Published May 2021 – In September 2020, California Governor Newsom issued an ambitious executive order for the state to achieve 100 percent zero-emission (EV) passenger vehicle and truck sales by 2035. Already a national leader in EVs, California is the first state in the country to set a goal of eliminating sales of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks. To get there, the state will have to address a number of barriers to expand EV adoption, especially for rural Californians.
While California leads the country in EV adoption, overall EV ownership is still relatively low in the state. EVs currently represent about 1.8 percent of all registered vehicles in California. To fulfill the EO, California will need to increase this share of EVs in the long run, although there is already evidence that the total sales of new EVs is increasing over time.
A central EV adoption barrier is that there is no viable option for mass heavy duty EV adoption in California. Although some EV truck prototypes and concepts exist, the current cost of available trucks makes it difficult for California to get to a 100 percent EV truck adoption rate.
CalCAN partnered with Benny Corona, a graduate of the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California Berkeley, to review the current adoption rates of EV vehicles and infrastructure in rural California, with an emphasis on the Central Valley and among agricultural producers and workers, and produce this report.