Like It Or Not, You Will Buy An Electric Car, Good Luck With That California

The message from California Governor Gavin Newsom is stern. But will probably not sit well with a lot Californians once they drive the mandate around the block.

In short: Go electric by 2035 or else (AP).

I live in a Los Angeles neighborhood saturated with electric cars. Many of my neighbors own Teslas and I own an EV myself.

But even here there are some hardcore ICE (internal combustion engine) car devotees. You know the kind. Engine loudness defines the car. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Chevy Corvette z06, for example, are two cars that rattle my windows when they drive by on my otherwise quiet street.

I don’t see this car crowd coming around to electric, even in 2035.

And let’s not forget the sizeable anti-Tesla faction. Those people will never buy an electric car.

And what about all of those Californians — some very poor — who can’t afford electric? OK, so there will undoubtedly be much more affordable EVs by 2035.

But remember it’s been 12 years since the Tesla Roadster debuted and almost a decade since the launch of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. And EVs are still out of reach for the vast majority of Americans. Not to mention the lack of public charging stations.

But let’s say that Tesla or Chevy or Honda is offering a decent $2oK EV in 2035 (this week Tesla promised a $25K Tesla in three years). What about the grid?

California’s grid isn’t ready for the massive surge in electricity needs. Imagine tens of thousands of people simultaneously charging at home and/or fast-charging (aka, Level 3*) their car during one of those 105-degree-plus hot spells in Southern California when the grid is already under the strain of millions of air conditioners.

Politics

Last but not least is California politics. California is a one-party state and barely resembles a democracy. Democracy demands two vigorous opposing parties. Not a one-party system that hands down edicts. Point: a large chunk of the California population won’t abide when they realize it wasn’t a decision reached via democratic consensus.

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Notes:

*(1) Level 3 chargers are very high voltage and pull enough electricity that they are not permitted in homes — only in commercial spaces such as a Tesla Supercharger station or the EVgo charging station at your local shopping center.

(2) Article revised to say: tens of thousands charging at home and/or fast charging.

(3) A statement I got from General Motors, which defers to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation President and CEO John Bozzella, shows a more balanced approach to the goal of getting more Californians to buy electric:

“The auto industry needs the electric car market to succeed, and Auto Innovators members are committed to expanding vehicle electrification…But neither mandates nor bans build successful markets…Currently, electrified vehicles account for less than 10 percent of new vehicle sales in California. While that is the best in the nation, much more needs to be done for California to reach its goals. It will require increased infrastructure, incentives, fleet requirements, building codes, and much more.”

Comments or suggestions can be sent to me via a direct twitter message at twitter.com/mbrookec or [email protected]

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