With close to 600,000 plug-in electric cars sold in California, the state is on track for its goal of 1.5 million in 2025 and 5 million by 2030.

According to the California Center for Jobs and the Economy (CCJE), sales of plug-in electric cars in California increased in Q2 2019 by 8.1% year-over-year to 38,332, which is about 7.9% of total automotive sales volume.

Just like in Europe, BEVs and PHEVs split their ways:

  • BEVs went up by 38.2% year-over-year to 26,754 at 5.5% market share
  • PHEVs went down by 28.0% year-over-year to 11,578 at 2.4% market share

One of the most interesting numbers is cumulative sales of Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) of 596,566 as of August 2019, which is close to half of the 1.3 million sold in the U.S.

The number of ZEVs currently is at about 11.9% of the 2030 goal of 5 million set by an Executive Order, however, only 6.7% are true zero emission vehicles (BEVs or FCVs), as the remaining 5.2% are PHEVs.

There shouldn't be any problems with reaching the sub-goal of 1.5 million ZEVs by 2025 (which requires an average of just around 35,000 sales per quarter. To reach the 2030 sales goal, the average must be closer to 100,000 per quarter.

"As part of the AB 32 climate change program, Executive Order B-48-18 administratively created a goal of 5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roads by 2030. This action expands on the prior Executive Order B-16-2012, which set a goal of 1.5 million by 2025, with a sub-goal that their market share is expanding at that point. While these goals were set administratively, they are embodied in the state’s climate change strategies, and both public and utility ratepayer funds are being used to create the refueling infrastructure required for these motorists.

Rather than only true ZEVs, the numbers in the Executive Order and previous interpretations by the agencies indicate the goal is to be achieved by both BEVs that run only on electricity and combustion PHEVs that run on both electricity and motor fuels. Consequently, only a portion of the vehicles being counted to meet the zero emission goal—roughly half based on current sales volumes—will in fact produce zero emissions when driven. Additionally, FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles) also would count towards the ZEV total, but CNCDA data show total market share for these vehicles to date at around 0.1%.

Using this more flexible interpretation that includes both true ZEVs and combustion PHEVs, total PEV sales since 2009 account for 11.9% of the 2030 goal. True ZEV sales, however, account for only 6.7%."

One of the main challenges is to actually have those 5 million ZEVs on the roads as it's already estimated that a significant percent (7.5% or more) of plug-ins sold might be no longer be on the roads of California.

"In addition to the distortion that comes from including combustion vehicles in the ZEV total, the Executive Orders also refer to ZEVs on California roads while the agency accountings rely on sales as the measure of progress. Using prior Energy Commission reviews to account for ZEVs no longer on the roads as a result of accidents, moves out of state, and other factors that over time remove vehicles from the active fleet, the actual progress rate consistent with the Executive Order language of “vehicles on California’s roads” would be 11.0% rather than the 11.9% shown in the chart below.

As discussed in the Q1 2018 report, carpool lane sticker data, however, suggests the differences may be even higher. While the “purple” decal numbers for cars bought beginning in 2019 track closely with the PEV sales since January, the “red” decal numbers for cars bought in prior years cover only 59% of PEVs sold in the applicable period. This discrepancy suggests a much higher turnover of PEVs “off California’s roads” than in prior estimates."

Source: California Center for Jobs and the Economy via Green Car Congress