FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – On Aug. 25, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill announcing that “California now has a groundbreaking, world-leading plan to achieve 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.”
The plan will be implemented in stages. In four years, 35% of all new cars sold must be electric vehicles (EVs). That requirement will increase to 68% by 2030, until the goal of 100% is reached by 2035.
Mechanics in California have mixed feelings about the state’s plan. The new legislation doesn’t phase Reuben Salcedo, repair shop owner of Reuben’s Automotive in Madera.
Salcedo said he is not worried about his business because there are so many gas-powered cars still on the road. He also said the bill fails to see the bigger picture of energy demand. After a record-high heatwave in September, Salcedo doesn’t believe there will enough power to support the governor’s plan.
The California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) sent state-wide flex alerts during the record heat wave earlier this month to reduce the strain on the state’s electrical grid. Salcedo thinks more EVs will add more issues to the current electrical grid problems.
The California Energy Commission projects an estimated 8 million EVs in 2030 would add a load between 1,000 megawatts to 5,500 megawatts to the grid, depending on the time of day.
“While these numbers in themselves don’t likely present an issue, the concern is more about when these vehicles charge and the impact to the overall load shape,” Cal-ISO continued.
A study published in the science journal Nature said electric cars could change peak electricity demand hours for the nation’s electrical grids. It found that to meet future energy demands, drivers will need to plug in during the daytime at charging stations instead of always charging their cars at home. The study also predicts more grid storage will be needed to meet demand.
“In the future, we envision signals that will help consumers know when to charge and even when they could discharge to support the grid,” said Cal-ISO officials.
Another issue Salcedo highlighted was what to do after EVs’ lithium-ion batteries have run their course. Salcedo said his shop is unable to recycle lithium-ion car batteries. Most local shops can’t recycle lithium car batteries, he said, so they are forced to send clients to dealerships instead.
Richard Young, owner of Electric Labs auto shop in Fresno (which services gasoline-powered vehicles), has a different outlook from Salcedo. Young said the transition may be a long way away, but will still “hurt us a lot.”
Young said he doesn’t know how they will make the transition, and the only things they can replace on EVs now are tires and brakes.