Electric vehicles (EVs) have enjoyed rising sales in recent years as consumers become more comfortable with their cars ditching the fuel pump. But a proposed set of regulations being put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could speed up the adoption process dramatically.
The proposed legislation would require electric vehicles to account for up to two-thirds of the U.S. new automotive market by 2032. Considering EVs make up just 8.5% of the current market, this would be a significant jump. Although the goal sounds lofty, experts believe it might be more achievable than it looks at first glance.
The EPA is currently evaluating several different proposals designed to reduce emissions from consumer vehicles within the next decade. While the strictness of the various proposals varies, one thing is clear—the government is pushing hard for EV adoption.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan referred to the proposed regulations as “the strongest-ever federal pollution standards for cars and trucks.”
He went on to say, “This is a future for everyone, and we’re starting to see all of the auto industry move in this direction.”
Indeed, the number of car manufacturers producing electric vehicles has risen significantly in the past few years. Major names like Ford, GM, and Toyota are lining up alongside EV stalwart Tesla to bring new all-electric cars to market.
Experts believe having more options available, including electric alternatives to familiar gas-powered models, will encourage consumers to adopt EVs. Likewise, as more electric models become available and manufacturing techniques improve, prices will continue to fall.
Consumer Reports energy and transportation policy analyst Chris Harto told CNN, “It’s important to remember that, nearly a decade from now, electric vehicles are going to be different from what’s on the market today.”
“We’re talking about going past cost parity, so it’s going to be the same price or cheaper [as a gas-powered car],” he adds.
Better battery technology also means driving ranges will increase and fast charging will become easier. The number of charging stations nationwide is also rising steadily, and a sudden adoption boom will cause it to skyrocket.
It is worth noting that the EPA’s latest proposal is likely to change many times before it becomes official. But the sentiment behind it seems to be firmly settled. Cutting emissions to reduce climate change has been a major goal of the Biden administration and transportation accounts for 30% of all emissions in the U.S.
Naturally, transitioning the country away from gas-powered vehicles will take time. Even if two-thirds of all new vehicles being sold are electric in 2032, a whopping 80% of cars on the road would still be gas-powered.
Even so, the EPA isn’t the only force pushing for EV adoption. Carmakers around the world are also stepping up their electric car efforts by creating self-imposed initiatives to revamp their offerings over the next decade.
Perhaps the most notable case is GM, which has pledged to completely transition its passenger vehicle lineup to include only electric models by 2035. This lofty goal is notably independent of any current EPA regulations, signaling GM’s belief in electric vehicle adoption. Other manufacturers, including Jeep and Subaru, have also pledged to fully electrify their lineups in the 2030s.
Meanwhile, states are also taking matters into their own hands. California already has legislation in place that will restrict new vehicle sales to EVs and plug-in hybrids by 2035. With 14.3 million, California accounted for 46% of the total number of automobile registrations in the U.S. in 2021. So, this shift alone will create significant momentum for not only EV adoption by consumers but also production by manufacturers that don’t want to miss out on a huge slice of market share.
Regardless of whether the EPA’s latest legislation goes into effect as-is or is altered before its adoption, there seems to be no avoiding the coming era of electric cars. Undoubtedly, the 2030s will bring the beginning of a golden age for EVs—whether consumers are ready or not.