The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has mandated that all automakers who sell motor vehicles in the state of California, must phase in to their lineup a certain number of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) and near-zero-emissions vehicles over specific time periods. The number of vehicles that must be phased in varies according to how many cars a manufacturer sells in the state.

Phase Two of the mandate runs through model year 2011 and the volume numbers are fairly small. Phase Three begins in model year 2012 and it is then that the volume requirements increase. CARB has assigned each type of ZEV and near-ZEV a credits value. A hydrogen fuel-cell electric-vehicle, for example, gets more credits than does a plug-in gas-electric hybrid. A manufacturer can use one technology to meet its requirements, or it may use a combination. Although Toyota can’t discuss specific volumes or mixes in accordance with the CARB mandate, we have announced plans to bring to market a Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle, a small electric commuter vehicle with an electric range of approximately 50 miles, and a 100-plus electric range RAV4 EV in 2012. Toyota has also announced that it will be bringing a fuel cell vehicle to market in 2015 or sooner.

We have compiled a list of CARB web pages that offer a good explanation of the credit system, what qualifies and what doesn’t, the history of the ZEV program, and other frequently sought after information.

For the latest information from CARB, please visit their website:


ZEV Fact Sheet

Extensive ZEV tutorial presentation

A list of manufacturer ZEV credit balances