The California Energy Commission says The Golden State hit its previously designated EV sales target of 1.5 million electric vehicles two years ahead of its goal of 2025. This may come as no surprise to people who follow the space thanks to the huge popularity of EVs in California, though it's not the only US state with booming EV sales, and the list is growing.
According to Electrek, former California Governor Jerry Brown set the 2025 EV sales target way back in 2012. Interestingly, the only fully electric car for sale in the state when the target was set was the Nissan Leaf. The Tesla Model S came out later that year. Tesla has sold the original Roadster in years prior.
There were just thousands of EVs sold in California by 2012, but the progress since has been exponential. California had over 1.5 million EV sales on the books at the end of the third quarter 2023, though the number of fully electric models was at just over 1 million. The rest were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which, despite being "EVs," many people don't see as electric cars since they still have gas engines.
In 2023, 21% of cars sold thus far in California have been EVs. No other state can claim such high numbers. In fact, 40% of all zero-emission cars sold so far in the US in 2023 have been sold in California. The country as a whole saw 5.6% of vehicle sales as electric in 2022, which is still a huge jump from the 1-2% of recent years past.
Incentives helped California hit the EV sales milestone more quickly than it may have without them. Electrek says $2 billion in incentives have helped the state through the years. However, few people may realize that the US subsidizes fossil fuels to the tune of about $650 billion annually.
In 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom shared that the state aims to ban new gas car sales by 2035. The EPA also brought forth new plans recently that may lead to two-thirds of all car sales in the US being electric by 2032.
While California and a few other US states have impressed with EV adoption, there have been greater successes abroad. Norway is often considered the EV capital of the world, with few gas car sales remaining.
Meanwhile, China, which is home to the largest automotive market across the globe, is seeing a spike in EV sales that tops most other countries. In fact, some gas cars are becoming exceedingly difficult to sell in areas of the country.