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Sales of new gas-powered cars banned in California by 2035: What you need to know

By Russ Mitchell, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order banning sales of new combustion-engine motor vehicles in California starting in 2035 will mark a radical change in transportation infrastructure. It also will prompt many questions from consumers. Here are answers to some:

_Is this a real ban on combustion vehicles?

The order calls it a goal but gives the California Air Resources Board authority to lay out a transition plan. CARB has enforcement powers. The order calls for a plan to phase in requirements between now and 2035, but details are yet to be determined.

_Don't electric cars cost more?

Yes, they do, with a sticker price typically 30% higher than that of a comparable combustion car. Right now, tax credits and rebates from federal and state government make up for much of that cost. EV advocates say lower fuel and maintenance costs should also be figured in.

But the price gap is shrinking. Although batteries remain expensive to build, the cost is coming down fast. The consulting firm McKinsey estimates EVs will reach price parity with combustion cars as soon as 2025 and transform from money losers to money makers for car companies. Other studies predict price parity by the end of the decade.

 

"Batteries have been getting a lot more competitive in terms of mileage range ... at a lower cost," said Mary Nichols, who chairs the California Air Resources Board.

No one can say what the world will look like in 2035, but it's a safe bet that EVs will be cheaper than gasoline cars.

_Will there be enough electric cars and trucks available so there's a real choice?

There will. Tough clean air and greenhouse gas requirements in Europe and a government-sponsored push for zero-emission cars in China have caused automakers to get serious about moving past combustion engines. There will be dozens and then hundreds of models available between now and 2035.

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