Big diesel bakkies under threat

2021 Ford F 150

Rolling coal will soon be a thing of the past.

California has enacted new clean air regulations, which aim to change the way bakkie product planners view their portfolios beyond 2024.

America’s most powerful State, when measured in economic activity, is also one of the world’s most stringent, when it comes to vehicle pollution standards.

The broad aim of this new amendment to the California clean air act is to limit the environmental damage of large-capacity diesel truck and bakkie engines. Although most American bakkies are powered by petrol, there are heavy-duty versions which feature huge turbodiesel engines.

Californian politicians are now targeting these medium- and heavy-duty bakkies, by mandating that from 2024, 5- to 9% of all models sold, will have to be zero-emission compliant. This requirement is set to increase every few years, increasing to 30% by 2030.

Ford will be most exposed to these new regulations, as its F-250 and F-350 models fall into the category of medium- and heavy-duty bakkies. Californian regulators have set a permitted maximum vehicle weight of 3 855 kg as the qualification for its new law.

That vehicle weight number currently excludes most popular bakkie ranges, such as Ford’s F-150, the RAM and GM 1500, but it is only a question of time before regulations trickle down to America’s half-ton bakkies too. Although these bakkies don’t carry much weight above their rear axle, they are larger and heavier than a comparable Hilux and Ranger.

Although the regulations might appear punitive at first, they will also serve to incentivise the burgeoning American electric vehicle industry to develop more bakkie models. Bollinger, Tesla, Nikola and Rivian already had advanced battery-powered bakkies in development and the American auto industry enjoys a tremendous technology and demand advantage for these, compared to virtually any other market.

The controversial practise of turbodiesel bakkie owners in America ‘rolling coal’, might soon be a thing of the past.

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