Becoming the first US state to do so.
UPDATE 08/26: This story has been updated based on the decision by the Californian government.
California has successfully passed the Clean Cars II Act, banning the sale of all internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles from 2035. This is a historical moment and the harshest move against ICE vehicles ever. Yes, the EU was the first to speak of banning ICE vehicles, but even it has made concessions since.
What makes it even more important is that California represents the most prominent car market and the most significant state economy in the USA. Compared to countries around the world, California alone has the fifth largest economy in the world, ranking just behind Germany. The repercussions of this decision will be felt across the globe as manufacturers shift their focus to providing cars for California.
The new regulations will arrive in phases. By 2026, 35% of new cars would need to be 100% tailpipe emissions-free, increasing to 51% in 2028. By 2030, you're looking at 68% and then 100% by 2035.
Californians who own ICE cars can keep them, and used sales will be allowed to continue as usual. The state hopes incentives will eventually lead to everyone giving up their gas-powered vehicles.
According to CARB, the act is two-pronged. First, it will push for an increasing number of zero-emissions vehicles that rely on advanced technologies. The statement includes the three forerunners of clean propulsion: battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This push will help the state reach its goal of zero emissions by 2035.
Secondly, CARB is going after ICE cars. California wants increasingly stringent standards for gas cars and heavier passenger trucks like the Ford F-150. The state would much rather you spend more on a new F-150 Lightning. CARB supplied a proposed timeline for its zero emissions regulations, which you can see below.
CARB explains the motivation behind the changes: "The proposal will substantially reduce air pollutants that threaten public health and cause climate change. While further developing the zero-emission vehicle market, the proposal also takes additional steps to clean up internal combustion engines and will provide public health benefits of at least $12 billion over the life of the regulation by reducing premature deaths, hospitalizations, and lost workdays associated with exposure to air pollution."
As part of the act, there will be new minimum warranty and durability requirements, increased serviceability, and clearer charging and battery labeling. According to CARB, this will help overburdened and low-income communities acquire a zero-emissions car without worrying that it might not last.
Governor Newsom set aside a $2.4 billion investment in vehicle incentives, charging infrastructure, and public outreach. CARB is developing incentives that will include rebates for new and used clean cars, as well as funding for charging options. There will also be provisions made for alternatives to car ownership, such as car-pooling and ride-hailing services.
According to CARB, zero-emissions vehicles can save an owner as much as $7,500 over the vehicle's first 10 years of ownership. It also estimates that 179 zero-emission and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle models will be introduced by 2025, making it easier than ever to get in a zero-emissions car.
This fits nicely with the Inflation Reduction Act, which now offers upfront payments for both new and used cars. We compiled a list of all the new vehicles that fit within the act's regulations and did the same for used cars.
Thus far, several manufacturers have reacted to the new legislation. Before the final vote was cast, Bob Holycross, Chief Sustainability Officer at Ford, made the following statement:
"At Ford, combatting climate change is a strategic priority, and we're proud of our partnership with California for stronger vehicle emissions standards, forged during a time when climate action was under attack. We're committed to building a zero-emissions transportation future that includes everyone, backed by our own investments of more than $50 billion by 2026 in EVs and batteries. The CARB Advanced Clean Cars II rule is a landmark standard that will define clean transportation and set an example for the United States."
Honda - a brand that does not yet have an EV on sale in the US but will be adding the Prologue EV in years to come - also responded:
"California's proposed electric vehicle requirements represent an ambitious but important milestone in the future of clean mobility. Reaching these targets will require thoughtful collaboration between all parties in a number of key areas, including infrastructure buildout, the development of robust supply chains, and policy and market incentives. And while we fully share the goals of the recently revised federal EV tax credit, the reality is that very few to no electric vehicles will be eligible for this critical incentive in the near term. Today's action by California makes it more important than ever for policymakers to enact complimentary policies that will accelerate - not decelerate - the adoption of electric vehicles. Honda has a long history of working alongside the state of California, and we look forward to continued collaboration with the state and other stakeholders on the best ways to achieve our shared climate goals."