To say that the internal combustion engine is one of mankind’s greatest inventions is not much of a stretch. These hunks of metal have completely transformed the way that we live our lives, and have revolutionized industry like few objects ever have. That said, things are changing these days. As we look to curb the effects of climate change around the world, these gas-burning powertrains are slated to be replaced by electric motors, batteries, and other zero-emissions technologies. Governments around the world have started to speed up the proliferation of electric vehicles through legislative action. California became the first U.S. state to embrace this approach, banning the sale of these ICE-vehicles by 2035. Not ones to be outdone by their neighbors, Washington has just rolled out a new plan of their own. This Clean Cars 2030 bill plans to mandate EVs by 2030.
The Clean Cars 2030 bill states that the sale, purchase and registration of an ICE-powered vehicle will be barred starting in the year 2030. This short timeline mirrors that of similar EV plans currently in place in several European nations. We already know that Ford plans to be a zero-emissions automaker in Europe by 2030, which is likely to be adopted in the United States if more actions like this are taken. It is vital to note that the electric vehicle bill only applies to light-duty vehicles, which will allow automakers to have a bit of breathing room as it relates to profit-driving trucks.
This decision makes Washington the first state to pass such a measure through its legislative body. Governors in both California and Massachusetts passed their electric vehicle plans through the use of an executive order. Now it is worth noting that the Clean Cars 2030 bill has yet to be made law, as it waits for a signature from Governor Jay Inslee. That said, there’s no reason to expect that a veto is in order. The bill itself is worded far more like a set of future goals than an actionable enforcement plan, which is not all that surprising given the current newsworthiness of such announcements.
We know that President Joe Biden is all in on electric vehicles, as is made evident by his plans to spend $174 billion related to broadening EV uptake in the United States. The automakers are on board as well, which happened sooner than we thought it might. That said, there are still some challenges that we must address if these plans are to be successful. As such, expect Washington’s Clean Cars 2030 bill to take a few different shapes as we approach that deadline. We’ll have to wait and see which state wants to be in the news next, and sets a new zero-emissions goal for 2025.