Tim Pohanka: EVs Are The Future, But Much Work Lies Ahead

June 6, 2024

On Wednesday, June 5th, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares made a joint announcement at Loyalty Toyota in Chester that the Commonwealth will no longer follow California's car emissions standards. You can see our statement and get more information here.

Virginia dealer and VADA Legislative Chair Tim Pohanka was on hand for the announcement and shared his views with invited guests and media. His remarks are below.

Today, I am here to support an issue that is as critical as it is complex. I am a new car dealer fully invested in electric vehicles, our stores have committed millions in EV infrastructure, l am also the Legislative Chair for VADA, and my everyday vehicle is an electric vehicle. Virginia dealers stand with the Governor and the Attorney General in removing Virginia from the California Air Resources Board mandates.

Electric vehicles are part of the future-there's no denying that. But the path to that future is full of challenges and opportunities. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) mandates, however well-intentioned, are applying an ill-advised California solution to Virginia and other states.

Lack of Consumer Demand

One major hurdle we face is the lack of consumer demand for EVs in Virginia.

While the interest in electric vehicles is rising, it's not yet at the level where these unreasonable California mandates expect them to be. Forcing EV demand before the market is ready could have detrimental effects on both consumers and dealers.

Poor Infrastructure

Our current EV infrastructure is not yet equipped to handle a significant increase in electric vehicles. We need a more comprehensive and accessible network of charging stations across the state before we can expect consumers to readily adopt EVs. Without the necessary infrastructure, owners will find it inconvenient and challenging to keep their vehicles charged, as Californians have already experienced.

Current Lack of Affordable EV Options

Moreover, there is a current lack of affordable EV options that meet the needs of all consumers. Many electric vehicles on the market today still come at a premium compared to traditional gasoline or hybrid options. Forcing an aggressive transition without affordable choices will alienate a large segment of our population, especially those in rural or lower-income areas who rely on affordable transportation.

Funding These Standards

This California Air Resources Board sets unreachable goals. Environmental prosperity should not be a partisan issue; it requires collaboration from all Virginians, not a California mandate.

Choice and Technological Development

Returning to federal standards gives us the flexibility for choice and innovation.

It's not a step back; it's a step towards a diversified, dynamic approach to achieving our environmental goals. Electric Vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cells, and other emerging technologies all have a role to play in this grand transition. By adhering strictly to the California Air Resources board mandates, we risk stifling innovation and narrowing the pathways to cleaner air and a healthier planet.

Moving Forward, Together

This action is about leadership. With insight and prudence, we applaud the Governor and the Attorney General. They recognize the urgency of the climate crisis but also understand the unique tapestry that is Virginia. Virginia Dealers know we play a part, across the commonwealth dealers involved in many environmental initiatives. At Pohanka with our partners, we have planted close to 50,000 trees in the past 2 years. We believe in a cleaner future.

Together, we can create the demand for cleaner technologies through education and incentives that make sense for our citizens. As Virginians, we can build the charging infrastructure that not only gives confidence but also convenience, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay.

By taking this step, this administration will ensure no Virginians are left behind in this transition to a cleaner future. This isn't just about meeting mandates; it's about setting a standard-a standard of thoughtful leadership, innovative progress, and above all, a united commitment to a better future.