Last week, New York’s new Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a law that will ban the sale of fossil fuel vehicles starting in 2035.
In addition to banning the sale of gas powered vehicles, all new cars produced will be required to be zero emission. This move is intended to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 35 percent to help achieve its climate goals, and additionally, it aims to put New York on track to reach its statewide GHG reduction of 85 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.
Achieving these goals, however, will take significant work. Even though electric vehicles are commonly found in the state, just roughly 1 percent of new vehicles sold in New York are fully electric. The law also does not only apply to passenger vehicles; off-road vehicles and equipment are slated to be zero emissions by 2035 and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045. Still, there is some leeway in the law as it says zero emissions will only be required “where feasible.”
The bill also mandates that various state agencies coordinate efforts to put forth a market-development strategy by the end of 2022. Part of the challenge will be convincing the general public to purchase electric vehicles, which will take more than just incentives.
Many people do not have access to electric vehicle charging, so the state will need to engineer a large fast-charging network for long-distance travel, but the cities will need a push to install slower charging systems for renters. Locations for these networks will, of course, include grocery stores and shopping malls, but streets and parking garages will have to see installations as well.
In New York City, curbside charging will be critical, as street side parking is the norm, but the city has already begun testing curbside charging. 120 chargers have already been installed that electric vehicle users can pay to use by the hour. The city estimates it will need 800,000 slower chargers and 60,000 fast ones by the year 2050.
New York is not the first state to issue a mandate regarding discontinuing the use of fossil fuel vehicles. Last September, Gavin Newsom, the Democratic Gov. of California, signed an executive order directing the California Air Resources Board to create regulations to require zero emissions for new passenger cars and trucks by 2035.
Earlier this year, the state of Washington attempted to pass similar legislation. Even though the law made it through the legislature, it was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee. New York’s law marks the first of its kind to be signed by a governor following passage by a state legislature (Ars Technica).