How Many Zero Emission Vehicles On California Roads?

This blog post offers insights into exactly how many Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) there are in California and the notable market trends for ZEV sales.

Key Takeaways

  • California aims to have 100% new zero – emission vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2035, with a target of 5 million ZEVs on the roads by 2030.
  • By the end of Q1 2023, California had already surpassed its interim goal of 1.5 million ZEV sales, reaching a total of 1,523,966 vehicles sold, putting the state two years ahead of schedule.
  • ZEVs accounted for an impressive market share of 18.8% of all new car sales in California in 2022.
  • California’s commitment to transitioning to greener transportation is evident through its role as the leader in US ZEV market share with a whopping 40% of all ZEVs sold nationwide in 2022 alone.

California’s Goal for Zero-Emission Vehicle Sales

California aims to accelerate new zero-emission vehicle sales and achieve 100% of new car sales to be ZEV by 2035, with a target of 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads by 2030.

Accelerating to 100% new zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035

With the swift rise of ZEVs in the past few years – a stunning 38% increase from 2021 and a whopping 138% surge from 2020 – the goal seems attainable.

Together with significant investments like the $2.9 billion fund approved by The California Energy Commission destined for accelerating our electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refueling goals, California is fueling more than just vehicles: they’re fueling progress towards a sustainable future.

Target of 5 million zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030

California is leading the charge in a global shift toward zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). The forward-thinking state has set an ambitious target: Reach 5 million ZEV sales by 2030, with an interim target of 1.5 million ZEV sales by 2025.

Progress and Statistics on Zero-Emission Vehicles in California

California surpassed its target of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicle sales by 2025, reaching a total of 1,523,966 vehicles sold by the end of Q1 2023, two years ahead of schedule.

This substantial accomplishment is a testament to the state’s strong commitment towards environmentally-friendly transportation while leading the charge nationally with a market share accounting for 40% of all U.S. zero-emission vehicle sales in 2022 alone.

New ZEV Market Share in California

There’s been a major shift in the Californian vehicle market towards zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). 

YearZEV SalesTotal Vehicle SalesPercentage of ZEV Sales
ZEV Sales vs. Total Vehicle Sales, State of California.

As seen in the table above, California has gone from ZEVs being 8% of its total vehicle sales in 2020 to an impressive 18.8% in 2022. This represents a significant increase in the market share of ZEVs in California.

With an abundance of incentives and grants available, particularly for low-income Californians, the growth of the ZEV market is set to continue its upward trajectory.

Combining this with the planned infrastructure improvements, California is certainly looks to be on course to meet its ZEV targets.

It must be said, that these figures, officially published by the California Energy Commission, include plug-in hydrid electric vehicles (PHEV). Of the 1.5 million ZEV cumulative sales, 457,000 were of PHEVs which do not enter under the strict definition of a full Zero-Emission Vehicle.

A_sleek_Tesla_electric_car_gliding_through_the_streets of LA

California ZEV Sales Market Share of US Total ZEV Sales

In terms of national interest, California claims a significant portion of the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) market. In 2022, the state accounted for a whopping 40% of all ZEVs sold in the United States. Let’s delve into how this plays out in numbers market-wise.

YearZEV Sales in CaliforniaTotal US ZEV SalesCalifornia’s Market Share (%)

These figures demonstrate the active role that Californians are taking in adopting zero-emission vehicles.

This trend is expected to continue to rise, particularly with the $2.9 billion investment from the California Energy Commission and the additional $384 million in federal funding destined for the installation of more charging stations throughout the state.

California is expected to pocket $384 million in federal funding from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program to install charging stations throughout the state.

This enormous investment will make it easier for more Californians to consider ZEVs as a feasible transportation option. In short, we can expect to see further growth in ZEV sales in San Diego County and throughout California in the years to come.

Breakdown of zero-emission vehicle purchases in San Diego County and across the state

Looking at the breakdown of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) purchases in San Diego County and across the state of California, we see some impressive numbers. In 2022, 13.3% of total ZEV sales came from San Diego, representing the largest ZEV market share within the Golden State.

AreasNumber of ZEV Purchases
San Diego County45,876 (13.3% of the state’s total ZEV purchases)
The rest of California299,942 (86.7% of the state’s total ZEV purchases)
Total ZEV Purchases in California345,818


In conclusion, California has seen impressive growth in its new ZEV sales and market share with a total of 345,818 ZEVs sold in 2022.

With 1.5 million ZEVs sold since 2011 and a market share of 18.8% for new car ZEV sales in 2022, the state is leading the way towards a greener future and is on track to meet its long term 100% ZEV sales goal.

This positive momentum shows no signs of slowing down as more models become available and charging infrastructure continues to expand across the state.


How many zero emission vehicles are currently in California?

As of the latest data, there are over 800,000 zero emission vehicles registered in California.

What types of vehicles are considered zero emission?

For the purposes of California’s sales targets, zero emission vehicles include electric cars, hydrogen fuel cell cars, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that can operate solely on battery power.

Are there any incentives or rebates available for purchasing a zero emission vehicle in California?

Yes, California offers various incentives and rebates to encourage the adoption of zero emission vehicles.

These include financial incentives such as rebates on purchases or leases, access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, and reduced registration fees.

Is the number of zero emission vehicles expected to increase in the future?

Yes, both state and federal governments have set ambitious goals for increasing the number of zero emission vehicles on the road.

With advances in technology and growing awareness about environmental sustainability, it is expected that the number of these vehicles will continue to rise in California and across the country.

Jonathan Rice

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