GRA
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GCR: Why are so many electric cars (still) only sold in California?

Wed May 23, 2018 6:26 pm

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1116846_why-are-so-many-electric-cars-still-only-sold-in-california

. . . According to reader Mike Kamm (H/T Mike), even several of the electric cars that used to be sold in the Northeast are now nearly impossible to find on dealers' lots, at least in his home state of New York. New York is one of nine Northeastern states that have signed on to California's Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program. Among the cars he says he can no longer find at dealerships are the VW e-Golf, Smart Electric Drive (that is, any Smart), and BMW i3.

Green Car Reports has confirmed with Hyundai that its two newest electric cars, the Ioniq Electric and the Kona Electric will only be sold in California. Subaru's new plug-in Crosstrek Hybrid may be limited to the Golden State too.

This was the year all of that was supposed to change, as the arcane "travel provision" of California's ZEV program expired, preventing automakers from counting electric cars sold in California toward requirements in other states. So what gives?

We asked Simon Mui, senior scientist and director for California vehicles and fuels with the Natural Resources Defense Council for his take on why more electric cars aren't showing up outside of California despite the expiration of the travel provision.

The short answer is that the six largest automakers, those that are subject to the ZEV provision, have already amassed enough credits in every state under the travel provision to carry them into next year or beyond before they have to worry about selling cars outside California. Even some intermediate-size automakers, such as Hyundai, which have lower requirements and can rely more on plug-in hybrid models than pure electrics to meet their mandates, have built up enough credits under the travel provision that they won't have to sell cars outside the state for years.

Tesla also sells credits that it earns but doesn't need, which gives some automakers another way to avoid building many electric cars at all.

Since cars are large, heavy, and expensive to ship, automakers concentrate their distribution in certain regions. And since California has the most established electric car market—along with favorable weather and more buyers already educated about electric-vehicles—it makes economic sense for them to concentrate their sales on the West Coast. . . .

Other regions, such as the Northeast and the Rocky Mountain West, have also been traditional hotbeds of interest in SUVs, crossover vehicles, and other all-wheel-drive models. So far, few SUVs or crossovers have been offered as electric models but that is starting to change.

With more electric crossovers and SUVs coming on the market, ZEV credit requirements ramping up, and the expiration of the travel provision, Mui expects that 2019 will be the year more electric cars will become available outside California.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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DarthPuppy
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Re: GCR: Why are so many electric cars (still) only sold in California?

Wed May 23, 2018 6:48 pm

I think the key is that the car makers aren't really interested in making the transition to EVs. Everyone except Tesla and Nissan are doing the bare minimum required for compliance.

Arguably, Tesla is hurting this progression by selling their credits and thereby allowing the other car makers to continue to stall. But I can appreciate that Tesla needs to convert their credits into cash to succeed. And facilitating the others to stall just gives Tesla and Nissan more of a head start.

It is a shame we don't have better requirements at the Federal level.
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RonDawg
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Re: GCR: Why are so many electric cars (still) only sold in California?

Thu May 24, 2018 7:20 am

To be fair, the eGolf is hard to find in California as well. Per Cars.com, there's only two left in SoCal at all, most on this side of the country are primarily in the Bay Area, with some in Oregon.

For whatever reason, VWoA has yet to release the 2018 model in the US, but VW Canada is already selling them. The ones that you can still find brand new are actually 2017's, built in mid-late 2017.
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armmynissanleaf
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Re: GCR: Why are so many electric cars (still) only sold in California?

Thu May 24, 2018 7:28 am

This is already spreading well. Adoption and change of mind take time. I think in 10 years a lot will be changed with Electric Car adoption.
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cmwade77
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Re: GCR: Why are so many electric cars (still) only sold in California?

Fri May 25, 2018 2:49 pm

Simply put, because we have laws on the books that says a certain percentage of the vehicles that any manufacturer sells in our state must be electric with a range of at least something like 80 miles (if an plugin hybrid has this range it qualifies as well). Which unfortunately is why EV ranges are still so low, if we would step up that minimum range requirement, it would benefit everyone. This is why you don't see a lot of Mitsubishi and Suburu dealerships in California right now, as the law only applies to manufacturers that sell more than a certain number of cars in California.

GRA
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Re: GCR: Why are so many electric cars (still) only sold in California?

Fri May 25, 2018 3:44 pm

cmwade77 wrote:Simply put, because we have laws on the books that says a certain percentage of the vehicles that any manufacturer sells in our state must be electric with a range of at least something like 80 miles (if an plugin hybrid has this range it qualifies as well). Which unfortunately is why EV ranges are still so low, if we would step up that minimum range requirement, it would benefit everyone. This is why you don't see a lot of Mitsubishi and Suburu dealerships in California right now, as the law only applies to manufacturers that sell more than a certain number of cars in California.

Not sure what you're trying to say here, as Subaru qualifies as an intermediate volume manufacturer in California: https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/zevcredits/2016zevcredits.htm

There's also no shortage of Subaru dealers in the state, given the large number of Californians who ski and/or engage in other active outdoors recreation for which Subarus (esp. the wagons/CUVs) are well suited.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

DarthPuppy
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Re: GCR: Why are so many electric cars (still) only sold in California?

Tue May 29, 2018 6:10 pm

cmwade77 wrote: if we would step up that minimum range requirement, it would benefit everyone.


Maybe not quite everyone. I've seen a lot of debate on this forum where some people champion short range EVs. For those for whom the 80 mile range is plenty even after allowing for degradation, paying for and lugging around the excess battery capacity is simply not efficient in their view.

Having choice I think is really what will benefit everyone. The vehicles can start with 80 and have upgrade options where those who want more range can buy the larger battery pack. This option can be boosted through the program if it gives more credits for each car based on the range. Perhaps 1 credit for a car with 80 mile range, 1.5 for ones with 120 mile range, 2 for those with 160 mile range, etc.
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dm33
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Re: GCR: Why are so many electric cars (still) only sold in California?

Tue May 29, 2018 6:40 pm

GCR is another thin skinned site that bans people who don't laud whatever reporting they do. They are not a credible site. Elon would love them as long as they support Tesla.

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