California moved a step closer to banning the sale of gasoline-only vehicles by the year 2035, in a landmark move in the state’s attempt to take on climate change.
Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, announced the plan to phase out the sale of vehicles running solely on gasoline in September 2020, and this week the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted to approve the new rules.
The plan involves year rising zero-emission vehicle rules beginning in 2026, but requires the approval of the Biden administration before it goes into effect.
By 2026, 35% of new vehicles sold in California must be electric, hybrid or hydrogen-powered. That figure must rise to 68% by 2030 and then 100% by 2035, under the rules.
More than one million electric and hybrid vehicles have been sold in California to date, according to the state’s Energy Commission. In the first half of this year, around 15% of new vehicles were electric models, a rise from 9.5% in 2021, numbers from the California New Car Dealers Association revealed.
“This is a historic moment for California, for our partner states and for the world as we set forth a path toward a zero emission future,” CARB Chair Liane Randolph said.
Unsurprisingly, electric vehicle manufacturers welcomed the decision. Joseph Mendelson, senior counsel at Tesla, said the plan was “both achievable and paves the way for California to lead in electrifying the light duty sector.”
The major automakers also appear happy with the ruling. Last year General Motors said it aimed to sell only electric vehicles by 2035.Steve Douglas, vice president at the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade association representing VOlskwagen, General Motors and Toyota, told Reuters the new rules “are the most sweeping and transformative regulations in the history of the automobile.”
But achieving the goal set by California will still be tricky. Mass production of affordable electric cars requires a complete rethink of supply chains and engineering. Major automakers are frantically attempting to secure deals with mining companies and other suppliers to ensure they can meet the rising demand for battery materials.