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California Governor Jerry Brown’s New 5 Million Zero Emission Vehicles Goal

In March 2012, Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order establishing a goal of 1.5 million zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roads by 2025 (Executive Order B-16-12). A recent think-tank report concluded that California is on track to reach that goal.

On January 26, 2018, however, the Governor established a new target of 5 million ZEVs on California roads by 2030. That new target and associated initiatives are included in Executive Order B-48-18.


Executive Order B-16-12 (March 2012)

In addition to the Governor’s 2025 ZEV goal, Executive Order B-16-12 set forth additional initiatives, including:


  • •By 2015, all major cities in California will have adequate infrastructure and be ‘zero-emission vehicle ready’;


  • By 2020, the state will have established adequate infrastructure to support 1 million zero-emission vehicles in California;…


  • By 2050, virtually all personal transportation in the State will be based on zero-emission vehicles, and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector will be reduced by 80 percent below 1990 levels.


Next 10—The Road Ahead for Zero-Emission Vehicles in California:


Market Trends & Policy Analysis

Next 10 is an Oakland-based independent, nonpartisan think tank. In January 2018, it released a report entitled “Next 10 – The Road Ahead for Zero-Emission Vehicles in California: Market Trends & Policy Analysis.” The report is an in-depth analysis of California’s ZEV market, including historic sales, costs, technology trends, forecasts and challenges, with a special focus on the Governor’s 2025 ZEV goal set forth in Executive Order B-16-12. The report concludes that California is on track to reach the Governor’s 2025 ZEV goal.

According to the report, when the Governor’s 2025 ZEV goal was set, California needed to average 35.5 percent annual growth in ZEV sales from 2013 to 2025. However, due to increased ZEV sales between the issuance of Executive Order B-16-12 and January 2018, the annual growth required to meet the Governor’s 2025 ZEV goal has dropped to 20 percent and the report’s projection is that the goal will likely be reached before 2025. The report pointed out a number of reasons for the positive trend in ZEV sales:


  • •Lower Battery Price: A drop of 74 percent in the average battery cost per kilowatt-hour from 2010-2016.


  • Performance: Battery range has improved, leading to more total miles on a full charge.


  • More car choices: 150 different plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles are available worldwide, and over 240 choices are expected by 2021.


  • Infrastructure: From 2011 to 2016, the number of charging stations for electric vehicles increased by 1,138 percent in the U.S. California, however, has one of the lowest ratios of charging outlets per electric vehicle in the country.


  • Charging time: Tesla ZEVs can recharge to 80 percent of their total mileage capacity in 20 to 40 minutes while many ZEVs can obtain a full charge in three to four hours.


  • Maintenance: ZEVs require significantly less maintenance.


The report notes that more needs to be done to keep the state of California on track. For example, automakers are still losing money on ZEVs and dealers have less incentive to sell ZEVs due to their low maintenance costs. In addition, although the lack of infrastructure does not appear to have dampened recent sales, the report opines that mass adoption will require people of all income levels and in different residence types to be able to easily and cost-effectively charge their vehicles.


Executive Order B-48-18 (January 2018)

Executive Order B-48-18 bumped up the Governor’s ZEV goal to 5 million ZEVs on California roads by 2030. Executive Order B-48-18 also included the following initiatives:


  • *Infrastructure: The Governor ordered state entities to work with the private sector and all appropriate levels of government to spur the construction and installation of 200 hydrogen fueling stations and 250,000 chargers, including 10,000 direct current fast chargers, by 2025.


  • Streamlining: The Governor ordered all state entities to continue efforts to streamline the infrastructure installation processes wherever possible.


  • Affordability: The Governor ordered all state entities to support and recommend policies and actions that make it easier for people to install electric vehicle chargers in their homes and businesses and also ensure that ZEV charging and refueling options are affordable and more accessible to all drivers.


The Governor also announced a new ZEV initiative that would provide a total of $2.5 billion over eight years. From that 2.5 billion, the initiative would allocate $235 million to accelerate investments in the statewide network of ZEV charging and refueling stations and $200 million, annually through 2025, for rebates to California residents for the purchase or lease of new ZEVs and plug-in hybrids.


Conclusion and Implications

In Executive Order B-48-18, Governor Brown noted that:

. . .the transportation sector still emits 50 percent of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions and 80 percent of the smog-forming oxides of nitrogen.

Governor Brown’s order to all state entities to “work with the private sector and all appropriate levels of government to put at least 5 million” ZEVs on California roads by 2030 is aimed at this problem and is supported by additional orders to increase necessary infrastructure and to provide funding to the California car-buying public. These steps may lead to mass adoption of ZEVs in the coming decade and further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

(Kathryn Casey)