Report: State to mandate that all new car sales be EVs by 2035

Close view of a charger plugged into an electric car at a charging station

New Jersey officials are expected to file a new set of regulations Tuesday that will mandate that all new car sales be electric vehicles by 2035, according to a report by NJ Advance Media on Monday.

More than that, the rule is expected to say that 51% of all model year 2028 cars sold (they go on sale in 2027) must be EVs.

The push toward enforcing all-EV sales was expected — state officials have been offering the goal for months. A court appeal also is likely.

In addition, because the regulation is expected to be part of “Advanced Clean Cars II” filing, it could be adjusted — or overturned — by future administrations.

The regulation is expected to give annual increases in percentage of EV sales — jumping to 59% of 2029 year cars, then to 82% of 2032 year cars before hitting 100% in 2035.

There is plenty that still needs to be determined, including that:

  • The state can’t force people to buy certain cars, so how they will enforce the percentage is unclear;
  • The regulation, as of now, does not apply to the sale of used cars;
  • The regulation cannot prevent someone from purchasing a car out of the state.

State officials could not immediately be reached for comment Monday night, but, in the past, they have said it is a necessary step to fight climate change. Kate Klinger, the director of the Governor’s Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy, said in August that the plan is not as broad-based as it may seem.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about what this order does,” she said. “It requires that new vehicle sales in the state are zero emission by 2035. More than 50% of vehicles that are sold in the state are used. And there is absolutely no change to the used vehicle market.”

Some environmental groups already were lauding the idea.

Ed Potosnak, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, connected the idea to the recent election — saying the voters sent a “clear message” despite the fact that EV sales were hardly a campaign topic for anyone.

“Earlier this month with the elections, voters sent a clear message to Trenton: It’s time to take bold steps toward building a clean energy future in New Jersey,” he said.

Potosnak said his group aims to codify the goal into law.

More details are expected to be announced Tuesday.