In a major move to combat climate change, in September, 2020, an executive order was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom that will require all new passenger vehicles sold by 2035 meet zero-emissions standards. California’s history of regulating and requiring alternate fueled-zero emissions vehicles have previously met opposition when years ago, big car manufacturers got together and used their power to overcome the law and forced the industry to not create alternate fueled vehicles in the numbers that were requested.
There are, in fact, other policies that could also be effective in achieving zero-emission standards. The Clean Air Acts Amendment (CAAA) has set up a list of requirements for certain types of vehicles. These are guidelines initially setup in the 1970s by the Environmental Protection Agency. They have since been updated in 1990. They have said that a certain number of municipal fleets must be low-emission vehicles. However, these can still be run by gas, they just must not pollute too much. The EPA has been working very hard to push vehicles that do not pollute. However, they are mostly interested in vehicles with low emissions instead of zero. Because of this the internal combustion engine has been able to keep up and reduce their emissions enough to remain legal. If the EPA wanted to really make ground they would need to pass policy that will create radical change due to a zero emission policy.
Electric Vehicles or EV’s have been around for quite some time. In fact they appeared around the same time as the modern car (around 1880). EV’s are cars that do not have an internal combustion engine of any kind. Instead, they are powered by batteries that juice up an electric motor (usually the size of a watermelon) to move the car and run its appliances (radio, A/C, etc.). They have many advantages over the internal combustion engines. One advantage is that, these cars can be charged everywhere, from your house or from a charging station, and offer from a 100 mile range up to 300 mile range on a full charge and the cost to charging it up is very cheap. The EPA stated a comparison between 2013 EV’s and Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles (ICEV), where for every 25 miles a Tesla Model S (EV) would spend $0.97 while a Ford Taurus (ICEV) would spend $3.25 (Wikipedia, 2014). Another advantage is that the EV’s emit zero emissions to the air, so its eco-friendly. Lastly, is that these cars are very easy for maintenance. In the documentary film Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006), a comparison is shown between the parts that require replacement on ICE powered cars and an EV, with the garages stating that “they bring the electric cars in every 5,000 miles to rotate the tires, fill the windshield washer fluid and send them back out again”. No need to worry about the engine because it only has one moving part. So up till now it’s a win, win, win for the EV. Why aren’t people buying EV’s?