do not meet the new ZEV standard.

Rulemaking about low-emission vehicles

We adopted new zero-emission and low-emission vehicle standards on Nov. 29, 2021. The requirements will take effect in 2024, with the release of model year 2025 vehicles.

In January 2022, we announced rulemaking to adopt additional vehicle emission standards. Adopted in December 2022, the new rule increases new zero-emission vehicle sales of passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles to 100% starting in 2035. It also requires cleaner, less polluting new heavy-duty internal combustion engines.

Zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs)

ZEV vehicles include battery-powered electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles. Washington added 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 vehicles (such as larger pickup trucks and SUVs) to be ZEVs by 2035.
    • Adds battery durability and warranty requirements based on the battery state of health.
    • Increases minimum all-electric range to 50 miles 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
    • Based on 2022 fleet operations.
    • Applies to private, local, state, and federal fleets, and fleets:
      • With 5 or more medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
      • With 1 or more vehicles whose corporate revenue exceeds $50 million.
      • Owners that own their vehicles, and those that dispatch or contract vehicles.
    • Does not apply to:
      • Emergency vehicle fleets.
      • Military tactical vehicles.
      • Vehicles awaiting sale.
    • Fleets must report fleet entity, facility, or home base, and specifics of vehicles over 8,500 pounds.

How to report about your fleet

Here's some helpful information about fleet reporting:

Email if you have questions.