California wants to end sales of new gas cars by 2035. Here are 4 key roadblocks

California wants to drive a stake into the heart of gas-powered vehicles.

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State regulators approved a policy Thursday that will ban the sale of new gas cars by 2035 in what is the country’s largest auto market.

It’s part of an ambitious plan to fight climate change by accelerating the transition to an electric future, and it’s a decision a handful of states are expected to follow.

Despite the strong demand for electric cars, sales made up only 3% of total car sales last year.

The race now is for automakers to increase the production of electric vehicles, but that alone won’t be enough.

Analysts say the industry faces several challenges in ending sales of gas-powered cars by 2035.

Electric vehicles are still really expensive

The average price of an electric vehicle is currently $66,000 — well beyond the means of many people.

“That’s not going to fit in a lot of people’s monthly budgets at this point in time,” says Jessica Caldwell, executive director of Insights at Edmunds. “They [automakers] have to introduce the more expensive, more costly, higher-margin vehicles first to make the money to start to finance some of the lower-cost vehicles.”

Car companies like Chevrolet and General Motors are aiming to release more-affordable options in the coming years. A key provision of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act also provides a revamped $7,500 tax credit when buying a new electric car, although it has a number of caveats.

But to make cars more affordable, electric vehicles will need to make batteries more cost-effective.

“The batteries are simply more expensive than the internal combustion engine,” says Carla Bailo, president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research. “Most manufacturers are saying by 2025 batteries will be on par with the cost of an internal combustion engine and when that happens, that will definitely help bring the price down.”

However, making batteries cheaper presents another challenge.

China dominates the critical minerals market

China currently dominates the rare earth mineral market and the auto industry has long relied on the country to source EV batteries.

The Biden administration is pushing automakers to reduce their dependence on China, but that’s easier said than done.

“Something in the order of about 90% of the lithium that’s used in batteries is processed in China right now, which is not a desirable situation,” says Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst with Guidehouse Insights.

And finding new sources or partners won’t be easy.

“Obtaining minerals from places with which we have trade agreements is going to be the biggest challenge because there’s huge competition for that,” says Michelle Krebs, executive analyst with Cox Automotive. “Everybody’s scrambling to cut deals for the minerals.”

But even if companies are able to ramp up production, they could run into another problem.

The EV infrastructure is still pretty limited

Not only are there too few charging stations across the country, many existing stations don’t always work.

A recent survey by J.D. Power found that the limited availability and reliability of charging stations is a key factor holding people back from buying electric vehicles.

The federal government is spending $7.5 billion to expand the country’s charging infrastructure.

But even if it gets there, it’s not clear how much an already fragile and vulnerable electric grid can handle.

Then, there’s another hurdle.

Adjusting the auto industry’s workforce

Embracing an electric future and accelerating the mass adoption of electric vehicles will require automakers to adjust their workforce.

Companies will need engineers with a different set of skills for this transition.

“They’re not going to be designing new transmissions, but instead they need people with the skills to design electric motors and electrical architectures,” says Abuelsamid.

Analysts expect to see companies lay off some workers while hiring in departments geared toward electric vehicles in the coming years.

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  1. David Peterson says

    Praise God for roadblocks. May this policy never come to pass.

  2. I agree with David Peterson……

  3. Why is nobody talking about the fact that the batteries are not biodegradeable–they mass in our landfills and leach their chemicals into the soil. Where is the EPA? Where is the Sierra Club on this? Not to mention that there is no way to increase the infrastructure sufficiently to keep the power on with even 50% of people driving and charging electric cars. This is a boondoggle where the cart is before the horse. Like worrying about how to create a biosphere on Mars when we first have to figure out how to get there. First the government should be planning for beefing up our electrical grid structure by about 8000% and THEN we can talk about everyone transitioning to electric cars.

  4. Carrie the “Government” is not going to upgrade the grid! We as taxpayers will again pay the bill for their follies. The whole “Agenda”is part of government expansion and control. As I recall the Sierra Club was initiated or helped get their agenda together to restrict our access to public property in a variety of ways by the same organization that most of our elected officials as well as most “Bureaucrats” are using to fundamentally change this Country from within. There is a very long laundry list of common sense reasons this boondoggle is not only insane it is in the long term harmful to our environment as well as the well being of our once great Country.

  5. Let’s see, a mature technology controlled by computers, with new gasoline, is very very clean to be replaced by new tech that is environmentally dirty and hazardous.

    An electricity grid that depends on wind, and solar with parts that cannot be recycled (bury it and forget it and don’t worry about contamination).

    Sure sounds good to me. Oh and did I mention that government can cut off these with a wave of a wand?

  6. It takes 500,000 pounds of rare earth minerals to make one Tesla battery pack. Can travel only 320 miles per charge. When it is HOT, the battery will drain faster and when it’s cold it will drain faster. They have more problems and higher costs to own one. Model X $110,000.
    Farmers can not run their farms on electric trackers. This is just crazy. Can not wait for Trump to get back and do away with everything that Biden has done.

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