ORIGINAL REPORTING: Can California hit 1.5M zero-emission vehicles by 2025?
Can California hit 1.5M zero-emission vehicles by 2025? The state is lagging on Gov. Brown's ambitious ZEV goal, but investment in chargers and customer education could build more market momentum
Herman K. Trabish, April 27, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Since this story ran, California has added to its momentum and utilities across the country are waking up to the opportunity in transportation electrification.
California officials say it will be a challenge to meet the state’s 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2025 goal. It now has almost 300,000 ZEVs on its roads and over 20 models in the marketplace. A number of state and private programs target expanding those numbers over the next eight years. California’s three dominant electric investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will spend $197 million on vehicle charging pilots already approved by the Public Utilities Commission, and some $1 billion of additional investments are currently under review. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will also put $800 million into electric vehicle charging infrastructure from the settlement of Volkswagen’s diesel engine emissions scandal. That is in addition to CARB’s $17 million to $20 million yearly to support electrification.
Those investments make California officials confident they are setting the groundwork to meet the ambitious ZEV goal. But encouraging consumer adoption is proving more difficult. Fewer than 3% of the vehicles registered in California in 2016 were ZEVs and only 67,000 ZEVs were sold nationally in 2015. That lack of market momentum makes meeting state and national transportation electrification goals a steep challenge, but automakers and their regulators say they are committed. The Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Collaborative, which includes transport stakeholders from GM to Tesla, launched Veloz in early 2017. It is a statewide education campaign to increase customer knowledge of EVs. Whether that and other efforts are successful, however, will likely depend on whether California can address key barriers to EV adoption — customer education, infrastructure, cost, and the state’s regulations… click here for more