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Since the introduction of the first hybrid electric vehicle a quarter of a century ago, automakers have been investing heavily in green technologies. Consumers today have more vehicle choices than ever before, including more than 35 models of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs).
What is a Zero Emission Vehicle?
A ZEV is a vehicle that emits no tailpipe emissions from its primary onboard power source. These technologies include:
• Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)
• Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
• Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
Check out what ZEVs are available to consumers today: Technology
What is the ZEV Mandate?
Back in 1990, California adopted its first ZEV sales mandate, which required automakers to produce and sell a certain percentage of ZEVs in the state. The current version of the ZEV mandate requires that 15 percent of new vehicles sold in California by 2025 be ZEVs. Nine additional states have adopted the ZEV mandate. Additionally, Governor Jerry Brown and the governors of Oregon and six Northeastern states committed in 2013 to a goal of placing 3.3 million ZEVs on their roads by 2025. ZEV sales must increase seventeen-fold to meet these requirements.
What Role Can the States Play in ZEV Sales?
While automakers are making significant investments in ZEVs, that is only one part of the equation to building a sustainable green car market. The states also play a critical role in helping develop the market, including:
• Consumer Incentives (such as rebates and tax credits)
• Access to HOV and HOT Lanes
• Infrastructure Development (electric charging stations and hydrogen refueling)
• Public Awareness
Ongoing year-after-year investment is needed by states to help grow the ZEV market.
Check out what incentives are available in your state: Incentives
What Does the Market Look Like Today?
Automakers will have to sell approximately 340,000 ZEVs each and every year from now until 2025 to meet the California program goal. Yet, despite everyone's efforts, many challenges remain. In 2015, collective ZEV sales nationwide amounted to 67,000 vehicles.
Even though 2015 was a record sales year for automakers, the percentage of ZEV sales decreased eight percent year over year in California. The Northeast states lagged in ZEV sales behind California – accounting for less than half of one percent of the regional market.
Check out Monthly ZEV Market Reports: Market Reports
Producing and marketing ZEVs are not enough by themselves to meet the sales requirement. To meet the shared goals of improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions will require substantial and sustained state support.
Check out how ZEV sales are in your state: Sales
Data sources: IHS Automotive Vehicle Registration Data and State Zero-Emission Vehicle Programs Memorandum of Understanding