California is moving forward with a sweeping plan to require electric vehicles to make up 100% of new car sales by 2035.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) held the first of two hearings on June 9 to review and receive public comment on the proposed Advanced Clean Cars II rule. The board is expected to finalize the rule by the end of the year.
“The regulations are designed to ensure that consumers can successfully replace their traditional combustion vehicles with new or used ZEVs and simple hybrids that both meet their transportation needs and protect the program’s fuel efficiency benefits. ’emissions,” CARB President Liane M. Randolph said in comments at the start of the meeting.
California’s move is considered a monumental step, in part because of the size of the state’s auto market and the commitment of a dozen other states to follow in the Golden State’s footsteps. And unlike a recent executive order from Governor Gavin Newsom also aiming to achieve 100% new electric vehicle sales by 2035, CARB’s action is binding and has the regulatory legal clout to effect change.
In his comments to the board, Steve Douglas, Vice President for Energy and Environment of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, called the proposed regulations “the most radical and transformative regulations in the history of our industry. there is no doubt. They will have a huge effect on the US economy.
The proposed regulations follow an earlier zero-emission vehicle standard adopted by CARB in 2012, and a similar regulation adopted two years ago to require heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses to go electric. by 2045.
The requirement that sales of new cars and light trucks be 100% zero emissions by 2035 is proposed as a phased plan, so that by 2026 sales of new electric vehicles should be 35% of state auto market, about double the current 16%. .
The proposed rule includes a number of requirements related to incentives and car details regarding battery range and even charging capabilities.
“These percentages keep automakers on a strict, but achievable, path toward the 100% requirement not just in California, but in states that choose to follow California regulations,” said team member Anna Wong. of the CARB which is developing the new regulations.
“California would be the first and largest vehicle market to require 100% electric vehicle sales anywhere in the world,” she added.
During hours of virtual and in-person testimony at CARB headquarters in Sacramento, proponents of the requirement spoke of the air quality improvements such a transition would lead to and the major step it would take. reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A transition to electric cars is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 50% by 2040, CARB officials say. Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in California.
Kim Floyd, 79, a resident of Palm Desert in the Coachella Valley, remarked on the “smog alert” the area is currently experiencing.
“This smog alert is largely the result of heavy traffic on our local roads and emissions from the Los Angeles Basin,” Floyd said. “Climate change is making our air quality worse every day and we need to strengthen, not weaken, the requirements for the sale of zero-emission vehicles.”
Major automakers like General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen have already outlined plans to phase out gas-powered cars and announced major investments in research, development, battery production and retooling of assembly plants to manufacture electric vehicles. Small auto companies, however, say the new rule could make it difficult to do business in California.
The new regulations would be “incredibly difficult” for a small company like Mazda, said Kevin Curley, vehicle emissions, certification and compliance manager for Mazda’s North American operations.
And that would have ripple effects across the entire automotive ecosystem, said Douglas of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation.
“The success of these regulations, as you have heard, depends on much more than these regulations,” Douglas told CARB.
“It depends on more than the vehicles produced from them. Success will require tackling charging and refueling infrastructure, vehicle and fuel costs, critical minerals and supply chain labor, and education customers,” he added, describing California’s transition to an all-electric future as “incredibly aggressive.”
“To be clear though, from an industry perspective, electrification is our goal,” Douglas said. “We will work to accommodate whatever you adopt, but again, they are extremely difficult, even in California, and in some states they may not be possible.”