This makes California’s order to ban sales of new IC cars by 2035 look rather modest.
Note: It’s political, but it’s old history, so please keep your comments appropriate and measured.
Californian’s would have loved driving their electric cars to the border to get supplies from the trucks that weren’t allowed in. The author of this bill lived in a gilded bubble.
Being political but not partisan, I’m pretty sure 99% of politicians in both parties have no real idea how the world works.
Otherwise known as the “Thousands Of Miles Of Paved Park And Playground Act”.
What were there, something like a couple of dozen non-IC vehicles in operation in 1975?
Citi-Cars and Comuta-Car’s for everybody, baby! 🙂
Nick Petris, the State Senator who introduced this Bill is a familiar name to me, as he represented the East Bay Area in the Assembly, and then Senate, for almost 40 years. To put that in context, from the time I was just a toddler until I was middle-aged. I probably even voted for him a few times, but have no recollection of this measure … I was still in junior high and more interested in the new Volvo 164 and the upcoming Formula 1 season starring Jacky Ickx, Jochen Rindt and Jackie Stewart.
But we shouldn’t assume the intention was to switch to electric cars. After all, the East Bay had a strong heritage in another type of non-IC vehicle, with the Doble steam car. In turn the Doble influenced, through its engineer who had earlier bought the remnants of the Doble company, another steam car design. This was from GM, who showed a steam engined Chevelle and Grand Prix. In 1969, the year of this proposed legislation. So, far from being an idealistic Berkeley environmentalist, Petris was in fact in cahoots with GM 😀.
So after posting the above I dug a bit more into the history of this California Senate Bill. It actually passed the Senate 26-5 and moved on to the State Assembly. Then-Governor Ronald Reagan threatened to veto it and it didn’t move forward.
This is just an amendment to SB 788. And as can be seen by the vote on the bottom, it was instantly shot down.
I’m not sure what SB 788 was, but this amendment never became part of it.
Reading through the document above, I think this document is, in and of itself, Senate Bill 788, not an amendment to a larger bill. What this would amend is an existing legislative code called the Health and Safety Code, by adding a new section to it.
How what’s at the bottom squares up with dman’s information, though, I’m not sure. The information at the bottom suggests that it was referred to three different legislative committees (two with subject matter jurisdiction, plus Ways & Means, where all bills with any designs on getting a vote by the full Senate likely would have to go before such a vote could happen), who all gave it a negative vote. A committee vote isn’t a full Senate vote – it is essentially just a recommendation from that committee on how that committee feels the full Senate should vote – so that doesn’t necessarily tell us how – or even if – the full Senate voted. I suppose it’s possible that the full Senate ultimately approved the bill in spite of the negative committee recommendations. It seems really odd that the full Senate would approve the bill by a 26-5 vote after all three committees that reviewed it gave a negative recommendation, however.
See page 215 at the link below: https://clerk.assembly.ca.gov/sites/clerk.assembly.ca.gov/files/archive/FinalHistory/1969/Volumes/69shr.PDF#page=3
If I follow what it says at that link, the bill was referred to the Public Health & Safety Committee, which the document above also states, up at the top. The Public Health & Safety Committee amended the bill, came back with a positive recommendation for the bill as amended, then the full Senate passed the bill on 7/24/69. The bill was then sent to the Assembly, where it seems to have gotten bogged down, and ultimately didn’t move forward. I’m not sure how the committees mentioned at the bottom of the document were involved, since the link doesn’t mention them by name. Maybe they’re joint Senate-Assembly committees who didn’t get involved until the bill moved over to the Assembly?
I don’t how to tell whether what we’re looking at above is the original bill text, or the amended version. There is an equivalent to the above link for the Assembly, but I don’t how to find this bill there:
I doubt its author or the Senators who passed it had any illusion it would ever become law; it strikes me as an effort to put the auto and motor-fuel industries on notice that they could choose the easy way or the hard way, but one way or the other they would be made to contribute substantially to the cleanup of the toxic mess their products had made of California’s air.
Being introduced in 1969, when manufacturers were bitching about California regs to combat horrendous smog, I agree with this statement.
I left a previous comment thinking that this bills author was deadly serious. The comments that I am now responding to have pointed out that this bill was most likely tongue in cheek. This was paving the way for California emissions. With the adoption of California emissions the smog problem cleared up. Had the bill stated that new internal combustion engines, with no emission regulations meeting the State of California requirements, would not be eligible for registration in the State of California after January 1, 1975, this would not have seemed so far fetched. In fact, it’s basically what became law.
No, I don’t think it was at all tongue-in-cheek (ironic, flippant, or insincere).
You’re absolutely correct. I didn’t realize how bad CA was until I read your comment. Did a bit of research and it turns out as far back as 1943 the smog was so bad in LA that people thought perhaps the Axis had done a gas attack on the city. Nope, did it to ourselves.
I just had a look at this page: https://timeline.com/la-smog-pollution-4ca4bc0cc95d
It shows a lot of LA smog photos from the 40s, 50s and 60s. The surprising photo was this one, and it’s nothing to do with the smog.
Motorcycle messengers from the Rapid Blueprint Company are equipped with gas masks for work in 1955. -Ariels and Triumphs!
Needs to be noted that Los Angeles was home to many unregulated or marginally regulated manufacturing industries and heavy industries mid-century as well, it wasn’t just automobile pollution in the air, there were many roots to the problem, including geographic. Often overlooked from rose tinted glasses lore is the PE streetcar system(the ones conspiracy theorists are certain GM and others deliberately dismantled) were in fact the ones that facilitated sprawl throughout the basin in the early 20th century, which in effect created the need to steal water from Owens valley, and pave over flood plains and aquifers as the population filled in with their California dreams. Automakers from icky Detroit were the easy scapegoat for politicians to blame, rather than reflect on their own collective past policy that created the environment that made for such a unique demand for automobiles.
Comical. In any event, I think this latest round of ICE-banning legislation will be pretty much moot by the time it actually becomes effective. I believe BEV’s will be so superior by that time they will represent the overwhelming majority of new passenger vehicle sales.
Bob, I think you and Daniel are both right- one from a regulation perspective, and the other from a market perspective. Both consumer selection AND government regulation at this point are going towards electric. But I do have one caveat, which I’ll put into a comment below as not to derail.
Exactly, politicians legislating the inevitable from the efforts of actual innovators and doers so can pat themselves on the backs and claim a legislative victory come election time.
Here is the one problem I have with battery becoming the norm- otherwise, have you ever been in a Tesla? Instant torque from zero? Battery operated vehicles, the modern ones, not the Citicars of old, are a hell of a lot of fun to drive. Enthusiasts need not fear; in fact, if anything with the flexibility of an electric platform and the ways we can shape batteries to fit the available space inside a vehicle frame, there’s a whole lot of great performance to be had.
But, from a more pragmatic perspective, I wonder about, say, most of the people in my neighborhood. I’m lucky enough to have a garage space. I can call up ComEd and have them run a drop from the alley to the garage if I find myself buying a Tesla, or a Mustang MachE, or maybe in the future a Buick Electra 🙂
But a lot of folks, who are well off enough to afford a $20-30k battery vehicle, don’t have garage spaces to charge at night. What are they supposed to do, hope they get a spot on the street in front of their place, then run an extension cord out? Land is super-expensive here right now, the city isn’t going to put up a charging parking lot, and none of the automakers would either, unless they want to subsidize their electric efforts enough to have a parking lot sitting on thirty million dollars of land.
So, while the battery powered vehicle is great for those in suburban, exurban, and rural places where there is space to power them- what do we do in the cities, ironically, the place where zero emissions would probably do the most good?
In this case, I’d like to point out we’re not talking poverty-level here. It’s not uncommon to see $70,000 cars parked on the street. I suppose if need be these folks could figure out an alternative solution. But what about 5 miles west of here where that’s not the case? What are they supposed to do?
When we got our Tesla, we didn’t have our garage charger installed yet so for the first two or three weeks we went to the nearest Tesla Supercharger when needed. Yes it took about 40 minutes or so to fully charge it but wasn’t the end of the world. The closest Supercharger is about ten miles away (five further than our Costco that we visit all the time), the app tells us how may stations there are (10 for that one) and how many are occupied before we go (as I write this my app says 8 are open). That distance is likely the case for most people that live in a fairly densely populated area of a state. The land argument is not a good one as the charger is not large, takes maybe the space of a phone booth and can be fitted to the end of any existing parking space (yes, there are costs to run the wiring etc but just talking about the land you mentioned). There are parking spaces everywhere, if I owned a grocery store this would be a competitive advantage over the store that did not have them. Think of it as a vending machine, those are all over the place and the owner of the machine does not often own the land they are placed on.
If a Supercharger specifically won’t work, the Tesla for example has adapters for some of the other chargers out there so we could charge elsewhere as well if needed. There are several fast chargers in our city of 200k people, I used one for the MINI I tested a while back. That car, even with its low 106 mile range was excellent for the average person that does not have a giant commute and I even tested charging while away from home, i.e. a trip to Denver.
The infrastructure just needs to grow up around the rest of the electric brands (and Tesla could use more as well). I can see gas stations, grocery stores, malls, or anyplace else that people are familiar with, adding charging stations (and charging money for the electricity). Just like there are gas stations now, why couldn’t there be Energy stations or even better chargers added to an existing gas station – their goal already is not really to sell gas at a profit but to get you to go in and buy a snack or drink. A lot of the chargers around here have a restaurant nearby or are near shops etc so it’s not like you are in the middle of a wasteland with nothing to do or nowhere to go. Of course in Covid times that isn’t overly attractive but look beyond that as this is a more or less temporary situation. For the few times that my wife charged away from home she just took some work with her and did that to keep busy.
No, this is not a great solution for the average EV critic whose daily commute is 100 miles each way and that says they need to drive cross country twice a month, electrics may not be for everyone, just like mopeds or the bus or the train aren’t for everyone either, whatever. Then again, a lot of companies are installing chargers at the work location too. None of the cars parked on the street in your neighborhood can gas up where/as they sit either and they can’t do it at work either, they all make a detour to get to a gas station which I fully acknowledge takes less time than a full EV charge currently. Lots of rural folk live much more than five miles from the nearest gas station currently, they seem to be fine often driving trucks that use a couple of gallons just to get to that station.
In the end it either works for you or it doesn’t. Sometimes a personal sacrifice is acceptable. At the end of the day, the profit motive will kick in and private companies will see a way to take advantage of an opportunity. Tesla did it on their own, it’s kind of shocking that a company as large as Ford or GM for example isn’t doing it as well. Or maybe it really isn’t, I don’t know. Building your own charging network to gain adoption of your vehicle isn’t that much different from buying up and scrapping a city’s streetcar system to get people to buy personal cars, that happened too. A company is either all in, or it isn’t. I do think that having the comfort of knowing a company owned and reasonably priced Supercharger is mostly near wherever we might go was a big factor in choosing a Tesla, although we haven’t used one since installing our own. And if there isn’t, we are intelligent enough to plan ahead and use one of our other cars that time.
Jim, thanks for this well-thought and well-stated reply.
Thinking about it around here, grocery stores would probably be the best vector for a charging infrastructure, as I would guess most people with a car probably will not be walking to the store. (I know I don’t anymore unless I only need, say, one or two things.) The vast majority of parking lots in this area are either grocery stores or big-box stores like Target and Home Depot, and it’s plausible to spend 40 minutes or so at places like that.
As for work charging, I can’t say; haven’t driven to work in 20 years. I suppose if you work downtown and are good with spending $30 on parking or whatever it is these days, you can figure out how to get your car charged. If folks around here are reverse-commuting and driving out to suburban large office campuses to work, that would also be a perfect way to charge and a nice employee perk.
Looking at how often we fill up, which is every month to six weeks or so, driving to some sort of public charger wouldn’t really be much of a sacrifice on that timescale.
As for the Tesla Supercharger situation, it seems to be pretty dire around here. There’s only 2 that are ever relatively close by, and they are both in parking garages that charge by the hour. That’s kind of surprising given the number of Teslas I see on a daily basis.
Could also be a way for municipalities to make some cash here. What if a Tesla or Rivian or (probably not) GM/Ford paid to have curbside chargers in retail corridors? The spots are already metered with a time limit anyway. Could have 1 or 2 EV only parking spots on each block.
We’re pretty much the poster children for an EV use cycle (90% of trips under 20 miles, maybe travel >100 miles at a time a couple times a year) and our next car will most likely be electric, so I don’t want to come off like I’m a huge EV hater. Just trying to imagine what happens to a lot of people’s habits when it’s not as easy as just popping in and out of a gas station for 5 minutes at a time.
I expect a building code update to include mandatory high-amperage wiring to all parking spaces in multifamily buildings might help. Tenants or condo owners could then get their own chargers installed at their own expense. The impact of this change would be minimal at first, but as housing stock is built or renovated it would add charging capacity to more and more people.
To a lighter duty extent, this is already common in the colder parts of Canada where electrical plugs for block heaters are common.
One question that has neither been mentioned nor answered: is the electric infrastructure capable of meeting the demand?
We have seen how it was in California last summer with lot of people switching on air conditioning during the heat wave, putting the enormous strain on the infrastructure that hasn’t been updated, expanded, replaced, strengthened, and so forth in years. Lot of rolling brownouts and blackouts there. Some electric cables and transformers gave up and demised in a fiery farewell. The sparks might have caused some wildfires that in turn destroy the barely survived cables and transformers.
If California and other states/countries want to ban ICE technology and use electric vehicles, they must bring the electric infrastructure up to the demand. That would be a very expensive proposition…who’s going to pay for that? Not to mention NIMBY-mentality, too.
Lastly, what about hydrogen fuel and fuel cell technology?
I charge exclusively at night, after 10pm, my air conditioner, dryer, oven, and lights are all off at that time. In addition we are not charging from empty to full, usually just topping off or we hold off entirely for several days at a time until the “tank” gets lower. If the demand is high enough to cause issues, eventually the supply will increase as well. In addition, many of the same people adopting electric vehicles are also adopting solar power, many of those people are generating more power than they are using.
Lots of CA’s issues this summer had to do with the heat, it isn’t as hot at night. Electric car chargers are unlikely to cause the same issues.
Whatever the real or imagined problem might be, the political solutions are always the same.
No doubt the powerful external combustion engine cabal was behind the legislation.
Can’t imagine ever having an electric. These days, I only drive once a week or so and only short distances. Battery life is largely a function of time, I am told. Electrics will soon earn a substantial market share. Won’t be for everyone though. Remember seeing electric delivery vans of The Railway Express Agency in Manhattan in the late 1950’s. These would be charged every night and run all day in the City. Con Edison gave them a reduced night rate. I think the electrics got scrapped along with the discount rate. Not long after, Indian Point 1 nuclear plant opened. Coincidence?
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