EXPLAINER: California EV requirements face some obstacles

Aug 25, 2022, 2:26 AM | Updated: 2:28 pm

Cars are parked at an electric charging station in San Francisco, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. Californ...

Cars are parked at an electric charging station in San Francisco, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. California is poised to required 100% of new cars, trucks and SUVs sold in the state to be powered by electricity or hydrogen by 2035. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

DETROIT (AP) — California will require all new cars, trucks and SUVs sold in the state to run on electricity or hydrogen by 2035 in an ambitious move away from gasoline-powered vehicles and the pollution they emit.

The requirements come in phases starting in 2026, and it will take 13 years for them become fully effective. But there are many challenges to meeting them.

EVs now cost substantially more than gas-powered vehicles. There are shortages of precious metals needed for their batteries. The U.S. has little battery manufacturing capacity.

But a lot can change in 13 years. Here’s what we know about the problem areas and what’s being done about them:



More than likely. During the first half of this year, electric vehicle sales accounted for about 15% of California’s new vehicle market. New vehicle sales in the state normally run around 2 million per year. That’s roughly a 1.5 million difference that has to be made up by 2035. But almost every day, automakers are announcing new EV models, battery factories and assembly plants. Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Hyundai-Kia, Stellantis and VinFast have announced plans for 10 U.S. battery plants.

“New plants are coming in and old plants are being converted,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of AutoForecast Solutions. “The plans are in place for a large amount of vehicles being ready for the U.S. and global markets.”

The big ifs, though, are whether there will be enough precious metals, such as lithium, to make the batteries, and whether EV prices will come down quickly enough. Laurie Holmes, senior manager of government affairs for Kia, told California officials Thursday that the industry could have difficulty meeting sales targets. She urged the state to support incentives for consumers to buy EVs and to help build out a charging system.



The California Energy Commission expects electric vehicles to add only a small amount of power use in the next 10 years. The commission estimates that 3.7 million light-duty electric vehicles will be in use in the state in 2030, and they will account for only about 2.6% of electricity use during peak hours. David Reichmuth, a senior engineer for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said EV charging can be timed to off-peak hours, especially during the day when wind and solar power are more available. Utilities will be able to send messages to cars to start or stop charging depending on electricity demand, he said.



That’s possible, although prices are coming down, and they are expected to get lower as costs are spread out among more vehicles and new battery chemistries are developed that don’t use many expensive precious metals. Currently most U.S. EVs are targeted at higher-income luxury or pickup-truck buyers and start at $40,000 or more, beyond the reach of many. But prices are starting to come down. For instance, General Motors says it will offer a small Chevrolet SUV with a starting price tag of around $30,000 that’s expected to get close to 300 miles (500 kilometers) per charge. The federal government next year will offer $7,500 tax credits for EVs made in North America, bringing purchase prices down. And California is offering cash, rebates and special financing for low-income buyers. Also, EV buyers will save on fuel and maintenance costs.



Multiple studies, including some by the Massachussets Institute of Technology, say yes. While there is pollution from mining, EVs are so much cleaner than gas vehicles on the road that it only takes a short time for them to make up for the mining. A study released this summer by the Union of Concerned Scientists looked at lifetime emissions, including the manufacturing process.

“Altogether, the lifetime emissions for an electric car or and electric pickup are less than half that of a gasoline vehicle,” Reichmuth said. The gap between gas and electric will grow as more electricity comes from renewable sources such as wind and solar, he said.

“There’s nothing that we’re going to do when it comes to aggressively promoting electrification that will be worse for the planet than burning fossil fuels,” said Margo Oge, chair of the International Council for Clean Transportation and a former top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official.



Currently 17 other states have adopted California’s greenhouse gas emissions requirements, most on the coasts. In total they account for about 40% of all U.S. new vehicle sales. The state of Washington has already started the process to follow the EV sales requirements, and others are expected to. It will take the other states longer to go through the process, and many don’t have the electric vehicle demand or charging infrastructure that California does.


Ronayne reported from Sacramento, California.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Eugene and Linda Lamie, of Homerville, Ga., sit by the grave of their son U.S. Army Sgt. Gene Lamie...

Associated Press

Biden on Memorial Day lauds generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who died fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

16 hours ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI gestures while speaking at Un...

Associated Press

ChatGPT maker downplays fears they could leave Europe over AI rules

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Friday downplayed worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union

2 days ago

File - Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, left, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman arrive to the White House for a ...

Associated Press

Regulators take aim at AI to protect consumers and workers

As concerns grow over increasingly powerful artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT, the nation’s financial watchdog says it’s working to ensure that companies follow the law when they’re using AI.

4 days ago

FILE - A security surveillance camera is seen near the Microsoft office building in Beijing, July 2...

Associated Press

Microsoft: State-sponsored Chinese hackers could be laying groundwork for disruption

State-backed Chinese hackers have been targeting U.S. critical infrastructure and could be laying the technical groundwork for the potential disruption of critical communications between the U.S. and Asia during future crises, Microsoft said Wednesday.

5 days ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, May 17, 2023, in Washington....

Associated Press

White House unveils new efforts to guide federal research of AI

The White House on Tuesday announced new efforts to guide federally backed research on artificial intelligence

6 days ago

FILE - The Capitol stands in Washington D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED...

Associated Press

What it would mean for the economy if the US defaults on its debt

If the debt crisis roiling Washington were eventually to send the United States crashing into recession, America’s economy would hardly sink alone.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

EXPLAINER: California EV requirements face some obstacles