California signs deal with Stellantis to uphold vehicle emissions rules

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced on Tuesday that top automaker Stellantis has agreed to abide by the Golden State’s strict emissions rules, regardless of decisions made by a future federal administration.

Through this partnership, Stellantis — the parent corporation for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and others — has pledged to comply with California’s zero-emissions light-duty vehicle sales requirements through 2030 and make significant investments in charging infrastructure.

The automotive giant has agreed to abide by the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) light-duty vehicle sales mandates “even if CARB is unable to enforce its standards as a result of judicial or federal action,” a statement from the agency said.

In other words, if a potential Trump administration were to decide to repeal CARB’s emissions rules, Stellantis would continue to maintain these standards nonetheless.

“The biggest and most influential companies in the world understand that this is how we can fight climate change together,” Newsom said in a Tuesday statement.

“It’s another example of the private sector joining California to help millions of people get into clean vehicles,” the governor added.

In inking the deal with the State of California, Stellantis joins four other automakers — Ford, Honda, BMW of North America and Volkswagen Group of America — that came to similar such agreements with CARB in 2019.

Under the agreement, Stellantis will be avoiding between 10 million and 12 million additional metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions through 2026.

Stellantis has also said it would invest $4 million in deploying public charging infrastructure in California’s rural areas and in federal, state and county parks, as well as $6 million in other states that have adopted California’s emissions standards.

Those states, per the agreement, thus far include Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

California approved the country’s most ambitious electric vehicle (EV) targets in August 2022, when CARB voted to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

The rule, which follows a 2020 executive order issued by Newsom, would increase the proportion of emissions-free cars sold in the state each year, until that percentage reaches 100 in 2035.

California’s goals reach far beyond federal targets, and the state is awaiting the approval of a special waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency, as mandated by the Clean Air Act.

Several Republican-led states are pursuing a lawsuit in opposition to California’s waiver request, while concern is mounting as to whether a future Republican administration might revoke a previously issued waiver — as former President Trump did in 2020.

But by joining in the partnership on Tuesday, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares described the deal as “a win-win solution that is good for the customer and good for the planet.”

“We remain as determined as ever to offer sustainable options across our brand portfolio and being a leader in the global decarbonization efforts,” Tavares said in a statement.

Stellantis currently offers five plug-in hybrids in the U.S., including the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, the Dodge Hornet and the Alfa Romeo Tonale.

Also in the company’s lineup are two wholly electric vehicles (EVs) the FIAT 500e and Ram ProMaster EV, while eight new EVs are in the domestic pipeline for 2024, according to Stellantis.

As for the state agency, CARB Chair Liane Randolph stressed in a statement that such cooperation “helps accelerate the deployment of zero-emissions options that will make a more sustainable future possible.”

“California’s persistent air pollution and the growing threat of climate change require action and innovation,” added Steven Cliff, CARB executive officer. “Our collaboration with Stellantis is an example of the industry partnerships that will further a clean air future.”

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