Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk has slammed the state's zero-emissions vehicle program because he says it makes it too easy for other automakers to work around having to make and sell electric vehicles by letting them buy zero-emissions credits instead. Tesla is currently ramping up efforts to produce the Model 3 EV it plans to start selling late next year. General Motors is also expected to sell EVs in decent numbers after the Chevrolet Bolt goes on sale later this year. EVs from many other OEMs are far more limited.
Musk may be looking a gift horse in the mouth, though, as his electric-vehicle company has generated about $600 million from zero-emissions vehicles credit sales, but Musk still says the bar needs to be raised in terms of mandated zero-emissions vehicle production minimums. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) may be thinking along the same lines, and is planning to meet later this year to rejigger the state's zero-emissions requirements.
Meantime, Toyota executive Michael Lord cites lack of demand as a primary reason why most automakers won't meet state minimums anytime soon. Supporting his case is the fact that lower gas prices seem to be pulling down sales of hybrids while bolstering demand for SUVs. Either way, zero-emissions vehicles account for fewer than one percent of US new-vehicle sales. The Natural Resources Defense Council says that number may reach six percent in 2025, which is still far short of California's goal.