1 in 4 new cars sold in California last quarter were EVs, an all-time high

Source: By Vanessa Arredondo, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Sunday, August 6, 2023

Vehicles are loaded onto carriers at the Tesla plant

Vehicles are loaded onto carriers at the Tesla plant in Fremont, Calif., in 2020. More than 25% of all new vehicles sold in the last quarter were EVs. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)

For the first time in California, 1 out of every 4 new cars sold in the last quarter were zero-emission vehicles, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced this week.

Policymakers have long prioritized EV sales as part of the state’s climate goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To reach such goals, the state will require all new vehicles sold in California to be hybrid or electric by 2035.

In April — nearly two years ahead of schedule — California already surpassed its target of selling 1.5 million EVs to date.

“California is showing the world what’s possible — fostering innovation and creating space for an industry to flourish,” Newsom said in a release. “Thanks to our unparalleled incentives that make it cheaper than ever, we’re not leaving anyone behind.”

More than 25% of all new vehicles sold in the last quarter were EVs, according to the California Energy Commission, with sales for the three-month period totaling 125,939.

California has sold more than 1.6 million electric vehicles to date and accounts for 34% of all EV sales in the country, according to a market report by the nonprofit Veloz, which raises awareness about electric vehicles.

California leads the nation in promoting electric vehicle sales, having invested more than $5 billion to transition the state away from gas-powered vehicles.

In 2018, then-Gov. Jerry Brown set a goal to have 5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roads by 2030. Two years later, Newsom issued an executive order to ban the sale of gasoline-powered passenger cars by 2035.

Last year, the California Air Resources Board mandated that at least 35% of all 2026 passenger cars and trucks sold in the state be zero-emission vehicles. The rate will increase each year, reaching 68% in 2030 and 100% by 2035.

To promote the sale of green vehicles, the state also offers rebates of up to $7,500 for battery-electric and hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles and up to $6,500 for plug-in hybrids.

“Californians are shifting toward cleaner vehicles, putting a zero-emissions future within sight for [the] state’s transportation sector,” Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph said in an email.

“Through aggressive policies and programs that help low-income residents make the switch, the milestone makes it clear that California is leading the way toward cleaner air,” she said.