SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGTV) — California took a historic step Thursday to make a dent in our state’s climate goals. The state voted to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.
This means that new cars must be zero-emission vehicles, i.e. electric or hydrogen.
But there are concerns about how this will be achieved. This includes the availability of charging stations, if the electricity grid can manage it, and the cost of electric vehicles.
An energy expert says our state has been a leader in decarbonizing the electric grid and renewable energy. He says the move should be a win-win for everyone. But there are challenges and things that still need to be ironed out, like making sure we have enough charging stations to meet our targets.
Jae Kim, a professor at USD, says California is leading the way for other states.
“I don’t see any other way, we have to make this transition,” he shares.
“So that’s a very difficult question to answer,” he shares. “In terms of actual physical load, yes, we can handle the load. The question is, when will people be charging their vehicles? If everyone is charging at the same time, then yes, no network will be ready for that. But if they load it in a more organized and predictable way, we can schedule it to make sure it works properly.”
The other hurdle is making sure that with all these new vehicles, there’s somewhere to charge up.
“Distance anxiety is a real problem,” he explains. “For electric vehicles, there are not enough charging stations.”
Kim adds, “It’s kind of like a chicken and egg problem. If you’re an EV charger supplier, you’re not going to invest in something that has a small market base, you need more EVs to be able to build great EVs. load structure. »
By 2026, automakers will need at least 35% of their cars and trucks to be fully electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell.
This will increase by 8% every year until 2030, and by 6% until 2035.
“No automaker will try to make two different vehicles for the United States,” Kim shares. “Whatever the California standards are, they will match these because they will be stricter than anywhere else.”
The other concern is where we will gather the materials to create these electric vehicles. Kim says sourcing plans are yet to be seen.
“They’re produced in countries that don’t have such stringent environmental regulations. So to reduce our emissions in the United States, are we just polluting other places around the world?” Kim asks.
The council recognizes that it does not have all the answers. They plan to reassess certain aspects of this proposal on an annual and triennial basis.
Now, people who currently own gas-powered vehicles won’t have to give them up by 2035. Consumers can also still buy a used gas-powered vehicle.
Another challenge Kim says this regulation presents is getting consumers to want to buy electric vehicles.
“Asking consumers to give up their convenience of going to any gas station where they want to fill up their car, now they’re looking at where the charging area is, is it going to be available for me and at what price? he explains. “These are, you’re kind of putting an extra burden on the consumer, are they going to be ready for this transition?”
According to the California Air Resources Board, more than 16% of new car sales in California are electric cars.
But there is skepticism about whether or not people want that number to increase.
“I think the challenge is going to be convincing the consumer, you and me, to make this change as soon as possible. And I think that’s going to be easier and easier with falling costs as more and more people buy them.”
Currently, four more states, Washington, Vermont, Oregon and Massachusetts plan to adopt this plan by the end of this year.
Kim thinks the biggest incentive is having electric vehicles at a good price. But even offering these discounts poses a challenge.
“For a regular sedan it’s around 55,000, so anything over 55,000 you don’t get the incentive, and I think for trucks and SUVs it’s 80,000,” he explains. he. “And there are also income caps, so if you earn above a certain amount, you don’t get the grants either.”
The Council predicts that by 2025, automakers will offer 179 zero-emission options and buyers will save up to $7,500 in the first ten years of electric vehicle ownership.
“A lot of these things are going to take time for people to educate themselves etc,” Kim shares. “But with the current trend, electric vehicles will be competitive even without these incentives.”
The next step is for the council to submit this proposal to the Environmental Protection Agency for federal approval.