Senator Archuleta responds to Executive Order N-79-20

Legislators urge for focus on fuel cell electric vehicles

November 10, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Today, Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera), along with colleagues in both the State Senate and Assembly, submitted a formal letter to Governor Gavin Newsom applauding his efforts for enacting Executive Order N-79-20, which requires all in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks be zero-emission by 2035, and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045. In particular, the letter highlights and applauds a critical element of the Executive Order; that it remains neutral on what technologies will be used to achieve this goal.

The letter, signed by a coalition of lawmakers, states that the members write to ensure that the regulatory and executive arms of our state government do not become overly-reliant on and overly-invested in a single technology in their zero emission efforts.

“We stand deeply concerned about the impacts of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, buses, vessels, locomotives, and off-road equipment on our local air quality and greenhouse gas emissions,” the letter, addressed to Newsom, California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair Mary Nichols and California Energy Commission (CEC) Chair David Hochschild, reads. “These sectors are particularly difficult to convert to zero emission, and are especially well-suited for hydrogen fuel cell technology due to the longer range and higher power density available in that technology.”

In the letter, Senator Archuleta and his colleagues caution that “hydrogen fuel cell electric mobility solutions have been largely deprioritized compared to battery-based vehicles,” at both the CARB and the CEC, who together administer the bulk of California’s clean transportation investments.

“Battery-electric vehicles are a wonder of modern technology, and they will no-doubt help us achieve our goals. But, that single technology will not get us there alone and fuel cell electric vehicles will need to be a significant part of our zero emission portfolio, particularly in the heavy-duty and commercial sectors,” reads the comprehensive letter. “There will be no fell-swoop solution, there is no silver bullet, and we must support and advance every zero emission mobility option possible as we work to realize the goals set forth in your Executive Order.”

Signed by Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera), Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood), Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson), Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Ventura), Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County), Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), and Assemblymember James Ramos (D-Highland), this letter marks the first time that legislators have issued an organized response to the Newsom’s Executive Order. In their response, they ask that Newsom ensure implementation is done in a “technology-neutral” way – prioritizing both hydrogen fuel cell electric and battery electric vehicle investments – and that Newsom support the Legislature during the coming legislative session as they “seek to enact legislative policies that will help to facilitate the successful, technology-neutral implementation of Executive Order N-79-20.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.