Economy & Politics

California puts an end to the internal combustion engine

Traffic in Los Angeles – California suffers from dirty air. Photo: AFP / Kevork Djansezian

The US state is an important sales market for German car manufacturers – and will now ban diesel and gasoline engines from 2035. The car manufacturer Daimler considers the plans to be “ambitious”.

Stuttgart – The most populous US state of California wants to drastically reduce car emissions and only allow emission-free new vehicles from 2035. “This is the most effective step our state can take in the fight against climate change,” said Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

Newsom also made it clear that its order also applies to trucks – albeit only from 2045 and a little less strictly in implementation. It has been allowed for far too long for cars to pollute the air with their exhaust gases, Newsom said. The transportation sector is currently responsible for more than 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in California.

California is considered a pioneer in climate protection

Gasoline and diesel cars should gradually disappear through the regulation. California suffers from bad air quality due to the high levels of smog in metropolises such as Los Angeles and forest fires and is therefore considered a pioneer in terms of climate protection.

Because of the regulation of car exhaust fumes, the state has been fighting for years with the administration of US President Donald Trump, which has turned back an already decided tightening of emissions standards at the federal level.

As the largest US auto market, California is generally of great importance to the auto industry. This also applies to German car manufacturers. “We share the view that the path to emission-free mobility must be consistently followed,” the Stuttgart-based car maker Daimler announced on request. Therefore, in 2039 they want to offer “a completely CO2-neutral fleet of new cars”. In 2030, more than half of car sales should consist of plug-in hybrids or purely electric vehicles.

The US state is an important sales market

Daimler also plans to have battery-electric vehicles on offer for trucks in the USA by 2022. As with cars, the entire truck fleet is to be driven CO2-neutrally in 2039. “The USA and therefore California are a very important market for Daimler Truck AG,” says a spokeswoman.

But “to make CO2-neutral, fully electric vehicles competitive, regulatory and state control measures are required”. This includes “the necessary infrastructure for charging green electricity and for generating, storing and transporting green, liquid hydrogen”.

Nevertheless, Daimler considers California’s decision to be “ambitious”. Until the appropriate regulatory requirements are in place, the impact on business in California cannot be assessed.

USA is the second largest market for Porsche

The USA and thus California also play an enormous role as a sales market for the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer Porsche. In 2019, the USA was the second most important market with around 62,000 vehicles delivered. California accounted for around a quarter of all sales in the USA, Porsche said on request.

So far, the carmaker has mainly offered plug-in hybrids; the Taycan sports car is Porsche’s first all-electric car. The company plans to sell more than half of its vehicles sold as either partially or fully electric in 2025.


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