China Center Hosts China-U.S. ZEV Policy Lab Meeting at Asilomar

Weizhen She, Vice Division Chief, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, poses a question during the meeting.

Weizhen She, Vice Division Chief, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, poses a question during the meeting.

As the government of China considers regulatory options for cleaning up its vehicle fleet, the China Center for Energy and Transportation (C-CET) is playing a key role as facilitator of high-level meetings between Chinese officials, California government regulators, and international automakers. In August C-CET hosted a meeting of the China-U.S. ZEV Policy Lab in Pacific Grove, Calif., in conjunction with the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) Biennial Asilomar Conference.

“Our role here at the China Center is to provide a platform — to enable all stakeholders to talk openly about their experiences,” explained C-CET Director Yunshi Wang. Wang also co-directs the China-U.S. ZEV Policy Lab.

Attendees included Anthony Eggert of ClimateWorks Foundation (and former director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy); Mark Wenzel, Climate Change Advisor, CalEPA; and many Chinese dignitaries.

Attendees included Anthony Eggert of ClimateWorks Foundation (and former director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy); Mark Wenzel, Climate Change Advisor, CalEPA; and many Chinese dignitaries.

When it comes to experiences with the California Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulation, each stakeholder’s perspective varies, as was evident at the August meeting. Representatives from California’s regulatory agency, the California Air Resources Board, described how they implement the ZEV regulation, highlighting both its successes and challenges. Major automakers, who are regulated parties, outlined the challenges they have complying with the complex regulation. Alternatively, one independent automaker expressed strong support for the program.

Even among representatives from China’s different government agencies, there appeared to be differing perspectives about how a similar regulation could work in their country, Wang explained.

“We invited everybody to Asilomar, since many of the key U.S. stakeholders are already in attendance, so our colleagues in China could hear all the views, in a private, relaxed setting,” he continued. “And we achieved our goal.”

Before this meeting, Wang explained, the debate was whether China should adopt a ZEV policy. After the visit, the discussion was not whether to adopt it, but how to implement it.

ITS-Davis Founding Director Dan Sperling speaks at the meeting.

ITS-Davis Founding Director Dan Sperling speaks at the meeting.


“This meeting played an important role in the change of mindsets,” he added.  Wang expressed his great admiration for his CATARC partners, who work closely with Chinese government agencies and provide intellectual support in the process. CATARC, the China Automotive Technology and Research Center, co-directs the China-U.S. ZEV Policy Lab.

The conversations continued in follow-up meetings in September. Wang and ITS-Davis Founding Director Dan Sperling traveled to China for more dialogue. As China considers its options on implementing a ZEV program, it is also updating its vehicle fuel economy standards. C-CET will continue to facilitate discussions and provide technical support through the China-U.S. ZEV Policy Lab.