Nichols has been working with California Governor Jerry Brown for the better part of 40 years in a coordinated effort for California to lead the way when it comes to stricter emissions requirements. As it is, California has forced some automakers to reluctantly produce so-called "compliance" vehicles like the Fiat 500e and Honda Fit EV. Those cars are produced in relatively low quantities specifically to meet minimum zero-emissions vehicles requirements from the most populous US state.
For all of those efforts, the state is now considered a key cog in the machine that is getting automakers to meet the 54.5 miles per gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandate for 2025 (which will be closer to 40 mpg in real-world mpg). This year, California is hoping for 2.7 percent of the vehicles sold in the state to be zero emissions.
Taking a look at the bigger picture, Brown is looking for the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, and is attempting to write such a mandate into law.