Virginia may cut ties with California's electric car base.  Is this important?

Virginia may cut ties with California’s electric car base. Is this important?

California has Sale Ban Gasoline-only cars by 2035. After that, all new cars, trucks and SUVs should be electric, with one-fifth of new cars being cut off to be gas/electric hybrids.

No less than 17 countries tied to California emissions standards – including Virginia, According to Attorney General Jason Miyareswho is not particularly keen on that.

Virginia Republicans now want to separate Virginia law from California standards. State Senator Steve Newman, of Bedford County, says he is already working on potential legislation. This is a philosophical and political concept. Philosophically, Republicans aren’t quite as concerned about carbon emissions as Democrats are and no doubt believe that Virginia’s laws should be made in Richmond, not Sacramento. Politically, no Republican would ever suffer from running against California.

Suppose Virginia severed ties with the California government. The question is not whether that will maintain Virginia’s gas consumption but for how long.

Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover It all happened last year To halt sales of new gas and diesel cars in “leading markets” by 2035 — and all markets by 2040. Meanwhile, more than two dozen fleet operators — including Uber and LeasePlan — have pledged to use only zero-emissions vehicles in their fleets by 2030, “or earlier, as markets permit.” If Uber means it, people who drive gas-powered cars won’t be able to land in ride-sharing vans anymore.

Even before this pledge, some of these companies planned more ambitious transformations. General Motors has set a goal for 2035 to phase out gas-powered cars, in any market, not just “flagship” cars. Volvo said last year that it expects to be fully electric even earlier – by 2030. Ford has said its European cars will be 100% electric by the same year. It is true that what is being sold in Paris, France, may not be what is being sold in Paris, Virginia, but it certainly shows where the market is headed. In keeping with its name, Jaguar is moving faster; It says it will be fully electric by 2025.

Companies that haven’t been part of this global undertaking are still moving toward an electric future, just at a different pace — sometimes slower, but sometimes faster.

Stylantis – formerly Fiat Chrysler – announced in August It will phase out petrol versions of so-called “muscle cars” like the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger by the end of 2023. These models will continue, but with electric versions.

Volkswagen Says 2026 will be the last year to produce gas-powered cars. Honda Says It will stop producing gas-powered cars by 2040. Toyota, the most cautious major automaker, has set a target by 2050 to phase out gas-powered cars.

Some of these deadlines may be delayed, but the point seems clear: Gas-powered cars are going away. Virginia doesn’t have to abide by California’s ban, but the free market—those classically more conservative stuff—will enforce a ban no matter what Virginia does. Or, if you want to be picky about it, automakers will decide what type of cars are available, whether or not car buyers want electric cars. Republicans may feel the political excitement of attacking California, and the philosophical complacency of Virginia making its own decisions, but they won’t save the gasoline-powered car. They may be able to extend its life for a few years but the future will be electric somehow.

This does not mean that there will not be any gas-powered cars. There will be used cars on the road for many years, but if you want to buy a new gas-powered car, your choices in the future will be very limited – and eventually you will probably have no choice at all.

This is not to say that Virginia should or should not limit itself to California’s rules, but to show the economic reality against which this political debate is going. The car market is about to undergo a radical transformation. This may all seem fanciful now. While electric car sales are booming (42.7% increase in 2021 During 2020 nationwide), the proportion of electric vehicles on the road is still very small. Even in California, which accounts for more electric vehicle sales than any other state, less than 2% of vehicles on the road are electric cars, According to Axios. In Virginia, the number is insignificant 0.27%. Electric cars account for a greater proportion of the new Car sales – 5.6% According to Cox Automotive – But there are still plenty of older models on the way.

Left to consumers, adoption of electric vehicles may continue to be somewhat slow. But as we have seen, it will not be left to consumers. Automakers have already decided to switch to electric. They didn’t make that decision in a vacuum – they’re seeing things like the (long-awaited) California ban. California is a huge market for cars – the largest in the country – so if California bans gas-powered cars, that rules out a lot of car sales unless automakers adapt. They are adapting, regardless of their own ideas about carbon emissions. Even the most demanding fossil-fuel-powered car industry executive wants to sell cars. After all, automakers love profits more than they love the internal combustion engine.

There seem to be a lot of things that need to change for this gas-to-electric transition to happen: Charging stations have to become as ubiquitous as gas stations now, and that charging process will need a lot faster. The electric grid will need to be able to handle more electric cars. There is some controversy about this. Washington Post Reports That “electric cars are the future. The grid is not ready.” But Forbes Says “Power grids can easily handle electric vehicles.” If The Post casts some doubt on electric cars and Forbes says it’s easy, don’t expect me to find out. But I’m willing to bet on one thing: If all automakers were betting hard on electric cars, there would be plenty of incentive to figure out the details. But make no mistake, this change is coming: The Bluefield Daily Telegraph I mentioned recently Even coal country Tazewell County is now looking for where to put charging stations. “We have many residents who own electric cars,” county superintendent Charles Stacey told the newspaper. In addition, tourists have it. In the most recent General Assembly session, even House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore, of Scott County, requested $15 million “to establish a grant program to expand electric vehicle infrastructure in rural and local areas of the Commonwealth.” He didn’t understand it, but the point was made.

I totally understand why Republicans don’t want Virginia to stick to California’s rules, but I have a hard time understanding some Republicans (obviously not Kilgore) for electric cars. At a recent rally in Pennsylvania, former President Donald Trump Criticize In electric cars, he quotes a friend who says he begged “let’s get rid of this stuff”. This seems strange for multiple reasons. First, Republicans, more than Democrats, like to talk about “innovation” in the market. This is innovation at work. Second, it is the states voting Republicans, far more than states voting Democrats, that benefit most economically from this transition to electric cars. Look at all the states winning big electric car battery factories: Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. Six of those eight states voted Republican in 2020, and the other two didn’t vote Democrats very often. I tend to joke that Democrats may be buying electric cars but Republicans getting the jobs to build them, but the first part of this formula isn’t quite right: I’ve only met two people in southwest Virginia with electric cars who are both Republicans. This is not a scientific sample, but the point is that economic reality is more complex than political slogans.

If Trump really wants to rebuild America’s manufacturing base, he should defend electric cars rather than mock them because it’s clear that the growth of the electric car industry (and the desire to “rebuild” the supply chain) is driving many of the biggest economic development announcements in the world. country. (Virginia’s chief economic development officer, Jason Cuban, recently cited electric vehicle manufacturing as one of the seven things driving economic growth right now.) When Glenn Yongkin was running for governor last fall, he repeatedly spoke of Virginia’s loss to other Southern states. on large employers; All the examples he mentioned are related to factories connected to electric vehicles.

Anyway, my point is that the debate over whether Virginia should be tied to California’s rules on gas-powered cars makes for a good philosophical debate and may lead to good policies, but it won’t change the basic facts of the market. One day, even the races in Bristol and Martinsville will be electric, and when that day comes, fans will shout and shout for their favorite driver just as they do now.

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