Los Angeles, California, USA – Transition Progress

This page is tracking local progress on Los Angelinos’ Great Energy Transition.

1.0 LA’s Energy Transition: Vehicles

2.0 LA’s Energy Transition: Buildings

1.0 California’ Energy Transition: Vehicles

Tracking California’s big switch to plug-in vehicles (first three months of 2021)

In Los Angeles, cars, suvs, trucks, busses, and motorcycles are the City’s biggest spewers of climate-damaging carbon dioxide. Keep in mind that carbon emissions everywhere must be drastically reduced by the 2030s to prevent extreme damage to the climate. So think about a new 2022 gas vehicle burning carbon to the atmosphere well into the 2030s. California has a target of ending new internal-combustion vehicle sales by 2035.  Those final gas vehicles could be emitting carbon into the 2050s.

Each year, an average-use all-electric car can prevent up to 15 tons of carbon dioxide from heating the atmosphere. Here, LocalClimate.org tracks numbers related to California’s great transition to electric vehicles. City-specific vehicle info is not available, so these numbers are state level.

California‘s entire vehicle population


98% of California’s entire vehicle population (2021)

California‘s electric vehicle population


2% of California’s entire vehicle population (2021)

The Top Selling Plug-in Vehicle in California

Tesla Model Y

15,265 sold in the first three months of 2021

A view from above the Tesla Model 3 where you can see the whole top of the car is made of solar glass.

Next top sellers in Los Angeles during the first three months of 2021:

2) Tesla Model 3

3) Chevy Volt EV

Plug-in Vehicles sold recently in California


During the first three months of 2021, almost one out of 10 vehicles sold (59,000+) in California were plug-in. This includes all makes & models of plug-in (not hybrid) electric vehicles.

Number of public electric vehicle charge stations currently (2021) in Los Angeles


Electric charging stations –the analogue of traditional gas stations – are popping up in more and more LA locations. As of October 2019, there were 2,963 EV public charge stations were up and operating within Los Angeles city limits. By way of LA’s Green New Deal Plan, 500 more charging stations will be installed by 2025.

There were 3,000 public chargers in California during Q1, bringing statewide totals to 74,443 chargers.

Number of Electric Motorcycles in Los Angeles.

A motorcyclist leans into a curve in the highway.

“Harley-Davidson’s new LiveWire electric motorcycle is seriously sporty, shockingly fast and whisper-quiet. Everything a typical Harley isn’t.”  – RiderMagazine.com

Electric motorcycles are here. They’re powerful yet spew absolutely nothing. At $30,000 per bike, Harley Davidson’s 2020 LiveWire electric motorcycle will become affordable as sales increase. LiveWire takes about an hour to charge (on a public charger) for a powerful, silent ride of 140 city miles. In 2020, Harley was set to deliver 160 electric motorcycles to seven Los Angeles-area dealerships. Harley is making more charging stations available in Los Angeles and across the country.

A casual early consensus of long-time Harley riders is that they love the handling and acceleration (0 to 60 in 3 seconds), but aren’t so sure about the machine’s near-silence.

Industry report: California Green Vehicle Report Q3, 2019, California New Car Dealers Assn. https://www.cncda.org/news/?category=green-vehicle-report

News of record: latimes.com/business/story/2019-12-01/electric-vehicle-sales-in-california-on-the-rise-but-is-it-enough-to-reach-the-5-million-goal-by-2030

Industry reports: Stephen Edelstein, “Plug-in Models Nearing 1 of 10 New Vehicle Sales in California” Green Car Reports May 7 2021. www.greencarreports.com/news/1132176_plug-in-models-nearing-1-of-10-new-vehicle-sales-in-california

City site: plan.lamayor.org/sites/default/files/pLAn_2019_final.pdf

Market news: ridermagazine.com/2019/01/07/harley-davidson-announces-livewire-electric-motorcycle-pricing/

photo: RiderMagazine.com

2.0 Los Angles’ Energy Transition: Buildings

Next to vehicle emissions, buildings are the next largest carbon emitters in Los Angeles.

2.1 Los Angeles’ 1,170 schools are on track to go 100% electric by 2040. Logistically, “this is like going to Mars.”

Large school districts have capital improvement budgets that can be prioritized to make their energy cost start to go way, way down. Ongoing affordability of electricity is best accomplished with on-site solar electricity.

An aerial view of a high school parking lot where all the cars are shaded from the sun by solar carports. photo

The Los Angeles Unified School Board announced in December 2019 it’s commitment to switch 100% of the huge district’s energy needs to clean energy by 2040. LA Unified has over 1,000 schools serving 600,000 K-12 students) LA Unified is already committed to reducing 20 percent of energy consumption by 2024 and has implemented a number of energy-saving measures, including the Lighting Retrofit Program at 100 schools, and energy efficiency upgrade projects at 21 schools.

In 2021, the LA school district has 105 schools and sprawling parking lots covered with solar-paneled parking structures. These onsite solar power plants make enough electricity to satisfy most of these buildings’ electricity needs. Energy-wise, the amount of solar electricity  generated at these school campuses is enough to power over 24,000 average-size homes. Climate-wise each year, the solar panels keep 175,000 tons of climate-damaging carbon from the atmosphere.

Local alt news: LAist.com/2019/12/02/lausd_green_new_deal_clean_renewable_energy_resolution.php

District site: achieve.lausd.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=4466&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=84166&PageID=1

2.2 Solarized homes by neighborly celebrities.

Edward Norton looking at you directly in the camera

A non-profit partnership electrified dozens of LA family homes with solar panels. It’s success could motivate new endeavors, like a sequel. Actor Edward Norton (American History X, Fight Club, Motherless Brooklyn) made solar power available to LA residents with his now-defunct Solar Neighbors Program. Norton arranged with a major solar panel manufacturer to install a solar system for a family’s home each time a participating celeb installed solar panels on their own home. 

Actor Edward Norton with a family in front of small home. photo

Between 2002 and 2007, solar workers installed photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of over 100 families. Each family’s solarized home saved them paychecks worth of money, and put many tons less carbon into the warming atmosphere. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Julia-Roberts-LA-solar-home.jpeg

Julia Roberts’ LA home gets 100% of its energy from rooftop solar electricity. Other LA-area celebrities participating in Norton’s solar program were Don Cheadle, Danny DeVito, Daryl Hannah, Salma Hayek, Will Ferrell, Larry King, Rhea Pearlman, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Owen Wilson, and the late actors Larry Hagman and Robin Williams.

Industry news: looktothestars.org/charity/solar-neighbors-program

Popular magazine: grist.org/article/little-norton/

Lifestyle blog: refinancegold.com/top-bank-accounts/celebs-serious-eco-friendly-houses-stars-lead-way (October 14 2019)