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How quickly will electric vehicles take over, now that California has mostly banned gas-powered cars in 2035?

Are California’s efforts to ban most new gas-powered car sales by 2035 actually achievable?

Among the unknowns: whether enough consumers will adopt electric vehicles in sufficient numbers and whether the market for electric vehicles will evolve to meet the mandate over the next decade and beyond.

Currently, “it’s 100% clear that supply is the problem, not demand,” said Gil Tal, director of the Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center at the University of California, Davis.

“The reason (automakers) weren’t making these cars is not because consumers won’t accept it, but because they know how to make money on gas-powered cars,” Tal said. “And for them, this change is risky…except for automakers who had nothing to lose like Tesla.”

“So if it was up to (the automakers), it didn’t matter whether people liked it or not, they wouldn’t do it without the government pushing them, and that’s what California is doing,” Tal said. .

The new rules, approved last week by the California Air Resources Board, aim to phase out new gas-powered cars sold in the largest vehicle market in the United States. Thirty-five percent of new vehicles sold in 2026 must be fully electric or hybrid, compared to around 16% currently. This target increases to 68% in 2030 and 100% by 2035. Automakers that fail to comply face a penalty of up to $20,000 per non-compliant vehicle sold.

This is not a total ban on emissions: 20% of new vehicles sold in 2035 may still be plug-in hybrids, which use both gasoline and electricity. That, coupled with the fact that the regulations only apply to new vehicle sales, means “it will be many, many years before gas-powered cars are gone,” Tal said.

Yet the 2035 mandate is ambitious and requires substantial investment in supporting infrastructure. On the one hand, 3.2 additional magazines should be installed by 2035, according to a May 2022 paper published by Tal and colleagues. California must also ensure its network can handle the influx of charging cars, including during extreme weather events such as the upcoming heat wave in the west.

For now, one of the main challenges in the market is to match supply with demand. Supply chain disruptions and shortages, especially in key battery materials such as lithium, hinder the availability of electric vehicles even as automakers are rapidly striving to increase production of electric vehicles.

These and other considerations make the 2035 term “extremely difficult,” said John Bozella, president and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, on Aug. 25. statement.

“Whether these requirements are realistic or achievable is directly related to external factors such as inflation, charging and fuel infrastructure, supply chains, workforce, availability and prices of critical minerals, and the current shortage of semiconductors,” Bozella said. “These are complex, interrelated and global issues far beyond the control of CARB or the auto industry.”

Supply issues could take a few years to unravel, though it’s “already starting to catch up,” Tal said.

“The supply (of electric cars) will go first to California and the states that follow California (on mandates), and only then to the others, and they are the ones who will still have supply limitations during, I think , five to seven years from now,” Tal said.

For potential buyers, this has meant high prices on already expensive electric vehicles and long waits to receive them.

“It’s creating a lot of consumer frustration,” said Chris Gross, founder and CEO of BuySide Auto, a San Francisco-based new-car auto broker that serves customers across California.

Even still, interest in all-electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles remains high. In California, 74% of drivers say they have “at least some interest” in the electric vehicle market, and 40% are considering electric for their next vehicle, according to an April report. report of the California Air Resources Board.

But there is a difference between demand outstripping current supply and unqualified widespread adoption of new electric vehicles by 2035. Consumers interested in electric vehicles have a number of unique considerations: Where can I feed them? How far can it go? Can I easily find a maintenance service in the event of a problem?

For many buyers, salespeople at car dealerships will be key to understanding what it means to go electric, said Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association.

“This transition cannot happen successfully without franchise dealerships helping to drive mass-market consumers to purchase these vehicles,” Maas said. “So we are all at the forefront, and we are essential for this to happen.”

Five years from now, there will be enough electric vehicles on the road that this information will be known to everyone, Tal predicted.

“Between 2025 and 2030, we will have enough (electric) cars around us to understand where the market is going,” Tal said. “People won’t be like today, where a lot of people don’t know if the electric car really exists.”

There are also fears that electric vehicles will remain out of reach for the average consumer. The average new electric vehicle costs more than $64,000, compared to about $47,000 for the average new vehicle, June study finds report from the Kelley Blue Book. State funding to help low-income consumers buy electric cars has been insufficient, CalMatters reported recently.

Over time, the price of electric vehicles should drop as electric vehicle supply becomes available, Gross said. This requires both more manufacturers to produce them and more suppliers to provide the components that go into battery production.

Regular electric car buyers are also needed for electric cars to succeed on the behavior side, Tal said, as they will provide electric vehicles to the more affordable used-car market. Around 70% of cars sold each year are used, according to Statistic data.

“The 30% who buy new cars are the ones who market (used cars),” Tal said. “If they like electric vehicles, we will see electric vehicles. If they like red cars, we will all drive red cars.

In the short term, Gross sees no indication that the supply of electric vehicles will improve, “certainly not in the next six months.”

“It won’t be easy, but manufacturers will get through this because the California market is so big and so important to them,” Gross said.

Claire Hao is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @clairehao_

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