Our special series "California Dreaming" takes a look at the issues that are threatening the California Dream, and the people working to keep the dream alive. With the automotive industry going through an electric vehicle revolution, the Golden State is leading the way.
For years, there have been plans to phase out gasoline-powered cars, but the effort picked up speed with Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order in September calling for 100% of in-state sales of new cars and trucks to be zero-emission by 2035. The order puts California at the forefront and on the road to an electric vehicle future.
"California has always been a leader in electrifying transportation. On top of that, we see a lot of policy efforts happening. So we're gonna see more and more vehicle models and more choices for consumers," said Robert Barrosa, a senior director of sales, business development and marketing at Electrify America.
Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego are big markets for electric vehicles in California.
"So there's many, many startups that are trying to enter the space, startups like Faraday Future, because this technology is so disruptive," said Barrosa. "More competition is better for the consumer. At the end of the day, the consumers win and the environment wins."
"California had some of the worst air pollution in the country back in the 60s and 70s. And that's one of the reasons people have adopted EVs - they're cleaner," said Dave Kunz, an automotive specialist with KABC-TV. "There really aren't a lot of downsides to driving an electric car. Maybe you can't quite as easily jump in your car and drive three states away on vacation. But for most of your driving, an electric car is just like the car you have now, it just runs on electricity."
"Public charging infrastructure is going to be key," said Jessica Caldwell, an executive director of insights with Edmunds.com. "They're already over 73,000 charging stations with an additional 123,000 planned by 2025."
Kunz says looking at everything happening in the auto industry, what they are doing and what the government is mandating - it's probably safe to say electric vehicles are the future.