California’s Zero-Emissions Mandate Now Affecting ~28% Of US Vehicle Owners

Despite the fact that California represents just one amongst a great many distinct US states, the Golden State’s zero-emissions vehicle mandate has had an outsized impact on the country — with the mandate now affecting roughly 28% of all US passenger vehicle owners, according to recent reports.

This is largely owing to the economic clout that accompanies the size of the Californian market, which allows state officials to place requirements on those that operate in the state’s market that smaller markets/states aren’t often able to individually (not easily anyways) do.

fiat 500e ocean california

Following the implementation of its zero-emissions vehicle mandate, a number of other states — New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, etc. — quickly adopted the rules as well, notably expanding the influence of the mandate.

With the approaching toughening of this mandate (in 2018), the state’s manufacturer requirements are set to become even more of a force of influence. Already, some manufacturers have complained about being forced to offer electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) for sale that have to be sold at a loss — a tightening of requirements will likely exacerbate these complaints (whether they have truth to them or not).

Autoblog continues this line of thought, also noting that “some automakers say California’s zero-emissions mandate has also created regulatory hurdles. Mercedes-Benz speaks of the ‘administrative and logistical burdens’ caused by the compliance issues, while a number of Porsche Macan vehicles slated for California delivery were held up earlier this year because of certification delays from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).”

With regard to the tightening of CARB requirements, the coverage notes that, by 2018, “automakers won’t be able to get the kind of credit they received for selling hybrids and low-emission gas vehicle credits that they do now. Already, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has said his company loses as much as $14,000 on each Fiat 500e electric vehicle sold.”

It should be remembered, though, that this is Marchionne who we’re talking about here… So who knows if there’s any truth to that assertion. And if there is, that’s obviously a problem whose blame should be placed at his feet. A great many other companies, after all, are able to sell compelling EVs at a profit.

More important to Marchionne may simply be that he sees electric cars as a threat to his business. And maybe that’s how all the CEOs of major automakers see them, but they are more politely following the rules set forth by regulators to move the industry along.

Related: What’s Actually New In The Electric Car World?

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