Tesla Model S 100D
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Only Zero-Emission Vehicles To Be Sold in California by 2035

We need to clear the air about this issue.

The California Air Resources Board — which is charged with protecting the public from the harmful effects of air pollution and developing programs and actions to fight climate change — approved a stringent rule which requires that 100 percent of the sales of new cars, sport utility vehicles, and small pickup trucks in the state of California to be zero-emission vehicles by the year 2035, with interim targets that are designed to facilitate the phasing out of cars which require gasoline and diesel fuel.

Only Zero-Emission Vehicles To Be Sold in California by 2035

The following statement was issued from the official Internet web site of the office of Gavin Newsom — who is the current governor of the state of California — on Thursday, August 25, 2022:

“We can solve this climate crisis if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to cut pollution. California now has a groundbreaking, world-leading plan to achieve 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.

“This plan’s yearly targets — 35 percent ZEV sales by 2026, 68 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2035 — provide our roadmap to reducing dangerous carbon emissions and moving away from fossil fuels. That’s 915 million oil barrels’ worth of emissions that won’t pollute our communities.

“With the historic $10 billion we’re investing to accelerate the transition to ZEVs, we’re making it easier and cheaper for all Californians to purchase electric cars. California will continue to lead the revolution towards our zero-emission transportation future.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 was when Newsom signed an order whose purpose is to end the sale of new cars that are equipped with new internal combustion engine cars in California by 2035. The controversial issue has polarized political parties, as Newsom has reportedly blamed climate change for the historic wildfires — which have consumed greater than 3.6 million acres around the state in 2022 alone — while some members of the Republican Party have pushed for better forest management practices. Newsom is a member of the Democratic Party.

Approximately 156,000 electric cars were sold in California in 2019.

The aforementioned interim quotas for focusing on zero-emission vehicles as new models would increase each year — as the following percentages of new cars, sport utility vehicles, and small pickup trucks sold in California would be required to be zero-emission vehicles:

  • 35 percent in 2026
  • 51 percent by 2028
  • 68 percent by 2030
  • 100 percent by 2035

The quotas also would allow 20 percent of zero-emission cars sold to be plug-in hybrids; and the rules would not impact used vehicles, which will be permitted to stay on the roads as consumers would still be able to purchase used vehicles powered by internal combustion engines in California.

Not only is the measure considered to be a historic one in the United States; but it also would be one of the first of such bans of cars powered by gasoline and diesel engines worldwide. Because the economy of the state of California is significant in the United States, 15 states have decided to follow the previous zero-emission vehicle regulations of California. Other agencies within the state of California will be directed to help create charging stations for zero-emission vehicles so that they can approach the ubiquitousness of gasoline stations; and the order will also mandate medium-duty trucks and heavy-duty trucks to be zero-emission by 2045 where feasible.

Moreover, members of the assembly of the European Union voted back in June of 2022 to require manufacturers of automobiles to cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 100 percent by 2035 — meaning that the sale of new cars which are powered by gasoline or diesel engines may be banned by all 27 countries which are members of the European Union. A reduction in carbon dioxide by 55 percent from automobiles in 2030 compared with 2021 was endorsed. The move deepens an existing obligation on the automobile industry to reduce discharges of carbon dioxide by 37.5 percent on average at the end of the decade compared to last year.

Final Boarding Call

The acronym for California Air Resources Board is CARB. Get it?

Although the range of miles of electric vehicles between refueling has been increasingly improving — to the point where it is approaching that of vehicles powered by gasoline — that range is still not there yet…

…and although more charging stations for electric vehicles exist, they are currently still not as ubiquitous as gasoline stations.

I really like the idea of electric vehicles — recharging the battery while sleeping overnight for supposedly a fraction of the cost of a full tank of gasoline is appealing to me; and not polluting the air when they are in use…

…but I always say that for every problem which is supposedly solved, a new problem emerges.

The main goal of the order is to reduce the emissions of personal motor vehicles — greenhouse gas emissions are forecast to be reduced by 35 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent as a result — which many scientists claim contributes to the global change in climate. That goal will technically be achieved with electric cars and other zero emissions vehicles…

…but will the carbon footprint of the manufacture of zero-emission vehicles also be reduced? After all, what type of energy is going to power the factories in the future? How will used batteries which have reached the end of their life span be disposed or recycled? What about other ancillary effects that may be involved in the manufacture of zero-emission vehicles?

Also, how much more money will zero-emission vehicles cost to purchase and operate than their combustion engine contemporaries? Will people be able to afford vehicles with the new technology?

Thirteen years is not a very long time to resolve the significant issues as a result of the switch to personal vehicles with zero emissions…

Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

  1. I’d seriously look into getting an EV car but having to waiting around for a minimum of 20min to “fill up”? That’s got to improve before I buy one

    1. You could charge up the electric vehicle in less time with an accelerated charge, patrick — but then, you may risk degrading or shortening the life of the battery.

  2. The same week, California requested residents to not charge electric vehicles in the PM hours because the grid (which is mostly powered by fossil fuels) can’t handle it. I suspect the grid won’t be able to handle it by 2035 since charging EV uses as much if not more juice than running an AC that cools an entire residence.

  3. Even if the price of EVs decrease, it will still represent a significant increase in car prices. People still survive, though, in countries with high car prices, like Norway, Denmark, and Singapore.

    Much of my current driving can be done with an EV but not all. EVs work well if you have a home garage and come home nightly.

  4. California went off the rails years ago and only continues to get worse. Unless every EV is charged every single time with electricity solely generated by nuclear, wind, solar, or hydroelectric, it’s still not “zero emission”.

    Not to mention that the manufacturing of such vehicles still involves the same factory emissions as internal combustion vehicles…and the rare earth elements used for EV batteries entails significant environmental impact as well as questionable labor practices in most of the source countries.

    Government dictating the market in such a drastic manner isn’t right, even if the intention is noble. EVs are growing in capability and demand, so let the market continue to sort out what customers not only want, but can afford.

    I predict this rule will be rescinded or modified in the not too distant future, perhaps due to lawsuits by manufacturers, dealers, and consumers.

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