California’s relentless push toward electric vehicle adoption created the “compliance car” that forced many automakers to at least dabble with the new technology over the last decade.
In 2014, then-Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne famously 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 detractors, is now paying off with record sales.
The bigger question is how the nation’s biggest new-vehicle market gets to 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and how many states will follow.
Nearly 15 percent of California’s new-vehicle registrations in the first quarter came from battery-electric vehicles, which outsold hybrids at 11 percent, 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.
EVs have become so popular that charging stations on holiday weekends such as July 4 often have waiting lines. Even new and rare EVs such as the Rivian R1T pickup and Lucid Air sedan are not so rare on Golden State highways.
But getting to the state’s mandated goal of all EVs by 2035 won’t be easy.