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California Reaches 2025 Electric Vehicle Target Two Years Early

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

It was recently reported that California has sold 1.5 million electric vehicles two years before its 2025 target, according to the California Energy Commission. California continues to lead the United States when it comes to electric vehicle sales. Out of these 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles, 1.05 million are battery-electric vehicles and 0.46 million are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. An extra 15,000 are fuel-cell electric vehicles, which are powered by hydrogen. All of these numbers are cumulative sales up to the first quarter of 2023.

With 124,000 zero-emission vehicles being sold in the first quarter, 78% were battery-electric vehicles. This represents a growing market share as the state becomes more climate-conscious; fewer people want a car that emits any greenhouse gases. Almost the rest of the 22% comes from plug-in hybrids, with only 902 vehicles being powered by hydrogen.

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A blue Tesla Model 3 parked in front of a building
From Navigator84 on Wikimedia. No changes were made

588,000 light-duty vehicles were sold in the first quarter of 2023. A whopping 21.1% of these were zero-emission vehicles, the largest share out of any state. This figure has doubled in just two years, and they now are responsible for 40% of ZEV sales in the US. With this many electric vehicles arises a need for electric vehicle chargers. They have built 80,000 chargers so far. Tens of thousands will be built in the coming years as Joe Biden passed his Build Back Better bill. We go into more depth about the Build Back Better bill in our blog about how Democrats have helped the environment.

Unsurprisingly, Tesla makes up 46% of zero-emission vehicles sold in California, which adds up to 57,000 vehicles. In our blog about which companies are helping the Earth the most, we talk about the massive impact that Tesla is having on the environment. Their cars have saved millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

After all, it’s quite obvious that California would pass its electric vehicle goal early because the goal was set by former Governor Jerry Brown in 2012. Dozens of states have been achieving their environmental goals early because capitalism has taken its effect - cars and renewable energy has become so much cheaper because there was so much investment, research, and development. Capitalism can help the environment if we put our minds to it. A Tesla Semi is significantly cheaper over time than a diesel-powered semi truck, and only production capacity is holding it back from capturing a large market share.

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A silver Tesla Semi driving on a road
A Tesla Semi

In January, electric vehicles made up 7.1% of the market share nationwide. That’s 88,000 electric vehicles, and a 74% increase year-over-year. This number will only grow as people become more eco-conscious, and as electric vehicles become cheaper. Tesla has already cut prices six times this year, boosting their sales - but also hurting their profit margins and overall profit. Prices could drop even lower if there is more supply than demand.

There are tax credits worth several thousand dollars allowing more people to purchase electric vehicles. Not only does this encourage the consumer to buy zero-emission vehicles, but car companies also want to take some of that money to increase profits. Over a dozen companies have announced that they are going all-electric. There is not going to be much room for gas-powered cars in the future.

President Joe Biden reciting his speech in front of a crowd
From Michael Stokes on Wikimedia. No changes were made

Electric Vehicles in Less-Populated States

Living in Montana, I see an electric car once a week - and I live in Missoula, the second largest city by population. And yes, very few people live here. Missoula is a very progressive and eco-friendly place, but there is little EV uptake.

There could be a few reasons for this. One is that they are too expensive. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, people in California have incomes that are 40% higher than people in Montana. People in Montana tend to have cheaper and older cars than those living in Montana.

Another reason could be that there are very few electric vehicle chargers in Montana. There are 98 EV charging locations, and 257 charging ports available. Because Montana is a very outdoor-loving state, it’s not convenient to have an electric vehicle; there are no chargers in the middle of the mountains.

A third reason is the range of EVs. Getting from one town to another could require a long drive. Not every town would have a charging location, so they could run out of charge frequently. The good news is that Montana is getting $43 million to build EV charging stations.

The government is very slow in doing things to help the environment. You can have an immediate impact by offsetting your carbon footprint here and planting hundreds of trees!

Three electric vehicle chargers in a parking lot
From Gregory Varnum on Wikimedia. No changes were made

Wrapping Up

California plans to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. I believe that there will be few people buying these cars that far in the future anyway, but this is an important step toward stopping climate change. Other states have followed in California’s footsteps - six to be exact. States will be slow to join because of regular bureaucracy, but they may need to be encouraged by the public to do so.

Transportation makes up 28% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency - that’s the largest source of emissions. In just a couple of decades, the United States could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 15% or more.

A graph of U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by sector and source
United States emissions by source

With so many electric vehicles, we need batteries to avoid blackouts and stabilize the grid. Tesla is leading the way by building gigawatts worth of Megapacks, which we talked about a lot in our last blog. During times of high energy usage, governments won’t have to ask their citizens to charge their cars at night.

All in all, it won’t be difficult to switch to electric vehicles. California could be a blueprint for other states. Prices of these cars will decrease, so picking an EV won’t be very difficult. Zero-emission vehicles need to take more of the market share to stop our planet from passing the 2.0 degrees Celsius threshold - we will inevitably pass 1.5 degrees this decade.

Our individual carbon footprint can have a large impact on the Earth and climate change. You can offset your footprint and plant hundreds of trees a year by signing up on Bryotic Worlds.

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