Frequently Asked Questions
Can I still drive my gasoline car after 2035?
Yes. Delaware is only requiring that all NEW cars sold in 2035 and beyond are zero-emission vehicles which includes battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles. Gasoline cars can still be driven in Delaware, registered with the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles, and sold as a used car to a new owner.
What if I don’t want to buy an electric car?
You don’t have to buy an EV now, or at any time in the future. Used gas cars are entirely unaffected by this program, and there will also be plug-in hybrid vehicles for sale even after the 2035 end date of this program. The regulations also allow for hydrogen fuel cell cars as an alternative electric. 74% of Americans buy used cars, and gas used cars will be available well after this regulation takes full effect in 2035. Most projections have gas cars still making up 70% of the vehicles on the road in 2035, and still in use well after 2050.
Does this regulation force 35% of consumers to buy an EV in 2026?
No. This regulation will not force anyone to buy an EV. There is no restriction on buying used gas-powered cars. The 35% number being discussed in the media represents the approximate percentage of new EVs that car manufacturers need to deliver and sell to Delawareans. Even with this program, however, gas-powered vehicles will still make up the majority of cars on the road in 2035 and many will still be on the road in Delaware past 2050.
However, Advanced Clean Cars 2 will ensure Delaware has clean vehicles available, like EVs and plug-in hybrids. It does this by ensuring an increasing percentage of the new cars delivered and sold in Delaware by car makers each year are clean cars. That means that car makers are on the hook, not car buyers. They need to make car buyers want to buy them.
Is ACC2 a mandate on drivers/dealers to force EV adoption?
ACC II establishes manufacturing and sales requirements on automakers—not on dealerships or drivers. There are no penalties to consumers for not buying electric or other ZEVs. It is up to the car manufacturer to make consumers want to buy these cars. They are the only ones on the hook in this program.
However, battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are all eligible vehicles under these regulations, allowing for customer choice of clean vehicles.
The regulation only applies to new, on-road vehicle sales and does not affect used vehicle sales. It is important to note that drivers will still be able to purchase new gasoline cars before 2035, and drivers can continue to drive Model Year (MY) 2034 and earlier gasoline vehicles in perpetuity. Note that in 2021, only approximately 26% of all vehicles sold in the US were new vehicles.
Are any other states doing this? Delaware is so different from California.
As of May 2022, eighteen states have adopted California’s ACC I program, accounting for approximately 40% of the United States light-duty vehicle market. As of now, Maryland, New Jersey, Maine, Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York have already adopted, and potentially other states are expected to adopt the updated program by the end of 2023.
Would Delaware be forced to follow anything California does with cars moving forward?
No. If this was the case, then we wouldn’t be having this debate since Delaware already adopted part of Advanced Clean Cars 1 back in 2014. But since California changed that program last year, we are now deciding whether to move forward and adopt the new changes. At any time, Delaware would be free to go back to the federal standards and we would have the option of whether or not to adopt any future changes to the Clean Cars program.
Is this California telling Delaware drivers what to do?
No. Delaware gets to decide. Delaware is one of over two dozen states, under both Democratic and Republican leadership, looking to possibly take advantage of a unique opportunity made available because of how the federal government treats California. It is true that only California receives the ability to have its own regulations under the Clean Air Act, but many other states, besides Delaware, are looking to take advantage of that provision. We are not able to write our own car emissions regulations, but we can join all of our neighbors in ensuring we are doing all we can to clean our air and fight climate change.
What types of new zero-emission vehicles will I be able to buy in 2035?
You will be able to purchase the same body styles of vehicles offered today, but they will be zero emission. Pick-up trucks, crossovers and SUVs are all available as well as all other vehicle classes. There are currently over 70 different makes and models of battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric cars available with that number expected to grow to nearly 200 in the next few years.
Will this regulation take away my choices?
No. You will actually get more choices. Car makers are already starting to decrease the number of new models of gas-powered cars they are producing. While car makers continue to transition their fleets over to 100% electric, this program will ensure that you have these options at your local car dealer. Right now, people who want to buy an EV or plug-in hybrid right now are the ones who have very few choices. That is because car makers prioritize the states that join the Advanced Clean Cars program. The overwhelming majority of Delawareans who want an EV now have to go out of state to NJ, MD, NY, or VA to purchase them. Why? Because those states are Advanced Clean Car states. Adopting this program in Delaware will serve to ensure that we have this option here at DE dealerships!
Is this forcing consumers to buy EVs?
Nothing in this regulation forces consumers to buy EVs. This program is about what is being delivered and sold in Delaware by car makers. Car makers are required to deliver and sell these EVs and plug-in hybrid cars to Delaware, but you are not required to buy them.
The overwhelming majority of car buyers, around 74%, buy used cars, which are not affected by this regulation.
It should be noted that all the major car manufacturers are supporting this regulation. Why? Because they already plan to make this transition. So what this program will really do is ensure that Delaware receives its fair share of EVs and plug-in hybrids in the process so you can have the choice!
Are there real, affordable EV options?
Through March 2022, the powertrain options available in the US include 40 EVs, 40 Plug in Hybrid EVs, and 3 Fuel Cell EVs. Bank of America’s Global Research forecasts for the U.S. show that over MY 2022 through 2025, 123 out of the 383 nameplate offerings (32%) will have an electric powertrain not including hybrid offerings.
Although the upfront costs of some new ZEVs are currently higher compared to comparable gasoline cars, many ZEV owners already see cost savings over the lifetime of their vehicles. This is because operating expenses—including fuel and maintenance costs—are typically lower for ZEVs.
Taking the full cost of ownership into account, for all nine of the most popular EVs on the market below $50,000, lifetime ownership costs were “many thousands of dollars lower than all comparable ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles’ costs, with most EVs offering savings of between $6,000 and $10,000.”
Is battery technology safe and reliable?
This same technology has been around for decades now. These same types of batteries power many things in our lives already. However, the user-side EV battery technology is rapidly advancing making EVs even easier to use and charge on your schedule. In terms of car fires, gas-powered vehicles are far more likely, 60 times more likely, to catch fire than EVs, which makes sense given that there is actual fire involved in internal combustion engines. A recent study found that fully electric vehicles, were deemed far safer than both hybrids and gas cars; they are far less likely to catch fire, with just 25.1 fires per 100,000 sales. That’s compared to 3,474 hybrid fires and 1,529 internal combustion engine fires per 100,000 sales respectively.
I’ve heard batteries don’t last. Is that true?
No. This myth was started by folks looking at how long the battery warranties last. However, warranties are not about how long the car or a battery lasts. So just because the warranty (which would improve under ACC2) only lasts for 100,000 miles doesn’t mean that this is how long the battery lasts. Just like the fact that your drivetrain warranty on your gas car is only 60k miles, doesn’t mean your transmission only lasts that long. In fact, thanks to advancements in battery technology, many batteries are even outlasting the cars they are put in!
What happens to zero-emission vehicle batteries at the end of their life?
Retired battery systems can be used in several ways based on their physical characteristics, state of health, and performance, or they will be recycled or disposed of if no longer useable. Some battery modules removed from vehicles can be refurbished and reused directly as a replacement battery pack for the same model vehicle.
In some cases, after use in a vehicle, lithium battery packs could deliver additional years of service in a stationary application. Examples include backup power for homes or cellular towers as well as for large buildings like sports arenas or electric utility grids. Second-life batteries reduce the demand for newly mined materials used in the production of new energy storage batteries.
Are zero-emission vehicle batteries recycled?
Battery recycling is improving and will continue to improve over time. New industries are developing ways to recover the most valuable materials from batteries with the intention of reuse. They are also looking at a closed-loop battery production process in which batteries are recycled, remanufactured and returned to the same factory.
Also, the proposed Advanced Clean Cars II regulation would require manufacturers of ZEVs, plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, and hybrid-electric vehicles to include a label on the vehicle battery that provides key information about the battery system. This will ensure that used batteries can be sustainably and properly managed at their end of life and that critical battery materials are efficiently recovered. All of this will help reduce the need for additional mining to supply critical energy materials for ZEV batteries in the amounts needed to displace internal combustion vehicles.
Will I get stranded in a traffic jam?
No. First, EVs use extremely little power just sitting still. That is why when drivers were stuck in a snowstorm in VA a few years ago, EV drivers actually fared better than gas-powered car owners.c Rapid charging times are already down to around 20 minutes for some newer models and are expected to be reduced even further in the future. The range on many new cars coming out in the next few years is projected to be 300-500 miles on average, the same as most gas cars. Rapid charging infrastructure is also going to increase in Delaware from 2 rapid chargers to over 35 in just the next two years! However, adopting this program would encourage even more private investment in our growing EV infrastructure, great for us.
I heard EVs don’t work in the cold. Is that true?
In Norway, where the average temperature in winter is lower than 20°F, the EV market share was a staggering 86% in 2021 and is rapidly approaching the 100% goal set by the Norwegian Parliament. It is true that extremely cold weather can slightly reduce range, but the same is true for gas-powered cars as well. Also, with longer-range electric vehicles on the market, with a little planning, this won’t impact the vehicles’ ability to get you where you need to go. Some auto makers are also adding technologies that help control the temperature of the battery to counteract impacts from extremely hot or cold weather.
Is it difficult or expensive to install a charger at my home?
Charging a car at home can be as easy as plugging in the convenience cord that comes with an electric vehicle into a 110 Volt plug. This type of charging is known as Level 1 and can provide about 3-6 miles of range for each hour a car is plugged in. However, if you want a faster charge, you may want to install a Level 2 charger at your home which provides about 14-35 miles of range per hour of charging. With the new Advanced Clean Cars II proposal, starting with model year 2026, electric vehicles will be required to come with a convenience cord that can charge at both Level 1 and 2 and will reduce the cost for home charging.
I live in an apartment/condo and don’t have control over my parking space. Where am I supposed to charge my electric car?
This is a challenge Delaware is working to improve by investing in a robust public charging network, supporting property owners with incentives to install charging equipment, as well as updating building codes and standards to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations in new and existing construction. In the meantime, please find additional resources for talking to your building owner or homeowners association about installing an electric vehicle charging station.
How much does it cost to charge a battery electric vehicle?
On average, charging an electric car costs half of what it costs to refuel a comparable gas-powered car. Charging costs depend on your electric vehicle’s battery size and the local price of electricity. Most electric utilities offer special time-of-use rates that greatly reduce costs by billing less for electricity used during off-peak hours
Are Electric Vehicles really clean? The grid is not clean yet.
According to a white paper by The International Council on Clean Transportation, lifecycle GHG emissions of average medium-size EVs registered in 2021 are 60%-68% lower than comparable gasoline cars in the US, and they are 42%-46% lower for Plug-in Hybrid EVs. According to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, in every state—even with the current electricity grid mix—the well-to-wheel emissions (emissions from fuel production, processing, distribution, and use) of EVs and Plug-in Hybrid EVs are lower than gasoline cars. And ZEVs will only continue to get cleaner over time as more renewable energy is added to the grid.
Do we have to build infrastructure first?
Society generally does not build infrastructure that has no widespread use, you develop a need and then build infrastructure as that need develops further. That said, we are building the infrastructure needed to handle the transition to EVs. The only way the market works is to do both at the same time.
Adopting ACC2 will signal to the markets in Delaware that we are open for business in this huge job-creating venture. Car manufacturers are doing their part to make the market recognize this signal by investing billions of dollars in the transitions to EV technology, but the infrastructure, jobs, and vehicle deployment really only take off in states that agree with that signal and join in by adopting ACC2.
By the time the majority of the population purchases an EV, which will likely be well after 2035 due to the used and pre-purchased vehicles on the road in 2035, the infrastructure will already be very well established. It takes time for both adoptions to phase in and for the infrastructure to be built, we must do both at the same time if we want to take on the issue of air and climate pollution.
Are EVs causing grid problems? I heard they are a problem for California.
Grid disruptions happen, but not from EVs. Most grid interruptions we have seen in western states like California and Texas had nothing to do with EVs and everything to do with climate change and severe storms or other weather phenomena.
In California, time-of-use rates, like those available in DE already, help encourage EV owners to charge in the evening or when there is excess energy on the grid. During times of severe wildfires, like those experienced in California last year, curbing electricity use is a necessity, so utilities will encourage individuals to reduce their energy use during peak demand times (usually mid-day due to air conditioning use) to avoid rolling blackouts as a conservation measure. This happens in Delaware during peak energy use and usually involves the utility sending a text reminder that you can save money and protect the grid by lowering your energy use or not charging your EV during peak demand times. This interaction will continue to be the future of grid maintenance and customer interaction regardless of EV adoption.
Our regional grid provider is forecasting an annual 0.7% growth during the winter and 0.4% during the summer over the next 10 years. They are taking growth in electric vehicles into account.
I’ve heard our air quality is fine in Delaware. Is that true?
More than 81% of Delaware residents live in counties that do not meet federal EPA clean air standards for ozone or are in maintenance, which means they have to actively work to reduce emissions. Communities of color and low-wealth communities bear an especially unfair burden of fuel costs and harmful air pollution due to decades of systematic marginalization.
Air pollution, including that from the transportation sector, can cause asthma attacks, lung cancer, shortness of breath, heart attacks, stroke, preterm birth, and premature death. By moving towards 100% zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), which emit zero tailpipe emissions, these health concerns can be addressed. Indeed, the American Lung Association estimates that from 2020 to 2050, the cumulative national health benefits of a zero-emission transportation sector would include 110,000 premature deaths avoided, 2.78 million asthma attacks avoided, and 13.4 million lost workdays avoided. Even assuming that gas cars will still make up the majority of the fleet in 2035, adopting ACC2 in Delaware would result in reducing NOx emissions by 78%, and many of the other harmful air pollutants to be cut nearly in half! A recent study in California found that for every 20 EVs per 1,000 people, there was a 3.2% drop in the rate of emergency room visits.