The latest new vehicle sales data from California New Car Dealers Association shows Californians remain on track to exceed 2 million new light vehicle purchases in 2017, although sales are beginning to ease from comparable levels a year ago. Key findings from the data:
As part of the AB 32 climate change program, Executive Order B-16-2012 administratively created a goal of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roads by 2025, with a sub-goal that their market share is expanding at that point. The order also established interim mileposts primarily related to infrastructure support for recharging along with more qualitative targets for manufacturing capacity and commercial viability of these vehicles.
Rather than only true ZEVs, implementation of this goal has been interpreted by the agencies as being met by both BEVs that run only on electricity and PHEVs which run on both electricity and motor fuels. Additionally, FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles) also would count towards the ZEV total, but to date, just over 300 have been registered in the state.
Under the current agency interpretations, total PEV sales since 2009 account for 22.4% of the 2025 goal. However, applying the Executive Order standards to true zero-emission vehicle sales (BEVs), the state instead has achieved only 11.5% of the 2025 goal.
Previous Center updates were based on the most current Energy Commission estimates for ZEVs currently registered and actually operating on California’s roads, updated with the CNCDA quarterly sales data. The most recent Energy Commission update, however, has shifted from tracking progress based on registrations to reporting of cumulative ZEV sales based on estimates from an outside organization. The numbers, therefore, overestimate the number of ZEVs actually operating in the state by not taking into account ZEVs that have been moved out of state, traded in, involved in accidents, or otherwise removed from operation on the state’s roads. The tracking graphic below has been revised to conform to the Energy Commission’s current approach.
As an indication of the significance of this change, the previous Energy Commission estimate of registrations showed an 8% drop-off from the then-current cumulative sales number, a factor consistent with fleet-turnover rates for vehicles of this type. Applying this factor to the latest sales total, the actual progress rate consistent with the Executive Order language would be 20.6% rather than the 22.4% shown in the chart below.
Accounting for normal fleet turnover rates and reductions from persons moving out of California, PEV sales even under the revised Energy Commission approach would need to be 2.0 times as large in order to meet the 2025 goal. Considered from true zero emission vehicles, sales of BEVs would have to be 4.1 times as large.
Executive Order B-16-2012 also contains a number of provisions calling for actions to expand the ZEV and ZEV component manufacturing base in California:
The state’s current energy costs, additional labor law restrictions and litigation risks, and lengthy permitting processes continue to limit the expansion of the ZEV related manufacturers choosing to locate within California. Rather than tackle these well-documented barriers to new manufacturing jobs, the most recent version of the ZEV Action Plan instead calls primarily for data collection and conversations:
Moving forward, state government will play a central role connecting regions to share best practices, gathering economic data to measure ZEV market growth and ensuring our workforce is trained to meet future needs.
Since the last update, the following investments have been announced to locate ZEV-related manufacturing jobs outside of California: