Even though last week’s announcement was less than surprising, it’s still seismic in its impact. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that beginning in 2035, all new cars and light trucks sold in the Golden State will be EV-only. California, standing alone, already constitutes one of the world’s largest single markets for new vehicles, it’s still historic, and one of the world’s first efforts to impose an emissions-related outright prohibition on vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. The ruling covers new vehicles only, with used gasoline-fueled vehicles being unaffected by the present ban.
The ruling by the California Air Resources Board will also set interim targets for phasing out gasoline-fueled vehicles. Beginning in 2026, 35 percent of all passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks sold in California will be required to be zero-emission vehicles. That quota is due to increase each year, reaching 51 percent by 2028, 60 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035. The quotas would also clear the way for 20 percent of legal vehicles allowed for sale to be plug-in hybrids. A spokesman for the CARB called the steps the most important actions the environmental body has taken in the past 30 years. If past practice is any indication, California’s moves could foretell a blueprint for a national bid to eventually switch to new EVs.