Governor Lujan Grisham Powers Up New Mexico's EV Market

Credit: Dennis Schroeder/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

New Mexico’s new governor is kicking off the new year with a plan to cut carbon pollution, power up the electric vehicle market, and to protect public health and the environment.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham propelled New Mexico into a clean energy leader today by announcing its commitment to cutting carbon pollution by at least 45 percent in 2030, adopting new building codes, reducing methane pollution from oil and gas wells and pipelines, and adopting clean car standards (see my colleague Noah Long’s blog here).

On clean cars, New Mexico would kick-off a process to establish tailpipe limits for passenger cars and trucks including climate-warming pollution, smog-forming emissions, and fine particulates through a “Low Emission Vehicle” program together with a Zero Emission Vehicle standard. The latter would ensure automakers make available enough electric vehicle models to achieve approximately 9 percent of new vehicles being zero-emitting electric-drive by 2025. The move follows Colorado’s own announcement two weeks ago to kick-off a Zero Emissions Vehicle program as well (see my earlier blog on Colorado here).

Credit: Governor Lujan Grisham signing the executive order

More Choices of Electric Vehicle Models, More Fuel Savings

By adopting clean car standards, New Mexico would join 14 other states that have set identical limits to greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and trucks. Residents stand to gain by seeing wider availability of cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks in dealers' showrooms and ultimately save on their gasoline fuel bills.  In addition, New Mexico's adoption of a ZEV program would mean that automakers—which have announced their intention to introduce new electric models—will make them available for sale in New Mexico. In 2017, automakers made available only 12 electric-drive models versus states like California where 44 models were widely offered, according to NRDC's analysis of Polk registration data. Several studies (here and here) have found some automakers are only offering electric vehicle models in select markets—typically those that have adopted ZEV standards.

Automakers have stated their intent or plans to introduce 80 unique models of battery electric, plug-in hybrid, or fuel cell vehicles by 2021, according to industry analysts Baum & Associates. Twenty of these offerings will be in the sport utility vehicles and crossover segments that are popular in many parts of the U.S. including New Mexico. In addition, new startups and companies such Workhorse, Rivian, and Tesla are developing full-size utility vehicles and pickup trucks—leading to companies like Ford announcing their intention to build an electric F-series pickup truck.

Credit: All-electric pickup truck - Workhorse W-15

While some in the auto industry are moving in this direction, the nascent market needs prodding and support by policymakers and the industry to help it gain momentum. The ZEV program will help ensure that all automakers bring their products to New Mexico and more actively market electric vehicles. Today's announcement by Governor Lujan Grisham will provide a much needed “power up” to New Mexico’s electric vehicle market, putting the state on cleaner, more affordable, climate-friendly future. 

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