California Pushes for Electric Vehicles
In a remarkable demonstration to advocate for climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, California announces that it plans to ban the selling of gas-powered vehicles by the year 2035. In my opinion, if there were a state here to make this type of proclamation, it would be California. They do sell the most electric vehicles in the United States. Sales are slightly under 10% of the state’s total vehicle sales, but it is still the highest in the US compared to about 2% nationwide. Even though they are the first state in the US to advocate for this type of change, they aren’t alone in this long-term plan. This goal is in solidarity with about 15 other countries that share similar goals, including England, Germany, and France, to name a few. At the same time, some companies here in the US are also aiming to lower their carbon footprint; for example, Amazon and Walmart.
As you may have noticed, more and more manufacturers are venturing into the electric vehicle sector. Whether it be some type of hybrid or full-on electric, we have seen more of them in the last several years, from domestic up to luxury vehicles. Be that as it may, California is still the nation’s leader in selling electric cars, making up about 10% of their total vehicle sales. Now, Governor Gavin Newsom did claim that this 15-year plan is a “goal” – a goal at aiming to battle climate change, and well, pollution. On the environmental side, it is a good ambition to have. We all want cleaner air, but I guess my question is, how doable is it? Or maybe Californians won’t have a choice, and in that regard, the same goes for dealers alike. While the interest in these vehicles is growing, it still has a long way to go. California has the market share on electric vehicles, so I guess it makes sense for them to be the first to announce a big change like this. Perhaps it’s the fact that I live on the East Coast that my experience is limited. Yes, they are sold here. Yes, there is a customer base here. Yes, more and more people are interested in switching to EVs. But the growth is slow-moving – at least from what I can tell. I think the most significant cause for concern for us is the availability and ease of charging stations. According to statista.com, as of March 2020, “The United States has about 78,500 charging outlets and almost 25,000 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles. Most of these can be found in California, with about 28,545 power outlets and 6,835 stations (Statista).” So yes, if anything, California is where it makes the most sense to spearhead this change. The fact that they also are the state with the worst pollution statistics and worst air quality.
So what does this mean? Will other states eventually follow? Will manufacturers up their EV game? How will these affect car sales in California? In other states? Will we see a rise in EV sales outside of California as a result? What about charging stations? Side note – this does not ban drivers from owning gas-powered vehicles or the selling of used cars. This is specifically targeted for new vehicle sales. Is this the future? And if so, what does that mean for us in the business? How feasible is this plan? The Governor has good intentions with this proposal but imagines the amount of electricity the state will eventually need. This will be a bigger problem during the summer when the heat goes over 100 degrees. That doesn’t include adding more charging stations as well. California has a long road ahead of them (and by a long road, I guess that means 15 years) to turn this proposal into a reality.