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CALSTART brief highlights growth of and future opportunity for California’s clean transportation technology industry

A new CALSTART brief indicates that California’s climate and energy policies are not only helping to protect the environment and improve air quality, but are also helping to accelerate growth of the clean transportation technology industry (CTTI) in the state.

The paper, “California’s Clean Transportation Technology Industry: Time to Shift into High Gear,” profiles the development of a burgeoning manufacturing sector that is producing zero- and near-zero emission light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, as well as clean fuels, engines, vehicle components, and new mobility services.

What we are finally seeing is a tremendous synergy between the state’s policies, its culture of innovation, and its human capital. These factors together over the past five to seven years have created nearly 20,000 new high quality jobs in the state.

—CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel

Among many other signs of recent progress, the report notes that since the great recession, California has become home to the first successful new US car manufacturing since the end of World War II; California was selected as the first state to host a vehicle production plant owned by a Chinese company; and a South Carolina firm has effectively moved its headquarters to California and is in the process of building an electric bus manufacturing plant because of the opportunities in the state.

The report inventories more than 300 companies that are creating high quality jobs, building new manufacturing facilities, and making major investments in California. Examined in detail are three regions, the South Coast, San Joaquin Valley, and Silicon Valley.

Executives profiled in the report see enormous potential for industry growth in California. They predict that thousands of additional high-quality jobs will be added to the industry’s current base of more than 20,000 as the industry ramps up manufacturing between now and 2030.

The report notes that while California is the third largest oil producing state in the nation, it imports more than half of the oil it consumes. On a comparative basis, California is more dependent on foreign oil than is the nation as a whole.

According to the report, the chief threat to the future growth of the clean transportation industry is the possibility of a change in policy or direction. The report offers policymakers three main recommendations:

  • Solidify Targets and Extend Programs to at Least 2030. Make California’s target of 40% greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction by 2030 a legal statute, while reauthorizing and extending Cap and Trade and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) well beyond 2020.

  • Require Top Performance with Strong Yet Feasible Air Quality and Climate Standards. Maintain and extend ambitious but feasible standards for Advanced Clean Transit, ZEV Mandate, Phase 2 Medium and Heavy GHG Standard, Light Duty Fuel Efficiency Standards, and the LCFS, while continuing to strive for being technology-neutral and flexible.

  • Give the Needed Boost by Providing Sufficient Incentives to Meet the State’s Goals and Mandates. Increase the amount of funding to Low Carbon Transportation from Cap and Trade while incorporating multiyear funding commitments, with $2 billion cumulatively for the three years of FY 2016-17, FY2017-18, and FY 2018-19 (an average of $650-700 million per year).

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