Delaware to Adopt Zero Emission Vehicle Regulation

Goal is to Increase Electric Vehicle Availability, Purchases in First State and Save Delaware Drivers Money

WILMINGTON, Del. — Governor John Carney on Thursday announced that Delaware will join 13 other states in adopting California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations, providing drivers looking to purchase an electric vehicle with more choices at Delaware dealerships.

“In 2017, we signed on to the U.S. Climate Alliance, committing to reduce our carbon emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025. Adopting ZEV regulations will help us make progress on those goals, as well as the other goals outlined in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan,” said Governor Carney. “By adopting the ZEV regulations, Delaware drivers won’t have to go out of state to find an electric vehicle to purchase, and our dealerships will benefit by keeping Delaware customers in Delaware. By creating a better environment for the sale and purchase of electric vehicles, and aligning the environment with massive investments in infrastructure from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will create a positive electric vehicle future in our state.”

Managed by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the ZEV program is designed to accelerate the commercialization of battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell electric vehicles. The regulations mandate that a certain percentage of the vehicles delivered for sale in a state are ZEV vehicles. Manufacturers receive credits for each delivered vehicle based on the type of vehicle, range and other factors. Each year, manufacturers must meet a ZEV credit amount that is based on average annual sales. In states already in the program, the automobile industry has successfully met the required percentage.

Transportation is the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in Delaware. DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin said increasing the number of zero emission vehicles on Delaware roads, along with building out the state’s electric vehicle charging network are key strategies outlined in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, a result of a two year-long process involving residents, businesses, and technical experts.

Advancing these strategies will reduce carbon pollutionimprove air quality and help support fuel savings for the average consumer. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, switching to an electric vehicle could save a household approximately $500 to $1,000 on fuel costs per year. Electric vehicles also tend to have lower maintenance costs than gasoline cars, which also reduces ownership costs.

“Since 2015, Delaware has managed several successful incentive programs to encourage residents and businesses to switch to clean transportation alternatives,” said Secretary Garvin. “In tandem with the electric transportation infrastructure investments being made by the state, ZEV will help provide momentum to our transition to an electric transportation future.”

The DNREC Clean Vehicle Rebate Program currently offers rebates up to $2,500 within 90 days of a vehicle purchase or lease before June 30, 2022. In November, DNREC also announced a $1.4 million grant program to expand Delaware’s electric charging network. Funding will be targeted to increase the availability of electric vehicle infrastructure in areas where access to fast charging stations is limited. 

In addition, the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide almost $18 million to Delaware over five years to build out the state’s electric vehicle charging networks along major routes, and contains possible funding opportunities for electric transit buses, electric school buses and other electric vehicle infrastructure.

Implementation of the ZEV regulations would not take place until model year 2027 (2026) to provide manufacturers time to adjust their inventories and prepare dealerships. There are currently at least 45 ZEV models available to customers in the United States, and over 1.5 million ZEVs have been sold nationwide.