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Originally published on NRDC Expert Blog.
By Miles Muller, Attorney, Climate & Clean Energy Program

State legislators and Governor Newsom just signed a historic California budget that includes unprecedented levels of investment in clean transportation. The new funding will provide significant support for critical zero-emission vehicle and infrastructure programs, unlocking billions in public health, climate, and jobs benefits for all Californians.

This budget comes as the result of months of significant advocacy by a coalition of more than fifty climate, equity, health, and labor organizations to expand investments in California’s most effective programs for clean air, improved health, environmental justice, and a stable climate. The final budget includes more than $3.5 billion for zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure, including:

  • $1.4 billion for electrifying medium- and heavy-duty vehicles on California roads to clean the air, including 3,000 zero-emission drayage trucks, school buses, and transit buses;
  • $415 million to deploy the necessary charging infrastructure for those medium- and heavy-duty vehicles;
  • $400 million for equity-focused transportation projects like Clean Cars 4 All, which enables low-income Californians to scrap their old car and replace it with a new or used option that is less polluting and more efficient;
  • $500 million for the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Clean Transportation Program deploying charging infrastructure for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles;
  • $525 million for consumer rebates for new ZEV purchases through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project; and
  • $250 million for zero-emission manufacturing.

This money is on top of the budget’s $5.4 billion Transportation Infrastructure Plan, which includes $500 million for active transportation in addition to funding for improving the state’s streets, roads, and rails.

Securing an Equitable Clean Transportation Future in CA

Moving forward, the Legislature needs to strengthen the state’s commitment to equity to ensure all Californians have access to clean transportation. Fortunately, the Legislature has an opportunity to do exactly that with two policy bills this year — SB 726 (L. Gonzalez) and AB 1389 (Reyes) — that would codify equity requirements for the CEC’s Clean Transportation Program and require that 50% of those investments go towards the primary benefit of people residing in low-income and disadvantaged communities. The Legislature should advance these bills to ensure even greater investment in California’s equitable clean transportation future.

Thanks in large part to the Charge Ahead California Initiative — established by Senate Bill 1275 in 2014, making it state policy to electrify the transportation sector in a manner that ensures all Californians are able to realize the benefits electric vehicles can provide — California already has a rich portfolio of well-utilized equity-focused programs designed to increase access to zero-emission vehicles and mobility in disadvantaged and low-income communities. These programs are complemented by critical zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle programs that displace toxic diesel emissions that disproportionately impact low-income and disadvantaged communities that often live near freeways, ports, railyards, warehouses and other facilities.

These programs have done a lot to accelerate electric vehicle adoption in the state, especially in low-income and underserved communities, but there’s still a ways to go to meet the state’s long-term climate, equity, and air quality goals. According to a recent CEC report, the state is currently falling behind on its goal of deploying the 250,000 public and shared charging stations needed to support estimated EV adoption in 2025, and faces a gap of roughly one million chargers from what will be needed to support its 2035 goals. The report concludes that significant and continued state, local, utility, and private funding will be necessary to meet these goals.

California Energy Commission, Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Assessment

The 2021–2022 budget will go a long way in putting the state on a path to achieving its goals, but more still needs to be done going forward to fund critical equity programs and help underserved communities realize the benefits of clean mobility. While advocates had been pushing for $500 million in guaranteed funding for these critical transportation equity programs, only $150 million of the budget’s $400 million package is guaranteed, and the rest will have to be authorized by the Legislature in future years.


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Nissan feels the heat from BYD’s EV price war in China

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Nissan feels the heat from BYD's EV price war in China

Nissan is the latest victim of BYD’s “liberation battle” against gas-powered cars. After BYD’s aggressive price cuts this year, Nissan is shutting down a factory in China as it struggles to keep up.

As is the case for many legacy automakers, China is a critical sales market for Nissan. Nearly a third of Nissan’s global sales and net profits are from China.

After slipping out of the top five automakers (by market share) in China in 2022, Nissan’s woes are worsening. Nissan’s sales fell 16% in China last year and the trend has continued into 2024.

Nissan’s sales fell another 2.8% last month, with 64,233 vehicles sold in China. The company cut guidance by 23% last year, with 800,000 vehicle sales expected in fiscal 2024. According to Nikkei, Nissan will do so with one less factory.

Nissan is closing the doors to its plant in Changzhou as the factory is building more cars than it can sell.

The facility accounts for about 8% of Nissan’s production capacity in China, with an annual capacity of around 130,000 units. According to the report, the plant shuts down on Friday.

Nissan-BYD's-EV
Nissan Ariya electric SUV (Source: Nissan)

Under its joint venture with China’s Dongfeng Motor, Nissan has eight plants in the region. Its total annual capacity is around 1.6 million, double Nissan’s projected sales figures for fiscal 2024.

Nissan shuts down China plant amid BYD’s EV price war

The plant shutdown comes as Nissan struggles to keep up in an increasingly competitive China EV market.

China’s largest automaker, BYD, kicked off a “liberation battle” against ICE vehicles earlier this year. The goal is to continue taking market share from gas-powered cars with lower-priced EVs. So far, it seems to be working.

Nissan-BYD's-EVs
BYD (Dolphin Mini) Seagull EV (Source: Nissan)

BYD has drastically cut prices while introducing lower-priced EV models. Its cheapest, the Seagull EV, starts under $10,000 (69,800 yuan).

BYD’s CEO, Wang Chaunfu, said EVs have entered “the knockout round” and that the next two years will be critical for automakers to catch up.

With lower-priced, more advanced models hitting the market, BYD sees joint venture brands (like Nissan’s) market share falling from around 40% to 10% in China.

Nissan isn’t the only legacy automaker feeling the heat. Japanese rivals Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Honda have also pulled back in China amid slumping sales.

Nissan-BYD's-EV
Nissan EV concepts (Source: Nissan)

Meanwhile, BYD looks to expand its global footprint after outgrowing China’s EV market. BYD is closing in on a deal for a plant in Mexico that would be among the biggest in the country. The company expects to sell 50,000 vehicles in Mexico this year.

BYD is also expanding on Nissan and Toyota’s home turf. According to data from the Japan Automobile Importers Association, BYD accounted for over 20% of Japan’s EV imports in January.

With longer-range, lower-priced models rolling out, BYD’s momentum is expected to continue. China’s leading automaker is also expanding into new segments like pickups (check out the new Shark PHEV), mid-size electric SUVs, and luxury.

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Tesla Model 3 Long Range costs $3,200 more to finance than last week

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Tesla Model 3 Long Range costs ,200 more to finance than last week

Tesla scrapped promotional financing on the Model 3 Long Range this week after it became eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.

As Electrek reported on June 17, Tesla and the IRS confirmed that the Model 3 Long Range All-Wheel Drive is now eligible for the full tax credit. Today, Tesla is pricing the EV’s upfront purchase price at just $34,990 – $1,000 more than the Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive – including the federal tax credit and an estimated five-year gas savings of $5,000.

The Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive still doesn’t qualify for the federal tax credit because it uses LFP battery cells from China.

The Model 3 Long Range is now listed at 6.39% APR on loans up to 72 months. The Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive continues to offer 1.99% APR for 36 months with a 60-month option at 2.99%.

Even though the Model 3 Long Range is now $7,500 cheaper, the higher interest rate is a bit of a party pooper, as it eats up potential savings. The folks at CarsDirect estimated that on a five-year loan, thanks to the 6.39% interest rate, the Model 3 Long Range has more of a $4,200 advantage than a $7,500 advantage.

If you’re eligible for the federal tax credit, the Model 3 Long Range is cheaper than before but costs around $3,200 more to finance through Tesla than last week. CarsDirect suggests comparing your options carefully if you’re shopping for a Model 3 Long Range. 

Click here to find a local dealer that may have the Model 3 in stock –affiliate link


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Utah is getting 20 ‘hyper-fast’ Electrify America EV charging stations

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Utah is getting 20 'hyper-fast' Electrify America EV charging stations

Electrify America and electric utility Rocky Mountain Power have rolled out the first of 20 DC fast charging stations in Utah.

Electrify Commercial, a business unit of Electrify America, and Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp, are deploying more than 80 chargers at 15 DC fast charging stations in the Salt Lake City area and five DC fast charging stations in surrounding regions.

So far, four charging stations have come online in Millcreek, Vernal, Moab, and Kimball Junction.

Rocky Mountain Power, the only rate-regulated public utility providing electric service in Utah, will own the new charging stations. Each will have “hyper-fast” chargers capable of speeds up to 350 kW. The utility will set the pricing and Rocky Mountain Power utility customers get a discounted rate.

Since 2016, Rocky Mountain Power has installed more than 120 DC fast chargers in Utah and completed an electric highway corridor along I-15, Utah’s primary and only north-south interstate highway. It’s also facilitated the installation of more than 3,000 Level 2 chargers for workplaces, retail, and multifamily housing. The utility is spending $50 million to install EV charging infrastructure across Utah.

All 20 of Utah’s new DC fast charging stations will be on Electrify America’s coast-to-coast “locate a charger” map, which includes more than 950 stations and over 4,250 chargers in the US and Canada. Drivers will be able to access and pay for charging on Rocky Mountain Power’s chargers through the Electrify America mobile app.

Read more: Here’s what Electrify America’s EV charging plans are for 2024


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Your personalized solar quotes are easy to compare online and you’ll get access to unbiased Energy Advisers to help you every step of the way. Get started here. –affiliate link*

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