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California’s recent goal to have 100% Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) by 2035 represents a big opportunity for innovation in related services. An Executive Order by Governor Newsom continues aggressive leadership in California by focusing on vehicle emissions. California has focused on vehicle emissions, which are over 20% of its Greenhouse Gas Emissions, with AB 1803 and AB 32 and former Governor Brown’s Executive Order to have 5 million EVs by 2030. These executive orders are actually directed toward the Air Resources Board to create the rules to achieve the stated goals.

There are two thoughts around this. One, it isn’t much faster than we were already going and Second, it supports investment in innovative charging services.

It is impressive but fairly slow. Why couldn’t we do this much faster?  With over 15 ZEVs on the market, more than double that in Plug-in Hybrids, and 10 more ZEVs arriving in 2021 there are plenty of models. Tesla has outlined the road to a sub $100 per kWh battery and several light-duty trucks will be coming on the market.  I would have liked to see a more aggressive approach that would have rewarded early innovators more.

The most important takeaway is that this does set the stage for innovation around ZEVs. Commonly vehicle innovation is associated with large OEM’s like Ford and Toyota, while there are companies shaking that up like Tesla, most don’t have the patient financial backing to compete.  The big innovation is going to be around supporting this goal. What does that entail?  New “fueling” infrastructure, charging and hydrogen, that needs development and user education. Tesla built a Fast Charging network that has supported their growth, it is easy to imagine OEMs and others investing in ones for new cars.  

There are several behaviors and preferences EV owners exhibit that could be opportunities for developing charging with auxiliary services.  Putting Fast Chargers (50 kw or greater) in shopping centers or concierge charging like free wire are two examples of possibilities. This EO gives startups a stronger position against skepticism when seeking investment. I am really looking forward to seeing what innovations come out of this. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

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College of Engineering & Computer Science at Sacramento State


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