California's electric vehicle sales reach record levels, exceeding state targets

Sales of zero-emission electric cars proceed to rise in California, putting the Golden State on a totally different path than the remainder of the country.

Nearly 24% of all recent cars sold Zero-emission electric vehicles, so-called ZEVs, were in use here in the primary three months of the 12 months, in response to recent data from the California Energy Commission.

By comparison, in response to the California New Car Dealers Association, which represents auto dealers, only 7.5 percent of cars sold nationwide were ZEVs.

“The transition to electric vehicles is well underway, with nearly one in four California car buyers choosing an electric vehicle last year, leading to record sales,” said David Hochschild, chairman of the California Energy Commission, in a press release. “This is good news for all Californians because our success is delivering cleaner air statewide and driving significant investment in our emerging zero-emission vehicle industry.”

EVs or ZEVs are battery-powered electric vehicles whose energy source doesn’t produce any emissions.

In the primary quarter of 2024 Californians bought 102,507 ZEVs. This is the best number for a primary quarter of a 12 months, in response to the California Energy Commission. Total sales also increased in comparison with the previous quarter.

For John W. Crittenden, a retired Los Altos attorney, convenience was a driving force in his decision to buy an electrical vehicle, but reducing his carbon footprint also played a job as he searched for a brand new vehicle.

“We wanted something with comfortable seats and good thigh and lumbar support, and that's hard to get unless you opt for a more expensive car,” said Crittenden, 67. After test-driving electric cars from Mercedes Benz, VW, Jaguar and Audi, Crittenden bought a blue Mercedes EQB 300 in May last 12 months. He liked it a lot that he and his wife needed to lease a second automobile 4 months later.

“We love our electric cars – they are quiet, fun to drive and cost little to nothing because they run on electricity from our solar panels,” he said. “We will never go back to gasoline-powered cars.”

While comfort and elegance were essential, the couple also thought concerning the environmental impact of shopping for one other petrol automobile. “It's so important,” he said. “You think, 'I've done so much damage to the environment and now I want to make amends.'”

Last week, California exceeded each its zero-emission truck and vehicle sales goals — two years ahead of schedule — and likewise exceeded its goal of putting in 10,000 electric vehicle fast chargers, greater than a 12 months ahead of schedule.

According to Governor Gavin Newsom's office, there are 60 ZEV manufacturers in California, including Lucid Motors in Newark. The success of the state's programs has led to ZEVs becoming a significant export and major strides being made in production and job creation.

Although Kelley Blue Book estimates that 1.2 million U.S. automobile buyers selected electric vehicles last 12 months, a record number, recent data from a nationwide AAA survey shows that interest in purchasing a ZEV is waning.

A chart from AAA's annual consumer survey on electric vehicles (EVs), April 4-8, indicating declining consumer interest in purchasing EVs.Only 18% of those surveyed nationwide said they were “likely” or “very likely” to purchase a used or recent electric vehicle, down from 23% present in the identical survey a 12 months earlier.

“Early adopters who wanted an electric vehicle already have one,” Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive research, said in a press release.

The survey, conducted in April, included greater than 1,100 interviews with American adults. According to AAA, the survey covers about 95 percent of the U.S. household population.

According to the survey, Americans are avoiding electric vehicles for several reasons, including the upper initial cost. Sixty percent of respondents said price was the only most significant reason for preferring gasoline-powered vehicles. Another reason was infrastructure: 54 percent of respondents said the shortage of suitable charging stations prevented them from purchasing an electrical vehicle. Maintenance costs also played a job: More than 57 percent of respondents said the fee of repairing or replacing the battery was a sticking point.

But within the Golden State, it's a distinct story, and it starts with the weather.

“Electric vehicles do very well in moderate temperatures,” says Brian Moody, an automotive industry analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “In very cold temperatures, well below freezing, cars take longer to charge and don't hold a charge as long.”

California can be making it easier to charge electric vehicles.

The California Energy Commission in April approved $1.9 billion to construct 40,000 recent public electric vehicle charging stations across the state, in addition to other ZEV infrastructure across California.

The investments are a part of Newsom's $10 billion budget for ZEVs, which shall be supplemented by billions of dollars in clean transportation spending from the Biden-Harris administration.

Over the past few a long time, California has continued to face significant pollution and climate problems. In fact, the state is home to seven of the ten worst ozone-polluted areas within the country and 6 of the ten worst particulate-polluted areas, in response to Newsom's office.

The state also faces increasing risks from record-breaking fires, heat waves, storm surges, sea level rise, water shortages and extreme heat. And these conditions are being exacerbated by climate change.

However, California has enacted emissions regulations to slow climate change and reduce pollution. Starting in 2035, the state's rules require all recent cars sold in California to be electric vehicles. In addition, the Clean Air Act allows the state to set motorcar emissions standards which are at the least as stringent as, or more stringent than, national standards, under an Environmental Protection Agency waiver, in response to the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund.

Last 12 months, California's regulations were challenged by oil and gas corporations and 17 Republican-led states that sought to disclaim the state the authority to set clear standards for cars guaranteed by federal law.

In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of the Clean Air Act provision that permits California to proceed setting its own clean automobile standards. Given the dimensions of the Golden State's economy, this might pave the way in which for other states to follow suit.

“The transition to clean vehicles is already here – the industry is heading there, major automakers are supporting our standards, and California is meeting its goals years ahead of schedule,” Newsom said in a press release. “We will not stop fighting to protect our communities from pollution and the climate crisis.”

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