CLEAN CARS ELECTRIFY THE CALIFORNIA MARKETPLACE.
by Ruben Aronin, Assistant Director, California Business Alliance
Electric vehicles (EVs) are on the move in California and across the country. On March 7, I had the opportunity to attend a day-long Governor’s Summit on Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) at the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) headquarters in Sacramento that attracted more than 200 automakers, utility executives, state and local government officials, and nonprofit leaders from throughout the state. The summit was held to discuss the growing ZEV marketplace and to identify obstacles and opportunities toward meeting Governor Jerry Brown’s goal of having 1.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025. I’m pleased to report that California is well on its way to meeting the Governor’s goals and also is helping to lead ZEV adoption nationally and globally.
While the reintroduction of EVs to California’s roadways began just a few years ago, today there are already 18 varieties of virtually every vehicle type available and national EV sales are quickly approaching 200,000 cars. The summit featured a wide array of speakers from the public and private sectors including Matt Rodriquez, Secretary of the CalEPA; Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board; Public Utilities Commissioner Carla Peterman; California Energy Commissioner Janea Scott; senior executives from Toyota, Nissan, GM, BMW and Hyundai; as well as senior officials from the Governor’s office.
Virtually all of the public officials praised and congratulated the auto industry for delivering vehicles that meet the price, range and style attributes that meet the majority of consumers’ needs. CARB’s Mary Nichols repeatedly referred to the partnership that exists between California and automakers to build on the early successes of the EV marketplace, reiterating the state’s commitment to providing incentives to help grow the ZEV sector.
The conference not only highlighted the benefits of a growing ZEV marketplace in California, but included a wide variety of testimonials – from the State of Oregon’s Chief EV Officer, to senior representatives from The Netherlands, to officials from Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management – all of whom are hoping to follow California’s lead and are helping to demonstrate market innovations that other states, including California, could replicate. For example, Oregon is growing consumer awareness and interest in EVs by working with its tourism board and rental car companies to establish several select EV destination tours of the state’s wine country, Mt. Hood and the Oregon Coast with GPS coordinates for preferred charging stations along each route.
The market innovation and leadership of the growing California EV marketplace has the opportunity to transform the passenger vehicle transportation sector. Thanks to those advancements along with corresponding innovations in the freight and truck sectors, California can look forward to a future with cleaner air, healthier communities, and more vibrant economies.