WASHINGTON — Toyota Motor North America has agreed to recognize California’s authority to set vehicle emission standards under the Clean Air Act, the Japanese automaker said Tuesday.
In a letter sent to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph, Toyota said it is “committed to emission reductions and vehicle introductions consistent with CARB’s programs,” including pending regulations that would accelerate a transition to zero-emission vehicles and strengthen standards for new light-duty cars and trucks sold in the state.
“Our success in helping to electrify transportation depends in large part on success here, and in working with you to ensure we can deliver affordable and compelling solutions for all Californians,” Toyota wrote in the letter.
California plans to phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered cars and light trucks and achieve 100 percent ZEV sales by 2035.
The recognition allows Toyota to be eligible for government fleet purchases by the state of California, a CARB spokesman confirmed.
General Motors recognized the state’s authority in January.
In November 2019, California said it planned to halt all purchases of new vehicles for state government fleets from GM, Toyota and other automakers backing former President Donald Trump in a legal battle over tailpipe emissions, according to Reuters.
In 2020, GM withdrew its support of the Trump administration in the suit. Toyota and other remaining automakers withdrew in February 2021.
In a Twitter post Tuesday, Rudolph said she was “pleased” by Toyota’s move to recognize the state’s authority. “Although we’ve had differences in the past, we look forward to advancing #ZEVs together on positive footing,” she wrote.
Toyota — the world’s largest automaker by sales — has faced criticism over its slower paced rollout of battery-electric vehicles compared with rivals such as GM and Volkswagen.
“Toyota continues to share the vision of [greenhouse gas] reduction and carbon neutrality goals with CARB and the state,” Toyota said in a statement. “In our recent communication, we acknowledged CARB’s leadership in climate policies and its authority to set vehicle emissions standards under the Clean Air Act.
“We are also excited about our efforts to extend zero-emissions activities beyond our core vehicle business with our ‘Clean Ports, Clean Corridors and Clean Communities’ initiative,” the automaker continued, “and we’re eager to explore the state’s engagement with these efforts.”
Toyota’s Japan-built bZ4X went on sale in the U.S. in late spring this year. It’s the automaker’s first EV since the RAV4 EV it built in cooperation with Tesla in 2014.