Research Brief

California and Québec’s ZEV mandates description

May, 2019


Navius Research has summarized the Zero Emission Vehicle standard regulations implemented in the state of California and the province of Québec. The summary explains compliance requirements including credit generation mechanisms, application of the policy on automakers, monitoring and enforcement, and penal provisions. A comparison is made between the two policies.


  • California introduced its first iteration of the ZEV mandate in the early 1990’s but the regulation did not take effect until 2005.
  • Québec is the only jurisdiction outside of the United States to have implemented its own Zero Emission Vehicle standard.
  • The policies are designed to increase zero emission vehicle availability, choice and sales in both jurisdictions
  • Both policies use a credit system to define compliance with their policies. The production of credits is driven by ZEV sales, but there isn’t a one-to-one ratio between sales and credit generation. Therefore, actual ZEV sales may differ somewhat from the policies’ ZEV targets.
  • Both policies place heavy emphasis on vehicle range with long range vehicles earning up to four times more credits than a vehicle with a minimum credit-generating zero emission range of about 80 km. Actual ZEV sales in a given year will be lower than the ZEV target if most sales are long-range ZEVs because of the credit generation system.

Click the image above to download the report.

Download the summary here.

This study is a redacted version of an analysis prepared for one of our clients.

To learn more about this research, please contact Barbar Moawad.

Other Publications

Journal Articles

Melton, N., J. Axsen & S. Goldberg. 2017. Evaluating plug-in electric vehicle policies in the context of long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals: Comparing 10 Canadian provinces using the PEV policy report card. Energy Policy, 107, 381-393.

Bataille, C. & N. Melton. 2017. Energy efficiency and economic growth: A retrospective CGE analysis for Canada from 2002 to 2012Energy Economics, 64, 118-130.

Wolinetz & Axsen. 2017. How policy can build the plug-in electric vehicle market: Insights from the REspondent-based Preference And Constraints (REPAC) model. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 117: 238-250.

Melton, N., J. Axsen & D. Sperling. 2016. Moving beyond alternative fuel hype to decarbonize transportationNature Energy, 1, 16013. Learn More ➥

Bataille, C., N. Melton & M. Jaccard. 2015. Policy uncertainty and diffusion of carbon capture and storage in an optimal region. Climate Policy, 15(5): 565-582.

Jaccard, M., N. Melton & J. Nyboer. 2011. Institutions and Processes for Scaling Up Renewables: Run-of-River Hydropower in British Columbia. Energy Policy, 39(7): 4042-4050.

Peters, J., C. Bataille, N. Rivers, & M. Jaccard. 2010. Taxing Emissions, Not Income: How to Moderate the Regional Impact of Federal Environment Policy. C.D. Howe Institute, 314: Toronto, ON.