ALBANY — Taking a page from California’s pollution-fighting policies, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday all new cars, SUVs and pick-up trucks purchased in New York must run on zero-emission technology by 2035.

New York’s move duplicates steps taken in August by California, the nation’s largest automobile market, where Gov. Gavin Newsom says the shift to zero emission vehicles will effectively mark the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine.

CALIFORNIA MOTIVATION

New York officials explained California’s step to ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035 unlocked New York’s ability to follow suit with the same targets.

Under the New York plan, 35% of new cars will have to be zero-emission by 2026. By 2030, 68% must be zero-emission, meaning they run on electricity or hydrogen.

The draft rules governing the zero-emission vehicles targets are slated to be the subject of a state Department of Environmental Conservation public hearing later this year.

CHARGING STATIONS

Meanwhile, all states are planning to beef up the number of electric vehicle charging sites available to motorists.

Federal officials have directed the states to seek to locate charging stations in proximity to the interstate highway system. The buildout in New York will be assisted by $175 million in federal funding to be received by the state over the next five years.

Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, told CNHI he is optimistic that consumers and the automobile marketplace will adjust to the transition away from gas-powered cars in the years ahead.

“The only pause that I have on all this is that the investment that needs to be made for dealers to be prepared to sell and especially do the service side of it is very expensive,” Schienberg said. “These charging units can add up to a lot of money.”

EXPENSE AND INVESTMENT

He also noted car dealers share the goals of trying to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and achieving a cleaner environment. “I think this is the right thing philosophically to do and to really change lives if we are concerned about climate change and the health of the planet,” Schienberg said.

Ken Pokalsky, vice president of government affairs for the Business Council of New York State, said moving forward with the plan to ban the sale of gas-powered cars will require “a lot of expense and investment.”

“You need to ramp up your battery production; you need to actually have the vehicles that satisfy consumer needs,” Pokalsky said. “Putting the charging stations in is one thing, and beefing up the electric distribution grid to accommodate it is another.”

PRACTICAL CHALLENGES

Pokalsky also pointed out that many vehicle manufacturers have already made significant commitments to move away from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles.

As for the state government’s mandate for all non-emission vehicles by 2035, he added, “to have a black and white regulatory line like this brings about a lot of practical challenges.”

Following Hochul’s announcement, an advocacy group, the Alliance for Clean Energy New York urged the governor and lawmakers to remove restrictions on the sales of electric vehicles by enacting a measure dubbed the Direct EV Sales bill.

This would give New Yorkers “unfettered access to buy EVs directly,” the organization said in a statement.

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