Six Bills That Would Ensure California's Electric Car Future

By · September 26, 2013

Charging at the Target

The scene in San Francisco at last year's National Plug In Day.

As covered recently in this space, California is likely to remain the U.S. leader in electric cars for years to come. The state’s zero emission regulations call for 1.4 million electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen powered cars on the road by 2025.

Although the early accomplishments are impressive, there’s always been a gap between the California Air Resources Board’s tough regulations and consumer willingness to actually buy the cars. Projections by Navigant Research and others see more than 800,000 EVs on state roads by 2022, which is impressive—but short of the goal.

What if, without further encouragement, the California market is only so big, and many of the gung-ho early adopters already have their vehicles? The need for further state incentives has led to no less than six bills that have passed the California legislature and await Governor Jerry Brown’s signature. They’d go a long way to guaranteeing the kind of numbers that EV advocates want to see, which is why Plug In America is rallying the masses to contact Brown and other state officials. Here the bills are, in descending order of importance:

  • AB 8.California’s $2,500 EV rebate (from a $63 million fund)—when added to the federal tax credit—becomes a cool $10,000 off the bottom line. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project will be funded through 2023 via AB8, which includes a massive $2 billion (from vehicle license fees) state alternative fuel funding. It’s incredibly important to keep sales levels up, and Brown has said he’ll sign it.
  • SB 359. Brown says he’ll sign this one, too, which adds on another $30 million (from state programs) to promote environmentally friendly vehicles.
  • SB 286 and AB 266. These two would extend high-occupancy lane access for battery electrics and plug-in hybrids through the end of 2018. You have to ask why this is important? In congested California, many people are buying an HOV sticker, which happens to come with an electric car.
  • SB 454. Also known as the Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Open Access Act, the Senate bill would require that all public chargers in California be open to customers with credit cards. It’s part of a growing movement to open access exemplified by the Open Charge Alliance, which is working to put all public chargers on the same open-source operating system. “Charging one’s electric vehicle should be as easy as filling up a gas tank at a corner gas station,” said Senator Ellen Corbett (D-East Bay), who sponsored the legislation.
  • AB 1092. This bill incorporates rules for EV charging into California’s building code. There’s still a lot of variation between local towns and cities over how they handle charger installations, and this bill would standardize and streamline the process.

Plug In America wants Brown to sign all six bills on National Plug In Day, which is this coming weekend. It’s unclear if the governor is ready to sign all the bills, but that would certainly be the right day to throw his full weight behind electric cars.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.