California’s plan aims to triple electric vehicle sales by 2026

Sacramento, Calif. (AP) – The state of California wants to triple electric vehicle sales in the next four years to 35% of all new car purchases, a strict target set as part of a goal to phase out the sale of gas-powered cars by the mid-decade company. next.

The California Air Resources Board’s proposal would raise sales of new electric, hydrogen-powered, or plug-in hybrid vehicles to 100% by 2035. About 11% of all new passenger vehicle sales occur nationwide in California, giving the state significant importance Impact on the auto market. Californians will still be allowed to drive gas-powered cars and sell used cars, meaning that greenhouse emissions will still be emitted from the state’s roads.

The hoped-for increase in electric vehicle sales will also require a significant increase in charging stations. California has set a goal of 250,000 charging stations by 2025, and now fewer than 80,000 are in public spaces or in parking lots in office buildings, apartment buildings, and other common spaces. The California Energy Commission last year approved spending $314 million over three years for passenger car charging stations, and Newsom added more in his proposed state budget.

The release begins a months-long government review process and the plan requires approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The country is unlikely to encounter resistance from the Democratic White House. The Biden administration recently restored California’s authority to set its own vehicle emissions standards under the Clean Air Act and the president committed $5 billion to build more charging stations across the country.

A group representing the auto industry said meeting the requirements would be “extremely difficult”.

Passenger cars contribute about a quarter of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions — more than any other single source, according to the Air Council. The program is part of California’s efforts to significantly reduce carbon emissions. Between 2026 and 2040, country experts estimate that the program will reduce emissions by about 384 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. That’s just under all emissions across California’s economy in one year.

Elsewhere, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a law last month setting a goal that all new cars in the state be electric by 2030, but regulators have until the end of 2023 to say how the state will get there.

California rules require 35% of new car sales for 2026 to be zero-emissions vehicles, including batteries or hydrogen, or electric hybrids. That’s a sharp increase from 2021, when about 12% of all cars sold in the state were zero-emissions, according to the Air Panel. About 1 million of the 26 million cars currently on California’s roads are emissions-free.

This requirement rises to as much as 100% of all new sales by 2035. As much as 20% of sales by 2035 could be hybrid vehicles with a mixture of battery and gas, although regulations reinforce the extent to which they must These cars are able to travel using battery power alone.

Automakers including Ford and Toyota referred it to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation for a statement on the proposal. The group says the industry is “committed to electrification and a carbon-neutral transportation future” but has raised questions about the surge in sales of sought-after zero-emissions cars.

“Automakers will certainly meet whatever standards are eventually adopted, but this draft would be very difficult even in California and may not be achievable in all states that currently have the California program,” the group said.

Nine states follow California’s current zero-emissions vehicle rules, which outline the rules through model year 2025, and five states plan to join in the coming years. If the federal government approves California’s new plan, other states will have to decide whether to follow suit. New York also aims to phase out gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

Regulations also require electric vehicles to travel at least 150 miles (241 kilometers) per charge, up from 50 miles (80 kilometers), although most manufacturers exceed this. They put a warranty on the battery for eight years or 100,000 miles (161,000 km).

All 17 automakers selling in California will be required to reach the 35% sales mark. But there is room for maneuver. Current California electric vehicle standards allow companies to provide credits if they sell a higher percentage of electric vehicles than required, and these credits can later be used to meet sales targets.

Companies can also make deals with each other to account for each other’s sales as their own. State officials have said that electric car maker Tesla has made such deals with several automakers in the past.

Some environmental groups have said the state should set a stricter schedule, arguing that heavily polluted communities cannot wait, and making it easier for low-income people to buy electric cars.

“There is no excuse for California to take the slow road toward an all-electric future when we hit the gas pump and face droughts and epic wildfires,” said Scott Hochberg, transportation attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. .

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Reporter Tom Krecher contributed to the Associated Press in Detroit.