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California cumulative PEV sales at 13.4% of 2030 goal; true ZEVs at 7.6%

As part of California’s AB 32 climate change program, Executive Order B-48-18 administratively created a goal of 5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roads by 2030. This action expands on the prior Executive Order B-16-2012, which set a goal of 1.5 million by 2025.

While these goals were set administratively, they are embodied in the state’s climate change strategies, and both public and utility ratepayer funds are being used in an attempt to reach this goal, including purchase subsidies, refueling infrastructure, regulatory credit sales that raise the price of traditional fuel vehicles, a continuing net subsidy from gasoline consumers for roads and road repairs, and other measures.

Rather than only true ZEVs, the numbers in the Executive Order and previous interpretations by the agencies indicate the goal is to be achieved by both BEVs that run only on electricity and combustion PHEVs that run on both electricity and gasoline. Consequently, only a portion of the vehicles being counted to meet the zero emission goal—roughly half based on current sales volumes—will in fact produce zero emissions when driven.

Additionally, FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles) also would count towards the ZEV total, but CNCDA (California New Car Dealer Association) data show total market share for these vehicles to date at around 0.1%.

Using this more flexible interpretation that includes both true ZEVs and combustion PHEVs, total PEV sales since 2009 account for 13.4% of the 2030 goal, notes a new report from the California Center for Jobs & the Economy. True ZEV sales, however, account for only 7.6%.


Graph: California Center for Jobs & the Economy

The report concludes that BEVs appear to be settling in the 4-5% market share range in California as sales no longer reflect the ramp-up in Model 3 backorder deliveries that began in the second half of 2018.

The California BEV market consisted largely of sales from Tesla, which accounted for 2/3 of BEV sales in the fourth quarter of 2019. For the year as a whole, Tesla had 73% of all BEV sales in the state.

PHEV sales continue to show some volatility, while the overall share of electrified vehicles has again become dominated by the upsurge in HEVs rather than the plug-in vehicles the state’s policies attempt to promote. (Earlier post.)

Again, these shifts illustrate that the overall market share for alternative vehicles remains largely fixed even if at a somewhat higher level, with consumers in this market component moving between HEVs and the other two components rather than the long-expected breakthrough into more customers who now buy traditional vehicles. In addition, California New Car Dealers Association results for the first half of 2019 show additional movement came from a weakening as well for the other alternative powertrains—diesel, flex fuel, fuel cell, and other. Combined, these were down a point to a 5.7% market share.

… In addition to the distortion that comes from including combustion vehicles in the ZEV total, the Executive Orders also refer to ZEVs on California roads while the agency accountings rely on sales as the measure of progress. Using prior Energy Commission reviews to account for ZEVs no longer on the roads as a result of accidents, moves out of state, and other factors that over time remove vehicles from the active fleet, the actual progress rate consistent with the Executive Order language of “vehicles on California’s roads” would be 12.3% rather than the 13.4%… As discussed in the 2018:Q1 report, carpool lane sticker data, however, suggests a much higher turnover of PEVs “off California’s roads” than in prior estimates.

—“State’s Progress on 5 Million Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) by 2030: Q4 2019 Results”



Anyone can set goals, achieving them is what matters.

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