Auto industry leaders react to governor’s new clean cars rule

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is making good on her promise to adopt clean cars and trucks rules. 

Lujan Grisham is forcing automakers to increase their inventory of electric vehicles to fight climate change. 

The executive director for New Mexico’s Auto Dealers Association says they’re on board, but they want the transition to be seamless. 

He says there are a lot of barriers New Mexicans face with switching from gas to electric. For example, a lack of infrastructure and affordability.

KOB 4 asked Albuquerque residents if they would buy an electric vehicle Monday:

“I don’t think it’s evolved enough yet,” said Julie Snowden. 

“I think electric vehicles are a pipe dream, that’s just my opinion,” said Issac Romero.

According to rules put in place by Lujan Grisham, 43% of vehicles manufacturers deliver to New Mexico must be electric by 2027. That increases to 82% by 2032. 

“If the demand is not there we have lots of vehicles sitting on dealerships lots and New Mexicans can not purchase a vehicle of their choice based on their needs,” said Ken Ortiz, executive director of the New Mexico Auto Dealers Association.  

He says of all the vehicles titled in our state in the last 18 months, only 3.5% of them were electric – and that number’s not moving. 

A huge concern is the availability of public charging stations.

“I travel long distances. I take road trips to Los Angeles, New Orleans, wherever. I know that that electric vehicle will not get me there in a reasonable amount of time,” said Snowden. 

“We have about 600 publicly available charging stations and to get to the mandates that our governor is requiring we’re going to need 13,000 upwards to about 40,000 when it’s all said and done,” said Ortiz. 

The Transportation Department is working to increase the number of electric charging stations around the state, but another concern is affordability.

Ortiz says on average, an EV costs $5,000 more than a gas vehicle. An at-home charging station will also cost you up to $5,000. 

“Other people they don’t have the money, they don’t have the resources,” said Michael, another Albuquerque resident.  

“At this time and place it wouldn’t be- financially, I couldn’t do it,” said Romero.  

On Monday, Lujan Grisham announced she will prioritize robust tax credits for electric vehicles in the upcoming legislative session. 

Ortiz says that’s good news, but he’s waiting to celebrate. 

“Last year, the Legislature did pass some tax rebates for EVs, but unfortunately, they were vetoed and did not become laws,” said Ortiz. 

Ortiz says if they increase their electric vehicle fleet and New Mexicans can’t get the cars they need here, they could buy out of state.

Leaders for environment improvement and our air quality control will hold a public meeting to talk about these rules. That meeting will take place at the Bigbee Auditorium at the State Bar Center from 9 a.m. Nov. 13 – Nov. 15.

Meanwhile, the governor also signed an executive order Monday directing state departments to transition their vehicle fleets to zero-emission options by 2035.

For more information, visit New Mexico Environment Department’s website.