California Dreaming.

Those who have read some of my previous articles know I’m not a fan of electric cars. So, when I heard that California’s Governor Newsom issued an executive order that will ban the sale of cars with internal combustion engines by the year 2035, I had to shake my head and say, “He’s dreamin.” Here’s why.

California is the nation’s largest auto market. From 2015 to 2018, new car sales registrations exceeded 2 million a year. In 2019, those numbers fell to around 1.9 million… but still, that’s a lot of vehicles. Now for a little perspective. In 2019, about 245,000 electric cars were sold in the US. You don’t have to have a mathematics degree to figure out there’s a big deficit there between demand and availability. Automakers will have a lot of innovating and retooling to do. Sure, they have 15 years to do it, but that’s a lot of heavy lifting to do and it ain’t gonna’ be cheap. That always translates into higher costs for the consumer.

Now let’s pretend it’s 2035 and you and about 2 million of your fellow Californian’s have all bought shiny, new, battery-powered cars. Remember… you live in the land of rolling blackouts. If the state hasn’t made a serious investment in expanding its power grid and updating its infrastructure, you may face some challenges when it comes to plugging in and charging up. Realistically, peak usage times will extend well into the night as everyone plugs in to recharge their cars after the commute to and from work. Once again, this not-so-well thought through plan ain’t gonna’ be cheap. Haven’t I already said that once?

Wouldn’t it have been smarter to layout a plan to increase California’s energy production capabilities – green and not-so green – and to improve its distribution infrastructure first? The ultimate goal would be a gradual transition to e-vehicles as the power grid becomes more robust. That sounds like a more practical… and less political… approach to getting to the same end. In my opinion, someone will nix Governor Newsome’s green dream long before 2035 once they actually think about the economic consequences of this mandate.