California’s relentless push toward electric vehicle adoption has created the “compliance car” that has forced many automakers to at least try their hand at the new technology over the past decade.
In 2014, then-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne joked that he didn’t want people to buy the Electric Fiat 500E “because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000”.
But California’s EV vision, which is not without its critics, is now paying off with record sales.
The bigger question is how the nation’s largest new vehicle market achieves 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and how many states will follow.
Nearly 15% of new vehicle registrations in California in the first quarter came from battery electric vehicles, which sold 11% more than hybrids, according to data cited by the California New Car Dealers Association.
Tesla sold more cars than any automaker except Toyota in the first three months of the year, the association said.
Electric vehicles have become so popular that charging stations on holiday weekends like the 4th of July often have queues. Even new and rare EVs such as the Rivian R1T pickup and Lucid Air sedan aren’t that rare on Golden State highways.
But reaching the state-set goal of all electric vehicles by 2035 won’t be easy.