05 September 2022
California has approved a policy that will require nearly all new vehicles sold in the state to be electric by the year 2035.
California Governor Gavin Newsom first announced the proposed policy in September 2020. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted last week to officially approve the new rules.
The policy requires 100 percent of new sales of cars, trucks and SUVs to be powered by electricity or hydrogen by 2035. It permits one-fifth of new vehicle sales to be hybrids.
The policy does not ban the use of gas-powered cars or the sale of used ones.
If the new rules work as designed, California would cut vehicle emissions in half by 2040. The state's emissions rules are already stronger than national requirements.
Experts say the policy will require at least 15 times more vehicle chargers than are currently available in the state. The policy will also need to be supported by a more powerful energy grid. And there will need to be electric vehicles that people of all income levels can buy.
"It's going to be very hard getting to 100 percent," said Daniel Sperling. He is a board member and director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. "You can't just wave your wand, you can't just adopt a regulation — people actually have to buy them and use them," Sperling told The Associated Press.
Liane Randolph is the chairwoman of CARB. She called the approval of the policy "a historic moment for California." Randolph added that she thinks the rules can serve as a model for other American states and countries across the world.
CARB has estimated that by 2030, there will be 2.9 million fewer new gas-powered vehicles sold. The reductions are expected to reach 9.5 million by 2035.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently working on the next set of emissions limits through at least 2030. At least 17 U.S. states have agreed to enact California's emissions rules. Fifteen states have backed California's zero-emission vehicle requirements.
California has about 80,000 public chargers. The California Energy Commission has estimated that number needs to jump to 1.2 million by 2030.
The commission says car charging will account for about 4 percent of energy by 2030 when use is highest, usually during hot summer evenings. That is when California sometimes struggles to provide enough energy because the amount of sun power reduces in the evening.
Ram Rajagopal is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University. He has studied car charging behaviors and energy needs in California. He told the AP that more than 1 million people drive electric cars in California. Most of them charge their cars in the evening or overnight. If this continues under the new policy, the state would need to add more energy capacity overnight to meet demand, Rajagopal said.
But, he added, if more people charged their cars during the day, that problem could be avoided. Changing to daytime charging, he said, is "the biggest bang for the buck you're going to get."
I'm Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press and Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
hybrid – n. a vehicle that can run on either gasoline or electricity
emission – n. the act of producing or sending out something (such as energy or gas) from a source
charger – n. a device used to charge batteries
income – n. the amount of money earned by an individual or a company
wand – n.n stick waved by a person performing magic tricks
adopt – v. to accept or start something new
capacity – n. the largest amount that something can hold
bang for the buck – phr. a valuable return for your money