California wants 1 million electric vehicles on roads within 2020

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 25, 2010

Included in the state of California’s goal within the next decade is for 1 million battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to be seen on its roads. The state revealed its new plan only two days before the Air Resources Board starts to mull over a first-in-the-nation rule requiring that a third of electricity come from clean, green sources by 2020.

This will guarantee that vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, electric Ford Focus and plug-in electric Toyota Prius offer lower overall emissions since the electricity will have cleaner sources. To give you a perspective of this target, take note that there are currently only a few thousand electric vehicles in the US.

Nonetheless, 1 million electric vehicles in California would still account for a small percentage of the state's total vehicle fleet of over 32 million cars and trucks. Currently, California has about 200,000 hybrid vehicles -- the most of any state.

California aims that by the 2018 model year, automakers will be required to produce a higher number of zero-emission vehicles – whether fuel cells or fully electric vehicles. The Air Resources Board seeks to finalize the number of emission-free vehicles it plans to require by next year. The state aims that by 2020, it will have the infrastructure to handle those electric vehicles.

A "central component" of its strategy is to lower greenhouse gas emissions. It is working to reform electric retail rates on the wholesale market to make sure that "additional electrification minimizes infrastructure cost and maximizes both integration of renewable resources.” Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said that California's energy policy has to be clear and focused on achieving its advanced efficiency and renewable energy goals.

In a separate undertaking, California, automakers and the Obama administration are cooperating to establish the next round of fuel efficiency and emissions limits for the 2017 model year and beyond.

The "Notice of Intent" – which will indicate where the new requirements may end up -- is due to be released by Sept. 30. Several environmental groups want the Obama administration to require a fleetwide average of 60 mpg by 2025 for cars and light trucks. However, automakers say that they’ve already agreed to a fleetwide average of 35 mpg by 2016 (four years in advance of a congressional mandate). [via The Detroit News]

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