Governor Newsom's September 2020 Executive Order

5 March 2021

On September 23, Governor Newsom signed an executive order directing the state to require that, by 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). The Governor’s announcement is part of a larger push to address climate change while fostering economic growth across the state. The order is especially important in light of the fact that transportation is California’s economic sector accounting for the largest share of its greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Governor Newsom. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

With this executive order, California is leading the country in the larger effort to phase out fossil fuels. The state joins only fifteen other countries in committing to phase out gasoline-powered cars. As California has historically been a leader in the US automotive industry, this move sends a strong signal to the rest of the country to move in a similar direction.

The executive order lays out an undeniably ambitious goal - California, despite its many EV-oriented efforts in recent years, still has a long way to go to achieve 100% ZEV sales by 2035. According to the California DMV, EVs currently account for just 1.2 percent of the 27.7 million registered passenger vehicles in the state, and only 5.3 percent of California's new passenger vehicle sales. But with a staggering amount of new EV models on the horizon - 2021 set to offer more battery electric vehicles (BEVs) than any other model year - the future of EVs is bright. Not to mention the increased focus on charging infrastructure buildout, with the state expecting 250,000 chargers, including 10,000 DC fast chargers, by 2025.

The number of new EV models expected to launch in the near future seems to climb with every month. Check out InsideEVs’ breakdown of the electric cars, trucks, and SUVs launching in 2021, a year they suggest may be a landmark in automotive history due to the mass amount of new models set to be launched. From the Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV to Rivian’s R1T electric truck, there will be no shortage of new entrants to the EV market in the coming year and beyond. These vehicles, as well as the necessary charging infrastructure that PG&E is eager to help develop, provide the means to the end goal encompassed in Gov. Newsom’s recent executive order.

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