California Governor Jerry Brown wants the state to spend $2.5 billion to help drivers purchase electric cars. Part of that money will be used to set up a network of charging stations. Brown’s goal — some say — is to cement his legacy as an environmentalist who has turned his state into the world’s global leader in the battle against climate change.
Brown wants to have five million electric cars on the road by 2030. Currently California has 350,000 of them. This is an increase of 15 times the current number. California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols says the goal will mean 40% of the state’s vehicles will be clean emitters by 2030. That’s up from 5% now.
“We think that’s a very reasonable proposal. It’s not a stretch,” she said.
Here’s the plan:
• Help people purchase the emission-free vehicles with $200 million in subsidies available in the next eight years
• California currently offers up to a $7,000 subsidy
• Most subsidies given out are much smaller
• Establish 250,000 electric charging stations — up from 14,000
• Establish 200 hydrogen fueling stations — up from 31
Financing the plan will be tricky. Brown wants to use money from the California Energy Commission and from the state’s cap and trade program to pay for the vehicles and charging stations.
Democrat Assemblyman Phil Ting want legislation passed in California that requires all vehicles to be emission free by 2040. That’s a problem. Automakers also don’t find electric vehicles to be all that profitable.
And they say the emission goal is unrealistic.
Here’s another reason why Brown and Ting’s goals may be more of a dream than reality. Consumers aren’t real crazy about electric vehicles. And while the number of electric options is increasing by leaps and bounds, people still prefer SUVs and pickups.
That said consumers are beginning to warm up to them and to the idea of having a robot drive a vehicle for them. The American Automobile Association (AAA) found:
• 63% of drivers are afraid of driving in a self-driving vehicle
• That’s down from 78% a year ago
• Younger drivers think the idea is much more acceptable than those who are older
• 75% of women don’t like the idea
• 52% of men have that same concern
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao wants driverless car companies to do a better job of educating the public on how safe those vehicles are compared to driving their own. But the bottom line is just 13% of us feel safe sharing the road with them.
AAA’s Greg Brannon agrees with Chao. “Education, exposure and experience will likely help ease consumer fears,” he said.
BTW, the AAA survey says:
• 75% of U.S. drivers say they are above average drivers
• 79% of men and Baby Boomers say their driving skills are superior
“American drivers are very confident in their driving abilities which may explain some hesitation to give up full control to a self-driving vehicle,” Brannon said.
Source links: Insurance Journal — link 1, link 2