Last week, California Governor Gavin Newson leaned over the hood of a Ford Mustang Mach-E and signed an executive order saying that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state must be emission-free by 2035.
The new mandate doesn’t necessarily mean that California car dealers would, literally, sell nothing but fully electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles 15 years from now, several experts say.
That is the goal, though. And it’s not entirely out of the question, said Nick Albanese, a researcher with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“I think California’s target is ambitious, but feasible,” he wrote in an email. “Even before this announcement, we forecast passenger EVs to account for 52% of total US passenger vehicle sales in 2035 and 61% in 2040.”
Of course, there are many hurdles to overcome on the road to an emission-free auto market, including a widely available charging infrastructure, affordability, and lots of legal fine points.
With 15 years until the mandate goes into effect, there’s plenty of time for negotiation, and we will likely see Newsom’s goal softened or the deadline extended, said Chelsea Sexton, an analyst who covers the electric vehicle market.
“It will take a few years, literally, for this headline to be clarified,” she said.
Can California legally do this?
The federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency has already publicly challenged Newsom