California regulator sees 2035 EV mandate as ‘sweet spot’

NEW YORK: California’s choice of 2035 as the deadline to end gasoline-only new car sales was the “sweet spot” that will sharply cut emissions but was also realistic for the industry, the head of the state’s clean air regulator said on Tuesday (Sep 20).

“We had to be cognizant of where the automakers are, where the supply chains are, where the production facilities are,” California Air Resources Board (CARB) chair Liane Randolph told Reuters in an interview during Climate Week, a summit that takes place alongside the UN General Assembly.

“I feel like we landed at the sweet spot.”

In August, CARB said it would require all new vehicles sold in California by 2035 to be electric or plug-in hybrid electrics (PHEVs) after Governor Gavin Newsom issued a 2020 executive order directing the move.

CARB said the rules will reduce smog-causing pollution from light-duty vehicles by 25 per cent by 2037 and result in 9.5 million fewer conventional vehicles sold by 2035. Automakers in 2035 can sell no more than 20 per cent of models as PHEVs.

California was not as aggressive as some environmental groups wanted, or Tesla, which urged ending new gas-powered vehicles by 2030.

“Of course an EV-only automaker is going to want as high a standard as possible because that is going to create a market for their credits,” Randolph said.

California needs a waiver from the US Environmental Protection Agency to adopt the 2035 rules, which will open the request for public comment.

“Obviously it’s their decision to make but I mean that’s why the waiver exists. So California can move forward and protect its residents,” she said.