California wants to speed up the EV revolution

California has announced a bold new initiative to bring the EV revolution forward. Its Air Resources Board this week unveiled a proposal that would eliminate the sale of petrol and diesel cars and light trucks by 2035, which is in line with similar policies adopted by several of the world’s most progressive nations and few other states.

According to New York Times, the new CARB initiative will require 35% of new passenger cars sold in the state by 2026 to be powered by batteries or hydrogen. Currently, 12.4% of new cars sold in California are zero-emission models. By 2035, all of these vehicles should be emission-free. If CARB completes the plan in August, as it is expected to do, it could set the bar for the country’s automotive industry. California is the largest car market in the United States and the 10th largest in the world.

“This is hugely important,” said Daniel Sperling, a member of the California Air Resource Board and director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. He said the proposed rule, which he said he expects will pass, sends a signal to the global car market. “Other countries and other states, they see what California is doing and so this will resonate around the world.”

Car manufacturers did not immediately respond to requests from New York Times for a comment on California’s proposed rule. In a joint statement last year, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis said they had a “common aspiration” to achieve sales of 40 to 50% of electric vehicles nationally by 2030. But they added that they would need state aid and a “full series of electrification policies” to translate hopes into action.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry group that speaks for the majority of automakers selling their products in the United States, said in a statement reported by KGMI News that the industry is “committed to electrification and a net carbon-free transport future”, but raised questions about the dramatic increase in the schedule. “Automakers will certainly work to meet the standards that will eventually be adopted, but these draft requirements will be extremely challenging even in California and may not be achievable in all of the states currently following California’s program.”

California is the largest market for new vehicles in the United States, but it is not alone in calling for a halt to fossil-fueled cars. The state of Washington has recently set 2030 as the phase-out date for sales within its borders, and the state of New York has already announced 2035 as its phase-out date.

The proposed rule follows a decree issued by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020 that requires 35% of new cars and light trucks sold in California to have zero emissions from 2026 onwards. It will increase to 68% in 2030 and to 100% in 2035 The plan allows 20% of new sales to be plug-in hybrids.

According to California air pollution regulators, the rule will eliminate 384 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions between 2026 and 2040 – more than the state emitted from all sources in 2019. “These emission reductions will help stabilize the climate and reduce the risk of severe droughts and wildfires and the resulting fine particulate pollution.” it says in the state plan.

Joy & Despair

Environmental groups were divided on the plan. Don Anair, deputy director of the clean transportation program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the measure has been improved over an earlier draft, calling it the “most important climate decision” the California Air Resources Department will make this year.

But Scott Hochberg, a transportation lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity, accused California of taking “a slow road” and called in a statement to the state to end sales of gas-powered vehicles five years earlier, by 2030. “Time is running out , before the world as we know it disappears in hindsight. To protect humans and the planet, California needs to rid our streets of exhaust pollution as soon as possible, ”Hochberg said.

Sperling notes that there will be several challenges, including building an appropriate number of charging stations and persuading consumers to buy electric cars. He said the last 20 to 30% would be the hardest part of the transition and would most likely require new policies and incentives.

“We can not get people vaccinated. Why do we think we can get them to buy an electric car? What this means is that we need to be creative in making these vehicles attractive and compelling to consumers, even beyond and beyond its inherent characteristics, ”said Sperling. Times.

Takeaway

If you are a regular reader of CleanTechnica, you are probably an enthusiastic supporter of this new CARB policy, but there are definitely challenges ahead. We have heard for a decade that the prices of electric cars would fall as economies of scale take hold, but the prices of new electric cars are rising instead. In addition, the prices of raw materials for the production of batteries are rising, and supply chain problems make new electric cars difficult to find. To make matters worse, many car dealers take advantage of the lack of hollowing out customers with absurd “market adjustments” surcharges on the label price of which cars are available.

As proactive as California is, other states are digging in their heels to slow down the EV revolution, like Oklahoma, which is considering legislation banning not only online sales but also wireless updates. It’s hard to believe there’s so much stupidity in the world, but Oklahoma gave us the despicable Scott Pruitt, who should tell you everything you need to know about the average intelligence of voters in Sooner State.

Daniel Sperling is right. If people would rather die than be vaccinated (and many have), the likelihood that appealing to reason will move the needle on public acceptance of electric cars is quite small. Any professional salesperson will tell you that the three most important words in sales are “Price, price, price.” Once people see the value proposition swing solidly in favor of electric cars, there will be a rush for electric cars. (Widespread availability of public chargers will also help.)

Policies are important, but affordable electric cars are what the world needs most. That and car dealers who do not stand in the way of progress in promoting regressive policies such as those imposed on the public by the Oklahoma legislature. Some degree of common sense would also be of great help.

 

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