Advancing Zero-Emission Vehicles
Why Are Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) Important?
California’s transportation sector - with tailpipes, oil extraction, and oil refining combined – accounts for approximately 50% of all in-state greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. California cannot meet its climate goals without reducing emissions generated by the transportation sector.
ZEVs are vehicles that do not produce exhaust emissions of any criteria pollutant under any and all possible operational modes and conditions. For this reason, widespread adoption of ZEVs is a key component to the state’s strategy to meet emissions reduction targets and climate change goals.
Caltrans ZEV Strategy
As the steward of California’s state highway system (SHS), Caltrans serves an important and unique role in the state’s efforts to increase ZEVs on California’s roadways. Caltrans supports the state’s ZEV transition through actions like:
- Replacement of our own vehicle fleet to ZEVs
- Installation of ZEV charging stations at Caltrans workplaces for employees
- Installation of public charging stations along the SHS
- Partnerships with private charging networks to expand public charging accessibility
- Coordination with and technical assistance to local transit agencies to support their ZEV transitions
Caltrans structures its ZEV strategy into 5 key areas, led and supported by various Divisions and offices across the Department.
- Caltrans Fleet: Create and promote the greenest Department of Transportation fleet in the U.S.
- Caltrans Workplace Chargers: Meet the required 5% ZEV workplace charging availability for Caltrans employees
- Public Charging: Address charging infrastructure gaps along Caltrans' right-of-way; increase visibility of public charging stations
- Transit: Support local transit and rail’s transitions to zero-emission technology through funding and technical assistance
- Freight: Incentivize and support the development and adoption of zero-emission freight technology across the state
Sustainability Office's Work
Throughout the Department, a variety of divisions and offices are involved in both Caltrans’ and the state’s transition to ZEVs. The Sustainability program coordinates information sharing, collaboration, and alignment across the Department, as well as provides strategic direction, policy guidance, and training to District-level staff on topics related to ZEVs.
The Sustainability program, in partnership with Caltrans staff, developed the Caltrans Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Action Plan 2.0, an update to Caltrans’ first ZEV Action Plan released in 2018. The Action Plan was created in response to the Governor's Executive Order N-79-20, and aims to accelerate access to ZEVs for all Californians, especially underserved, low-income, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
The Sustainability program team will continue to track and monitor the implementation of the actions outlined in the Action Plan, and will update the Action Plan annually.
Although the transition to ZEVs will offer many benefits, a one-to-one transition from gasoline combustion vehicles to ZEVs will not serve as a complete solution to the climate crisis nor necessarily contribute to the safety, equity, health, and livability of Californians. The state cannot meet its climate goals without a reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and the delivery of transportation improvements and development projects that allow Californians to access the same places while driving less.
Learn more about how the Sustainability program is working to provide sustainable, multimodal transportation options:
ZEV Rebates and Incentives
Interested in purchasing or leasing a zero-emission vehicle? With federal, state, and local incentives, the cost savings and other benefits to consumers are plentiful.
To learn about local, state, and federal ZEV incentives*, including rebates, tax credits, and special charging rates, visit Electric For All.
*Incentive programs are subject to availability. Reimbursement and credit funding not guaranteed.
Caltrans is always interested in potential corporate partnerships to accelerate not only our Department's ZEV transition, but the statewide transition. We are continuously pursuing new opportunities to transition our fleet and equipment.
If you are interested in partnering with Caltrans, please contact Barby Valentine.