California drivers push plug-in sales to 40% of the market image

Californian residents are powering up the sales of rechargeable cars in the US, with more than 100,000 units sold in the Golden State, which equals to around 40% of the domestic plug-in auto market.

The California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative said that sales of hybrid and battery-only cars in California reached 102,440 models from December 2010 until last month. Industry researcher Baum also reported that over the same time frame, about 250,000 rechargeable cars were sold in the entire U.S.

California has been trying since 1970s to convince automakers to offer vehicles with lower tailpipe emissions in order to get rid of the smog and increase the air quality in the state. Since 2009, it has implemented new standards under its Zero-Emission Vehicle program, which required cars to emit less pollution, thus leading to a new generation of plug-in models from General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Tesla Motors Inc.

Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, stated that “Automakers are proving on a daily basis that they can rise to the challenge to meet California’s clean vehicle standards, advance the technology, and provide a wide range of affordable cars.”

At least 10% of rechargeable car sales in California belong to Tesla, whose Fremont, California plant started production in 2010.

By Gabriela Florea