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.