Don’t tie California’s hands over EVs

Automotive News
By Nancy Pfund
May 1, 2017

It’s an excit­ing time for elec­tric vehi­cles. Inside EVs says U.S. sales jumped 37 per­cent last year, and this year’s 46 per­cent spike through March con­tin­ued the momen­tum. Even as the record pace of indus­try­wide auto sales slows, elec­tric car­mak­er Tes­la has sur­passed Ford and Gen­er­al Motors in mar­ket val­ue for the first time. This is a sig­nal that elec­tric vehi­cles are rapid­ly merg­ing into the main­stream, increas­ing the strength of the sec­tor for investors.

That’s pret­ty impres­sive for an indus­try that’s only about a decade old. Eleven years ago, DBL Part­ners saw that EVs embod­ied our dou­ble bot­tom line invest­ment approach: one that offers great returns while doing good for the plan­et and boost­ing jobs and the econ­o­my. Since then, an EV move­ment has spread world­wide, cre­at­ing tens of thou­sands of jobs and reduc­ing pol­lu­tion in the process. So when there’s rhetoric from Wash­ing­ton about chal­leng­ing the rules that have made EVs’ remark­able growth pos­si­ble, we can only shake our heads.

Amer­i­can EVs have increased momen­tum in large part because of lead­er­ship from Cal­i­for­nia. Pol­i­cy lead­er­ship inno­va­tion from the gov­er­nor, leg­is­la­tors and the state’s Air Resources Board com­bined with future-ori­ent­ed com­pa­nies such as Tes­la have shown the world how to cre­ate, devel­op and sell world-class EVs.

This is all pos­si­ble because Cal­i­for­nia — which for decades has tack­led some of the worst air pol­lu­tion in the nation — has long been grant­ed author­i­ty by the EPA to require cars sold there to run clean­er than nation­al stan­dards require. And as part of that effort, Cal­i­for­nia ensures a grow­ing num­ber of the cars sold in the state are among the clean­est in the world, with a zero emis­sion vehi­cle pro­gram. Here, neces­si­ty has tru­ly been the moth­er of inven­tion: Cal­i­for­nia gets clean­er air and a stronger econ­o­my, and serves as a pilot project for new indus­tries to cre­ate jobs, while kick-start­ing the elec­tric future most trans­porta­tion experts see com­ing.

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