Standing outside the Ford Greenfield Labs in Palo Alto on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke about his vision for fast forwarding the state's zero-emissions economy and climate goals.
Newsom's budget proposal, dubbed the California Blueprint, is proposing an additional $6.1 billion as part of a $37.6 billion climate budget to build electric-vehicle infrastructure and offer rebates for purchasing alternative vehicles to residents in the next few years. The proposal includes tax incentives for manufacturers.
The $6.1 billion would increase the total in the climate budget to $10 billion, which would specifically support electric-vehicle transformation, he said. Of that total, $665 million would be set aside for direct rebates to low-income residents to replace gas-guzzling cars with alternative vehicles, he said.
"Electric vehicles are one of the state's biggest exports," he said, with Palo Alto and Silicon Valley playing a direct role and being "a big part of the future."
Making such an investment is "imperative for the state in particular" to meet its climate goals. California is the first state to require all new vehicles to be alternatives to gasoline engines by 2035, he said.
More than 50% of the state's carbon dioxide emission comes from oil extraction and/or tailpipes, according to Newsom. The state can't be serious about addressing climate change without thinking about reducing vehicle emissions, he said.
The $6.1 billion would help support more affordable, clean cars, trucks and buses and expand access to zero-emission vehicles and zero-emission vehicle infrastructure in low-income communities.
State Assembly member Marc Berman, whose district includes Palo Alto, said Silicon Valley is inextricably linked to these innovations and would lead the way.
Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt noted that the city has been a leader in working to meet the governor's climate goals. The city has the highest electric-vehicle sales, with one-third of new car sales being electric. He noted that the 2020 catastrophic CZU August Lightning Complex fires, which were linked to climate change, came close to jumping the mountain ridges into Palo Alto, making climate protection a dedicated goal of the city.
Ford has started making high-volume, all-electric vehicles, including the E-Transit van and the F-150 Lightning Pro pickup truck, the latter of which will be available by the middle of this year, according to its website. Its Mustang Mach-E SUV is the first all-electric vehicle to pass the Michigan State Police vehicle tests, including for acceleration, braking and high-speed vehicle pursuits.
Ford Greenfield Labs in Palo Alto, located at 3251 Hillview Ave., is one of the largest automotive manufacturing research centers in the region, according to its website. It employs nearly 300 researchers, engineers, designers and scientists in 182,000 square feet of work and lab space.
Ford Pro, the automaker's global vehicle services and distribution business, is dedicated to serving commercial and business customers.
The new business — the first of its kind among automakers – focuses on end-to-end services for cars, software, charging stations, financing and repair to help companies convert their vehicle fleets to electric. It currently has 70,000 Blue Oval chargeports throughout the country, said Wendy Zhao, head of growth for Ford Motors' Pro Charging, a section of Ford Pro.
"Fleets are a vital part of helping California and the world meet its ambitious climate goals," she said, adding that a robust charging network would be essential to making the transition.
Watch the full press conference: