Almost every major car manufacturer has come out with a line of electric cars, as concerns regarding climate change and the cost of gas become prominent in the minds of American citizens. California has now joined a multi-state initiative to promote the use of electric cars by pledging to get 3.3 million zero-emission automobiles on the road by 2025.
While ambitious, this initiative is surely one of the most important domestic efforts to curb the release of greenhouse gases. The governor of California has now joined those of New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont in making the pledge.
As part of the pledge, the governors are working to support electric car manufacturers by making it easier for manufacturing facilities to be built. Changing the current building regulations will allow these companies to manufacture more cars while also making it easier for charging centers to be built.
Since these cars rely on electricity to run, the current cost of home electricity has prevented many buyers from actually purchasing a zero-emission car. The governors will work with electricity providers to try and lower costs for people with electric cars, as home charging stations can significantly raise a person's electric bill.
"We think that is going to be necessary for some of the range anxiety and other acceptance barriers that need to be broken down," said Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association. "The cars are coming -- they're here already -- but if you don't have a place to charge them, there's not going to be the level of consumer acceptance."
The adoption rate for electric cars has been promising but has only resulted in zero-emission cars making up 2 percent of the market. Therefore, this type of initiative from state governments should be the key to increasing the adoption rate over the next decade.
Each state has put together individual proposals which will require a certain percentage of new cars sold to be zero-emission vehicles. California's mandate will require that 15.4 percent of cars be free from emissions, which would amount to 1.5 million vehicles by 2025.
"The idea is to broaden the pool of people talking about this and working their way through the challenges that come up in setting up this kind of infrastructure, and growing this kind of a market," said Dave Clegern, a spokesman for California's Air Resources Board.
The eight states that are working together in this initiative are perhaps the states best-suited to do so. With California and New York being two of the largest states, they control more than a quarter of all automobiles when combined with the six other states.
While the plans for this initiative are detailed, and have been agreed upon by state officials, budgets on a state level have yet to be released.