Over the past decade, California has passed sweeping legislation to cut greenhouse emissions in its efforts to slash emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.  Phil Ting, a California Assemblymember, hopes his recently introduced bill can provide a huge boost to those efforts.

While plans to eliminate gas and diesel-powered vehicles in other countries focus on the outright ban of the sale of such vehicles, Assembly Bill No. 1745 takes a slightly different approach in order to achieve the same goal.  The bill, which was introduced on January 3 of this year, provides that, after January 1, 2040, only zero emissions vehicles would be given an original registration.  The bill excludes commercial vehicles with a gross weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more and registrations for vehicles originally registered outside of California, provided that the registered owner is the same person on the foreign certificate of title.

According to Ting, “Vehicles running on fossil fuels are responsible for nearly 40 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions.”  While the bill is quite ambitious, efforts by automakers signal a significant shift from traditional gas-powered vehicles in favor of zero emissions ones.  GM plans to phase out all gas-powered vehicles for an “all electric, zero-emissions future” and to introduce at least 18 additional electric vehicle models by 2023.  Ford’s Team Edison was formed to meet increasing global demands for electric vehicles and the zero emissions vehicles mandates discussed above.  Mazda, Denso, and Toyota established EV Common Architecture Spirit Co., Ltd. to develop a framework for electrification technologies, which will be implemented across a wide range of Toyota and Mazda models.

In addition to addressing the need to comply with zero emissions vehicles mandates, these investments in electric vehicles coincide with rising popularity for such vehicles among consumers.  In 2017, electric vehicles sales in the United States saw a 25% increase compared to 2016.  While electric vehicles account for only 1.5% of all U.S. auto sales, the increase in available models in 2018 and beyond, coupled with increased awareness and trust, should lead to a significant increase in that market share.

Although only recently introduced, Assembly Bill No. 1745 stands a good chance to be enacted into law in some form given California’s long-standing position as a leader in climate change legislation, coupled with the increase in manufacturer and consumer interest in electric vehicles.