On September 23rd California Governor, Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring the sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035. According to Yahoo, ”As an announcement from the California governor's office indicates, the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California's carbon pollution, 80% of smog-forming pollution and 95% of toxic diesel emissions…After the order, the California Air Resource Board will develop regulations that will mandate 100% of sales of passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035.” However, there are several questions that arise from the mandate. Most importantly, what does zero-emission mean, is this requirement even possible, and does the public want to go in this direction?
We are fast approaching the November election, with Joe Biden running as the democratic presidential candidate. One of his tasks if elected, is pushing for America to switch to electric vehicles with a big focus on the economic advantages. Biden’s climate and energy package are a proposed $2 trillion dollars, and in it will be a cash-for-clunkers program. The program will allow American’s to swap out, less-efficient vehicles for a rebate toward electric vehicles made in the United States. Unlike the Cash for Clunkers Program in 2009, this program will incentivize Americans to go completely electric, the 2009 program just rewarded Americans to buy more fuel-efficient cars, then their current models.
Last year the provincial government of Ontario, Canada canceled their generous zero-emission vehicle rebates causing sales of electric vehicles (EV) to plummet. The cancellation of this incentive program lead to Ontario being the only Canadian province to see a decrease in sales.
Shortly after closing the doors in Lordstown, OH, GM is in discussions to sell the facility to an Electric Truck company named Workhorse. GM made the decision in November to close down four U.S. based production plants, one of which was located in Lordstown, OH and home of the Chevrolet Cruze Sedan. According to Tom Colton, head of investor relations for Workhorse, the talks are still in the preliminary stages. There is no time table for speculation of the potential returning jobs to the area. The United Autoworkers Union (UAW) has a different agenda in mind. The UAW is trying to push for a reemergence of a petrol powered vehicle plant in the old GM facility, speculated to harbor more employees than Workhorse.
New big rig player, Nikola Motors, is looking to add their mark in the transportation industry. Nikola is a startup operation based in Arizona that is “all in” on Hydrogen powered semi-trucks. While the theory of Hydrogen powered transportation has proven to be enticing, the actuality has eluded engineers over the past 50 years. The largest hold back in the eyes of Nikola Motor, is that the tank sizes necessary for passenger vehicle operation has proven to be bulky and inefficient. Nikola Motors is thinking around the scenario. If you can’t condense the storage, increase the vehicle size.