Washington, DC—On August 16th, Colorado approved a rule requiring automobile manufacturers to have a certain percentage of their sales come from electric vehicles between 2023 and 2030. In a blog posted today by Resources for the Future, researchers explore the question posed by the title: “Will Automakers Meet Colorado’s Zero Emissions Vehicle Program Requirements?”
Their conclusion: It’s likely.
The Colorado Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program requires a gradual increase in battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles starting in 2023. The program requires an initial increase in ZEV sales from 2023 to 2025 and then a leveling off at 6.07 percent through 2030. In March 2019, about 3.5 percent of Colorado new vehicle sales were ZEVs, up from about 1.5 percent in 2017. The 2025 requirements would require nearly double the ZEV sales relative to today, making the program, according to the authors, “seemingly daunting at first thought.”
However, to get a sense of the program’s chances of succeeding, RFF Fellow Benjamin Leard and Clayton Munnings of Munnings Consulting point to three critical factors:
First, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids have seen incredible sales growth during the last few years. But a future removal of the government-sponsored incentives could significantly reduce ZEV demand. On the other hand, future falling battery prices could very well counteract that effect.
Second, charging station infrastructure is expected to continue growing rapidly over time. Colorado has committed to expanding its charging station infrastructure throughout the state, focusing on expanding its network of fast charging stations.
Third, automakers are gearing up to release many new ZEV models during the next five years, which will undoubtedly expand ZEV demand.
Taken together, the authors note, “These factors suggest that Colorado’s new program should be attainable.”
Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Its mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. RFF is committed to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy.
Unless otherwise stated, the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and may differ from those of other RFF experts, its officers, or its directors. RFF does not take positions on specific legislative proposals.