California bans the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles from 2035 and what it means

Following yesterday’s news that California planned to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles from 2035, this is now official. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted unanimously to implement this and it will have a huge impact on the future of motoring in the USA. 

Gavin Newsome, the governor of California, first proposed the ban back in 2020 to reduce pollution in the air with the State is the worst in the country. Newson has said this ban will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent in the nation’s most populous state.

Gavin Newsome, California Governor, said: “We can solve this climate crisis if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to cut pollution. California now has a groundbreaking, world-leading plan to achieve 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.

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“This plan’s yearly targets – 35 percent ZEV sales by 2026, 68 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2035 – provide our roadmap to reducing dangerous carbon emissions and moving away from fossil fuels. That’s 915 million oil barrels’ worth of emissions that won’t pollute our communities.

“With the historic $10 billion we’re investing to accelerate the transition to ZEVs, we’re making it easier and cheaper for all Californians to purchase electric cars. California will continue to lead the revolution towards our zero-emission transportation future.”

We’re not surprised to see this come coming out of California as it has been one of the early adopters of electric vehicles. It leads the way in electric vehicle registrations and the State alone accounted for just under 40 percent of the whole country’s electric vehicle sales. This is six times the number in Florida, which has the second highest number. 

This new regulation has had an instant knock-on effect with other states in the US following suit. These include Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.

Yesterday’s new Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC2) regulation not only bans the sales of new ICE vehicles but includes other incentives to encourage the sales of electric vehicles (EVs). 

For example, the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC2) regulation states that all electric vehicles need to come with a charging cable and that adaptors need to be available at all public chargers so all can charge at them.

It also outlines how secondhand electric vehicles are sold with specific metrics, such as battery health, to help buyers. Plus, any repair information must be disclosed to independent garages. 

For new vehicles, batteries must hold at least 70 percent of range for 10 years/150,000 miles. This will figure will rise to 80 percent following the 2030 model year. With this companies must guarantee a battery capacity of 70 percent for at least eight years/100,000 miles. This figure will rise to 75 percent after the 2030 model year. 

Electric vehicles after 2035 will also have to offer a minimum range of 150 miles (241km). As part of the move towards the total ban in 2035, the State will also enforce the motion that 35 percent of new vehicles sold will need to be zero emissions by 2026. This will increase to 68 percent of vehicles sold by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035 when the ban comes into full force. 

As for ICE vehicles, these will still be on the road and can be sold secondhand up to and after 2035. That said, between 2026 and 2035 these vehicles will face more stringently regulation employed by California’s low-emission vehicle (LEV) rules.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) will still be available, even after the 2035 ban but only 20 percent of any automakers vehicles can be PHEVs. These vehicles will also have to adhere to new regulations, such as having a minimum range of 50 miles (80km).

California also plans to help the localities that suffer from the highest pollution levels. These will include incentives to help those on lower incomes to purchase electric cars. 

According to CARB, the ACC2 regulation will cut help to cut emissions from road vehicles by up to 50 percent from 2026-2040. This is the equivalent of around a billion barrels of unburned petroleum. 

This will have a huge health knock-on effect and is expected to save $13 billion in healthcare costs and massively reduce the number of pollution-related deaths and health issues. 

This is great news for the US but as we mentioned in our feature yesterday many other countries are doing this sooner. The UK and many European counties are enforcing the ban on the sales of ICE vehicles in 2030. 

Some countries, including Norway, which has been truly progressive in their transition to electric vehicles, are taking this even further with the ban coming into force in 2025. Belgium is expected to follow suit in 2026 with Austria in 2027. 

So, why isn’t this happening sooner in the USA? The obvious answer is the amount of money tied up in ICE vehicles. Plus, convincing the public that electric vehicles are the way to go. Some would also argue the 2035 date allows time for manufacturers to transition this. 

Ultimately, in an oversimplified model, it will come down to supply and demand economics. This will come from greater public awareness which will create demand and the auto industry offering an affordable supply of electric vehicles to satisfy this. Creating this demand will be no simple feat, though, especially with so many myths currently surrounding electric vehicles. Public education here will be key.

It’s important that the industry reacts to all this and helps lead the way. This in turn will help to create greater public awareness and, hopefully, boost demand. Add in official regulations and this should help facilitate the transition to zero emissions vehicles. 

Tesla have been the shining example of an automaker leading the way and continues to do so in the US and around the globe. The brand’s Model Y could become the world’s best-selling vehicle this year. 

The three biggest US automakers, including Ford, General Motors and Toyota, have all announced they see the future as electric and are making big moves in this direction with huge investments. 

Several US automakers have announced they will only sell electric vehicles before the 2035 date. For example, Buick has committed to an all-electric future and will only produce all-electric cars by the end of 2030. 

Several other automakers which sell vehicles in the US have also committed to 2030 for selling only electric cars. This includes Fiat, who are part of the Stellantis, which will become electric-only between 2025 and 2030. Swedish brand Volvo will also become an all-electric car company by 2030. 

Hopefully, the ACC2 regulation will be the start of highlighting the pollution problem in the mainstream and make more people aware of the issues with ICE vehicles, and why it’s essential that we transition towards a zero emissions electric future. If the demand is there the automakers will certainly speed up their operations and this can only be good for everyone and the planet. 

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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