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California Reaches EV Sales Goal Two Years Early

Tesla and other electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common on California’s roads, and the state recently surpassed an important EV adoption milestone. More buyers than ever are going electric, supporting the state’s plans to ban new gas car sales by 2035.

Data released by the California Energy Commission show that the state’s buyers have purchased over 1.5 million EVs since 2011, as The Mercury News reports. The figure marks a key EV milestone target set in 2012, which has now been reached two years earlier than the goal’s initial target.

In 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order targeting 1.5 million “zero-emission vehicles” sold in the state by 2025. As of March 31, California drivers have purchased 1,523,966 EVs in total since 2011, according to the CEC data. Most of them are Teslas, as separate data show and as California residents can tell you.

Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3 were the top two best-selling new passenger vehicles in the state last year, according to another data set from the California New Car Dealers Association. The Model Y alone had 87,257 sales in California in 2022, with the Model 3 right behind at 78,934. Comparatively, the Model Y sold twice as many units as the Ford F-Series, while the Model 3 outsold Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas combined.

Experts largely point to improving battery range and a decade of California auto regulations as reasons for the EV uptick. Natural Resources Defense Council’s Director of Clean Car Programs, Simon Mui, also cites falling prices and improved technology.

“The technology is improving so rapidly and becoming more affordable,” Mui told The Mercury News. “It’s like the movement from landlines to cell phones, which happened fast.”

California was also the first of a few states to mandate the 2035 sales ban on new gas cars, requiring that the state’s vehicles be all-electric by the middle of next decade. Other states have followed suit, including New York, Virginia, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Other states that have introduced similar legislation include Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

Currently, there are a total of 115 EV models on sale in California, up from just 46 in 2019. Tesla only contributes four of these models. The company, however, has welcomed the competition from traditional automakers for the sake of EV adoption and an overall transition to sustainable energy.

Barriers remain to reaching these and other EV adoption climate targets, perhaps most significantly including the deployment of DC fast-charging stations. Still, the news indicates a major shift toward EVs for buyers in California, showing that the state’s internal combustion engines may be on their way out after all.

Originally published by EVANNEX, by Peter McGuthrie.

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