Green for Green: California Governor Outlines $2.5 Billion Electric Vehicle Push

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

If California’s Jerry Brown is known for anything, it’s for continuing his familial legacy of governing the region for a weirdly long period of time and pressing for the proliferation of electric vehicles. While not all of the state’s EV initiatives have gone without a hitch (the LAPD’s unused fleet of battery powered BMWs springs to mind), Brown remains essential in keeping his neck of the woods on the forefront of alternative energy adoption.

Currently, California plans to place five million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030. The state previously set a target of 1.5 million ZEVs by 2025. That’s a massive increase, especially considering California only has about 350,000 examples currently plying its roads. Don’t worry, Brown has a plan to stimulate sales: $200 million worth of subsidies per year for the next eight years.

The remaining money in the state’s $2.5 billion plan would go toward bolstering California’s EV infrastructure. Brown wants to see 250,000 electric vehicle charging stations and 200 hydrogen fueling stations as soon as possible. That equates to about 18 times as many EV ports and six times as many hydrogen pumps than the state currently has.

Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board and perpetually ally for the cause, told The Detroit News that reaching the goal will mean 40 percent of vehicles sold in 2030 must be “clean.”

“We think that’s a very reasonable proposal,” Nichols said. “It’s not a stretch.”

California has already made strides in improving its air quality. Pursuing alternative energies helped the state substitute dirtier power plants with wind, solar and hydroelectricity. However, fixing vehicle-based emissions has been an uphill battle. In fact, it’s worse now than it has ever been, and California still wants to drop greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. That’s not going to happen if people keep buying internal combustion SUVs and the trucking industry keeps on truckin’ with diesel.

Thus far, consumers in California have been among the most likely to consider vehicles with alternative fuel sources. But they still aren’t chomping at the bit. Brown says that’s okay, as he feels shoppers will begin favoring EVs as they become more prevalent on roadways and people become better informed on how they work.

Still, he’ll need to convince more than just consumers — the $2.5 billion in spending needs legislative approval if it’s to become a reality. Brown suggests the state use money from an array of existing programs at the California Energy Commission, plus cap-and-trade programs, which limit pollution levels and auctions off permits to exceed them.

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Jthorner Jthorner on Jan 30, 2018

    The OP said: "However, fixing vehicle-based emissions has been an uphill battle. In fact, it’s worse now than it has ever been" What is the basis for that assertion? I find it very hard to believe that vehicles based emissions are worse now in California than they were in the 1960s and 70s before any meaningful emissions controls.

    • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Jan 30, 2018

      "What is the basis for that assertion?" Because they're counting CO2 as a pollutant. The trace gas that, were it to disappear, would end all human life on earth. Declaring CO2 a pollutant is a leftist totalitarian wet dream. Your very existence, with every breath you take, is destroying the planet. Don't say I didn't warn you when the "single payer" health care system euthanizes you at the age of 60 to "save the planet." . .

  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Jan 31, 2018

    Hydrogen? They're still greenwashing that wasteful experiment?

  • Jkross22 Nope. Too expensive, too little wear. Besides, there are so many great all seasons that are great to use that last longer, the use case for summer tires has gotten smaller.
  • Redapple2 I love my geolander by yokohama. Wild Peak are almost as good.
  • Redapple2 Why is a mexico BYD china car BAD -End of the World! But > gm < Buick Envision good (build more !) ?
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Supporting EVs is supporting Chi-nah.
  • Eliyahu Oh, a nicer looking 2025 Camry!