The California Energy Commission said the Golden State hit its previously designated target of 1.5 million electric vehicle sales two years ahead of its goal of 2025.
This may come as no surprise to people who follow the space, thanks to the huge popularity of EVs in California. It's not the only U.S. state with booming EV sales, as the list is growing.
According to Electrek, former California Gov. Jerry Brown set the 2025 EV sales target in 2012. The only fully electric car for sale in the state at that time was the Nissan Leaf. The Tesla Model S came out later that year. Tesla had sold the original Roadster in years prior.
There were just thousands of EVs sold in California by 2012, but the progress since has been exponential. California had more than 1.5 million EV sales on the books at the end of the third quarter 2023, though the number of fully electric models was at just over 1 million. The rest were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which, despite being "EVs," many people don't see as electric cars since they still have gas engines.
In 2023, 21% of cars sold thus far in California have been EVs. No other state can claim such high numbers. In fact, 40% of all zero-emission cars sold so far in the U.S. in 2023 have been sold in California. The country as a whole saw 5.6% of vehicle sales as electric in 2022, which is still a huge jump from the 1% to 2% of recent years.
Incentives helped California hit the EV sales milestone more quickly than it may have without them. Electrek said $2 billion in incentives have helped the state through the years. However, few people may realize the U.S. subsidizes fossil fuels to the tune of about $650 billion annually.
In 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state aims to ban new gas car sales by 2035. The EPA also brought forth new plans recently that may lead to two-thirds of all car sales in the U.S. being electric by 2032.
While California and a few other states have impressed with EV adoption, there have been greater successes abroad. Norway is often considered the EV capital of the world, with few gas car sales remaining.
Meanwhile, China, home to the largest automotive market in the world, is seeing a spike in EV sales that tops most other countries. In fact, some gas cars are becoming exceedingly difficult to sell in areas of the country.