California Governor Vetoes Bill Incentivizing Converting ICE Cars to Zero-Emission

Senate Bill 301 would have provided up to $4,000 to California residents converting eligible fuel-powered vehicles to a zero-emission powertrain.


A bill that would have provided up to $4,000 to California residents converting eligible fuel-powered vehicles to a zero-emission powertrain was vetoed June 14 by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Senate Bill 301, introduced in February 2023 by state Sens. Anthony Portantino, D-25, and Josh Newman, D-29, was passed unanimously in May by both the state Assembly and Senate.

As of June 17, the bill was back in the Senate for consideration of Newsom’s veto.

The bill sought to establish the Zero-Emission Aftermarket Conversion Project (ZCAP). It proposed funding the rebates by moving money in the state budget from another clean transportation project.

The bill said a state board would develop guidelines defining qualifying conversions and eligible replacement motors, power systems and parts; establish warranty requirements for motors and battery packs; and establish eligibility criteria for the rebates.

The bill also would have required an inspection of the converted vehicle by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair, and for the converted vehicle to have a range of at least 100 miles.

Finally, the bill would have required 25% of rebates provided through the ZCAP program to go to people with household incomes at or below 400% of the federal poverty level.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), which supported the bill, released a statement June 15 expressing its disappointment in Newsom’s veto.

SEMA said California already has several programs incentivizing the purchase of new zero-emission vehicles, but nothing to help residents convert existing gas- and diesel-powered vehicles, which would bolster clean air, reduce carbon emissions and fuel job growth.

“California's reputation as an innovation hub rings hollow with this veto,” the statement said. “SB 301 was poised to be a catalyst for progress. This bill represented a chance to supercharge the [aftermarket] industry, aligning seamlessly with the governor's stated priority of advancing cleaner vehicles.”

"SEMA is profoundly disappointed by Gov. Newsom's lack of foresight in vetoing SB 301," said Mike Spagnola, SEMA's president and CEO. "This legislation would have advanced environmental sustainability and leveled the playing field for aftermarket conversions while fostering innovation, supporting small businesses, and providing consumers with affordable and sustainable transportation options."

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