Stricter ZEV mandate would prevent automakers from just buying their way out of actually making EVs

California's current credits system hinders electric vehicle adoption, Assemblywoman says.

California Assemblywoman Autumn Burke says the state's current legal situation allows many automakers to skirt zero-emissions requirements by allowing them to buy zero-emissions credits. That's why she is pushing the state's Air Resources Board (CARB) to enact stricter laws that mandate more electric vehicles. Burke wants the state to legislate that 15 percent of new vehicles sold there must be emissions-free by 2025, Reuters says.

Such a law change would tweak the state's ZEV Action plan, which was laid out in 2012 and set a goal of having 1.5 million battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles on the state's roads by 2025. In 2014, California joined the Multi-State ZEV Action Plan, which set a goal of having 3.3 million zero-emissions vehicles the roads of eight states, including Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Combined, those states account for almost one-fourth of the US light-duty vehicle market. Currently, about four percent of the new vehicles sold in California are zero-emissions. The state is home to about 33 million vehicles, including about 200,000 ZEVs.

Burke, who is based in the Los Angeles area, is hoping her mandate is put into place by the end of next year, and isn't alone in saying that California's laws lack the teeth to make the state's zero-emissions vehicle goals a reality. Earlier this month, Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk took CARB to task, saying that the state's laws allow other automakers to avoid producing and selling EVs because of the credits system.

Unlike Burke, however, Musk has some skin in the game because the revenue Tesla collects by selling the emissions credits it generates from its electric vehicle sales is on the downswing. Specifically, Tesla generated $57 million in first-quarter zero-emissions credit sales, but didn't disclose second-quarter figures, indicating a substantial drop.

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