DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado could adopt California’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate as early as this week. It would require auto manufacturers to sell tens of thousands of additional electric vehicles. The mandate is aimed at helping the state comply with a new law that requires a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Gas burning vehicles are among the biggest contributors to carbon pollution.
Supporters and opponents of the mandate came out in force as the Air Quality Control Commission took up the issue. If adopted, 6-8% of all new cars sold in Colorado would have to be electric by 2025. Right now, 3% are electric.
“What this will do is incentivize the automakers to bring more models and to do more marketing and we think that will further turbo charge the market,” says Will Toor, head of the Colorado Energy Office.
Toor says the state is already number four in the country for electric vehicle sales. Supply, he says, isn’t keeping up with demand.
“I had to sign-up to order a vehicle from out-of-state and it was going to be a six month wait for the vehicle. We hear stories like that all the time,” said Toor.
Tim Jackson, head of the Colorado Auto Dealers Association, tells a different story.
“Every EV that’s in production a year or more is on dealer lots today in Colorado. So, supply is there,” said Jackson.
Jackson says dealers are already paying interest on electric vehicles that aren’t selling and if the mandate is adopted, manufacturers will be forced to sell electric vehicles at a loss.
“But they have to be profitable to stay in business so they don’t go through a bankruptcy. They’ll add it on to the vehicles that do sell and overall that will reduce sales in Colorado and bring the overall market down,” said Jackson.
Toor projects electric vehicle sales will explode if the mandate is adopted because more models will be available.
“By 2030, we will have over 40% of new vehicle sales will be zero emission vehicles,” said Toor.
Jackson insists the primary reason Colorado sells electric vehicles now is because it offers the biggest tax credit in the country – $5,000 – but that’s going away.
“This is government forcing consumers to buy a certain type of vehicle, picking winners and losers, and that never works very well in the long run,” said Jackson.
Toor notes drivers will still save thousands of dollars on gas and maintenance. The Air Quality Control Commission is expected to make a decision by Friday.