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California officials tout success of getting zero-emission vehicles on roads, but good luck buying one

California just passed a milestone in how people get around. Earlier this week, the one-millionth ZEV, zero-emission vehicle, was sold up in Stockton. KPBS reporter John Carroll looks at what the state is planning to do to accelerate that trend.

There are a lot of ZEVs, zero-emission vehicles, on the road in the Golden State.

"We have more ZEVs on-road than the next 10 states combined, accounting for 40% of zero-emission cars in the country," said Lauren Sanchez, Senior Climate Advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

During the webinar, Sanchez said the governor's new budget aims at putting rocket fuel into the state’s efforts to increase ZEV sales.


“The governor’s California blueprint budget proposes investing $10 billion over six years to accelerate our ZEV goals," she said.

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“I’ve driven a lot of gas guzzling automobiles, so I’ve definitely had that experience and that’s why I’ll never go back,” said Dave Klowden, an electric vehicle owner who bought his Chevy Bolt a couple of years ago.

Concerns about having enough range to get from here to there are fading as batteries get better, according to Klowden and he cited many other reasons to own an electric vehicle.

“They have 100% torque off the line. They’re faster than gasoline-powered cars ... There’s no maintenance, I’ve changed the windshield wiper fluid on this thing," Klowden said. "There’s no oil changes, there’s no hoses and gaskets and you know the engine parts that wear out and all of that."


The problem these days is that it is hard to purchase a ZEV. They’re in high demand and low supply.

A top state official chalked it up to supply-chain issues.

“I think we need to recognize that buying a car is challenging no matter what the platform," said Liane Rudolph of the California Air Resources Board.

Klowden would tell you it’s worth the wait even though it may be tough to find an EV, whether it is a Tesla or a Chevy Bolt.