California announced their intentions to increase the zero emission vehicle standards (ZEV) through 2025 on Wednesday while I was attending the first press day of the LA Auto Show. If adopted, the standards would require automakers to increase the number of plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and fuel cell vehicles they sell, reaching 15 percent of the new vehicle sales by 2025. This is great news for consumers, meaning more clean-vehicle options to choose from over the coming years.
At the auto show, some of these advanced vehicles are on display. These vehicles range from plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt and the upcoming Ford C-Max (shown), battery electrics like the newly unveiled production model 2012 Fit EV, the Ford Focus BEV, and Coda sedan I mentioned in my last blog post. Also on display were the Hyundai Tuscon and the Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicles.
The good news is that many of these are production models, not concepts that will never see the light of a dealer showroom. But turning these vehicles from a niche market into a mass market success is going to take time.
A steady level of investment by automakers and fuel providers is needed in the coming years to drive down costs, and make these vehicles more affordable to millions of car buyers.
Automakers need to continue investing in the transformative technologies we need to help solve our energy security, air quality, and climate challenges. Just like regulations were required to put seat belts and catalytic converters on the vehicles we drive today, the ZEV program is needed to ensure automakers deliver clean and affordable vehicles we need for the future.
To increase the likelihood of meeting our 2050 climate goals, California should go even further and require at least 18 percent of new vehicles sold in 2025 to be plug-in hybrid, battery electric, or fuel cells.
Support from UCS members make work like this possible. Will you join us? Help UCS advance independent science for a healthy environment and a safer world.