Do Teslas and other electric cars need a smog check? - Green car future (2023)

With more and more national and regional legislators around the world setting end-of-sale deadlines for new models of internal combustion engine (ICE) and hybrid cars, the era of pure electric cars has truly arrived. Since up to now 99 percent of the cars on the road are combustion or hybrid models, many motorists have had to undergo two major tests every year: a safety inspection and an emissions test, also known as a smog check.

That will change in a world of electric cars. So in this article I wanted to explore the different questions people have about electric cars and smog checks.

Contents hide

1What is a smog check?

2Are smog checks necessary for Tesla?

3What does a safety inspection include?

4What about hybrid/PHEV cars? Do you need smog checks?

(Video) How Tesla, GM And Others Will Fix Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety

5Are electric vehicles subjected to other environmental tests?

6. Conclusion

(Video) Are Electric Cars REALLY Better for the Environment?

What is a smog check?

Do Teslas and other electric cars need a smog check? - Green car future (1)

Let's clarify what I mean by smog control. As I mentioned above, a smog check is another word that refers to government-mandated emissions testing. The tests are performed by certified automotive professionals who are authorized and equipped to issue emissions test results. They test the amount of pollutants such as unburned hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that your car produces when driving and accelerating.

The test typically covers three main aspects, the importance or usefulness of which varies somewhat depending on the age of your car.

  • A rolling bench- Roller device that allows testers to simulate your car accelerating but also driving at a constant speed of 15 mph without actually moving an inch on the ground. In addition, the tester uses a 5-gas analyzer to obtain emission data.
  • Gasdop-Test– This test checks for gas leaks from improperly sealed or worn gas cap gaskets. This is especially important on older petrol and diesel car models.
  • OBD Scan- Many cars manufactured in the 1980s and all models after 1996 are equipped with some form of on-board diagnostic (OBD) system that tracks relevant emissions data. By connecting special devices, a tester can perform scans of the OBD system to get the data they need in real time.

The most common reasons why a car fails the test are a defective catalytic converter, a leaking gas cap, a problem fuel system, poor ignition timing, a problem in the vacuum lines, contaminated engine oil, a malfunction in the air injection or exhaust gas recirculation systems. and positive crankcase ventilation. Different thresholds apply to different tests, with the strictest standards in 2022 in California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and soon Colorado.

(Video) Are Electric Cars Worse For The Environment? Myth Busted

As of 2020, there are 20 states without regular emissions testing requirements for non-commercial vehicles: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota , Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Are smog checks necessary for Tesla?

Do Teslas and other electric cars need a smog check? - Green car future (2)

From the above, you may have already guessed the short answer to this question:No, a smog test is not necessary for Tesla. Put simply, like other all-electric vehicles, a Tesla does not have the necessary components and systems to produce harmful and/or tested greenhouse gases.

In California, which, as mentioned earlier, has the most stringent emissions testing laws, all-electric cars (including Teslas) fall into the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) category. The 1990 ZEV mandate defines such vehicles as those that do not emit exhaust or evaporative emissions of regulated pollutants. No Tesla car has an exhaust, tailpipe or other evaporative emissions and therefore does not require a smog test; not even in the strictest state of California.

The lack of emissions testing for all-electric vehicles should not be seen as some kind of carte blanche for EV owners. A smog test may not be required, but safety inspections do take place in a few states, namely Delaware, Hawaii and Louisiana. Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. Depending on the federal state, the inspections take place annually or every six months.

What does a safety inspection include?

Again, the exact standards vary from state to state, but in general, a safety inspection of a Tesla or other all-electric car includes the following checks:

  • brakes
  • operating mechanism
  • wheel alignment
  • Tires
  • lighting (incldirection indicator)
  • windshield
  • Horn
  • Spiegel
  • seat belt
  • electrical systems

These are all features on which the roadworthiness of electric cars still depends and which therefore sometimes have to be checked. Motorists should be aware not only of their state's inspection regulations, but also of their respective county's regulations. For example, some variants include a mandatory inspection prior to sale or transfer of ownership. A security clearance may also be required when a highway patrol officer stops a driver for dangerous driving and believes the car may not be roadworthy.

What about hybrid/PHEV cars? Do you need smog checks?

Do Teslas and other electric cars need a smog check? - Green car future (3)
(Video) How green are electric cars? | It's Complicated

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), also known as hybrid cars, aim to offer the best of both worlds, especially for people living in cities. The hybrid system would be powered by zero-emission electric motor technology when cruising at the lower speeds typical of high-traffic situations. However, when opening on a highway or in other high-speed, low-traffic situations, it would automatically switch to an internal combustion engine.

This means that hybrid cars contain both electric and conventional ICE elements, which is more comfortable to drive and certainly more environmentally friendly than a petrol or diesel ICE car, but also subject to the same rules and requirements when it comes to smog testing.

There's no question that a PHEV would far outperform a pure ICE car in an emissions test, but a hybrid isn't a zero-emissions vehicle like a Tesla or any other all-electric vehicle. It must therefore be examined for the same pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Will electric vehicles undergo further environmental tests?

An EV may not be an emissions producer but still needs to be subject to an EPA mandateto testto look for other things. These tests are typically used to confirm claims made by car manufacturers about the range, charging time and other capabilities of an electric vehicle.

Electric cars and hybrids are tested in cities and on highways, starting with a fully charged battery. You park the vehicle overnight and then drive it around until the battery dies. The vehicle is then charged using a standard AC power source to measure how much energy it consumes while charging. The unit the EPA uses to measure consumption is the equivalent of miles per gallon: mpge. These cycles are repeated to arrive at an average rating, which then typically becomes the rating published by the automaker on its website or other promotional materials.

EPA estimates can sometimes differ from reality, and auto assessor tests often show less range than reality, but they're still a good indicator of range and battery life.


Your Tesla or other electric vehicle is therefore not immune to the world of car tests, but it does not have to undergo a smog test either. Electric cars have ditched the traditional emissions-producing structure that led governments to require emissions testing in the first place. That's not to say they don't have electronic or other technical issues of their own, though.

Owning a Tesla means zero emissions, but you still have to consider the other environmental impacts that producing a Tesla or any other electric vehicle can have, especially in the case of the all-important battery. I'll cover thatReal environmental friendliness of electric cars in another article.

(Video) ELECTRIC VEHICLES & My Tesla Model 3 Review


Do you have to get a smog check with a Tesla? ›

Your vehicle does not need a smog inspection if your:

An electric vehicle. Gasoline-powered and less than eight model-years old.

Is Tesla a green vehicle? ›

Every product we sell helps owners lower emissions. Emissions per mile are significantly lower in our vehicles than in gas-powered vehicles. Model Y All-Wheel Drive achieves 4.0 EPA miles per kWh—making it the most efficient electric SUV built to date. Scale is essential.

Are electric cars the solution to smog? ›

Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC conducted one of the first-ever studies showing that electric cars are associated with real-world reductions in both air pollution and respiratory problems.

Will electric cars be mandatory in California? ›

Yes. California 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.

Does a Tesla need to be inspected? ›

Your Tesla vehicle does not require annual maintenance or regular fluid changes.

What cars don't have to pass smog in California? ›

What vehicles do not require a Smog Check?
  • Gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and alternative-fuel vehicles that are model-year 1975 and older.
  • Gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and alternative-fuel vehicles that are eight model years and newer do not require a biennial Smog Check.

Is Tesla a zero emission vehicle? ›

Tesla manufactures the Model S, the first zero-emission, zero-gas, full-size electric vehicle on the market.

How long does a Tesla battery last? ›

What Tesla Says About Battery Lifespan. According to Tesla's 2021 impact report, its batteries are designed to last the life of the vehicle, which the company estimates as roughly 200,000 miles in the U.S. and 150,000 miles in Europe.

How much CO2 does it take to make a Tesla battery? ›

For example, the Tesla Model 3 holds an 80 kWh lithium-ion battery. CO2 emissions for manufacturing that battery would range between 3120 kg (about 3 tons) and 15,680 kg (about 16 tons).

What are the biggest problems with electric cars? ›

Battery issues, climate control, and in-car electronics are among the biggest problems in electric vehicles. Electric car subscriptions allow you to test an EV before you buy, so you can check reliability first-hand.

What are the drawbacks of electric vehicles? ›

Seven disadvantages of electric cars
  • Limited Battery Range. The average petrol car can easily do four or five hundred miles on a tank of petrol. ...
  • Battery Lifespan Concerns. ...
  • Charging Infrastructure Worries. ...
  • Long Charging Times. ...
  • Low Top Speeds. ...
  • More Expensive to Buy. ...
  • Environmental Impact.
Dec 15, 2022

Can you still drive gas cars after 2035? ›

But owners of vehicles with internal combustion engines will still be permitted to operate or resell them after 2035. With the average lifespan of a car in the U.S. pegged at about 12 years, there will be a need for gasoline for decades to come. Still, that demand will decline dramatically.

Are gas vehicles going away? ›

Last month, California regulators passed rules banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, a move hailed as a significant victory in the fight against climate change.

Will gas prices go down with more electric cars? ›

This dispels one misconception I had – that EV's would lower gasoline prices. They will eventually, but refiners are prepared. Strong gasoline prices will aid the economics of electrification as well as turnover to more efficient conventional vehicles.

How much does it cost to service a Tesla? ›

According to RepairPal, the average Tesla maintenance cost is $832 per year. That compares to an average of $652 per year for all car models sold in the United States. Depending on which services your Tesla needs, you may end up spending much more than the average car owner on yearly maintenance needs.

How often do Tesla tires need to be replaced? ›

It is recommended that tires are replaced every six years, or sooner if required, even if tread depth is above the minimum. When a tire set becomes worn, replace all four tires at the same time. Choose a Tesla-approved tire which is designed specifically for your vehicle.

Does Tesla have emissions sticker? ›

The emission control label is located on the opening face of the liftgate. For vehicles with a model year of 2022 or newer, the emission control label is now located on the inside of the front hood and may not match the label shown.

How to bypass smog in California? ›

Smog exempt vehicles may include:
  1. Vehicles built in 1975 or earlier: Classic vehicles.
  2. Newer cars: vehicles produced over the last six years.
  3. Diesel powered: 1997 or older, or 14,000lbs or greater GVWR ranking.
  4. Natural gas vehicles: GVWR value of 14,000lbs or larger.
  5. Vehicles that are electric/hybrid.
  6. Motorbikes.
  7. The Trailers.

Do hybrid cars need smog check in California? ›

Like many 2000 year model and newer vehicles, hybrids are required to obtain a smog inspection every 2 years. Hybrids undergoing change of ownership or being registered for the first time in California will also be required to obtain a smog inspection.

What is the 30 year rolling exemption in California? ›

Sponsored by Senator Quentin Kopp, the bill exempts all pre-1974 vehicles from the obligations of the biennial emissions inspection until the year 2003. After 2003, vehicles 30 years old and older will not require an inspection.

How much does it cost to replace the battery in a Tesla? ›

Tesla battery replacement cost varies depending on the labor and parts needed. Typically, depending on the car, the most basic battery replacement in Tesla costs between $5,000 and $20,000. For the Model S premium sedan, replacing a Tesla battery costs around $13,000-$20,000.

Are Tesla's better than gas cars? ›

Energy Efficiency: Kilowatt-Hours vs Gallons

One of the main advantages of Tesla's and other EVs over gas cars is their energy efficiency. EVs are typically more energy-efficient than gas cars, which means they use less energy to travel a mile than using a gallon of gas does.

Are electric cars really the future? ›

According to Protocol, the ratio of electric cars to gas cars will gradually increase too: By 2025, electric vehicle sales could comprise up to 20% of new car sales. By 2030, electric vehicle sales could reach 40% of new car sales. By 2040, electric vehicle sales could account for nearly all new car sales.

How much does it cost to charge a Tesla at a charging station? ›

Frequently asked questions about Tesla charging

Depending on the model, it costs between $9.62 to $18.30 to fully charge a Tesla.

Can you fill up a Tesla with gas? ›

NO, you can't put gas in a Tesla car. Your Tesla doesn't have a gas tank or any kind of engine that runs on gas. Putting gasoline anywhere near the parts that make a Tesla work would be a waste of time. Definitely not the smartest thing to do.

What is the cost of the cheapest Tesla? ›

2023 Model 3 prices: The “cheapest” Tesla

We will try our best to keep this article updated with the latest pricing for you. Let's dig in. Currently, the Rear-Wheel Drive trim of the Tesla Model 3 starts at an MSRP of $40,240 with zero upgrades, not including any taxes, destination, or other fees.

How many tons of ore does it take to make a Tesla battery? ›

The ores from the hard-rock mine Tesla uses contain up to 2.1% lithium. It takes less than 10,000 pounds of material to produce 2,000 pounds of spodumene — a mineral filled with lithium aluminum inosilicate. The maximum amount of lithium a Tesla car battery contains is around 165 pounds.

Is lithium mining worse than fossil fuels? ›

While the hazards of lithium mining can cause significant harm to the environment during its production, it is still more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels.

How many tons of lithium does it take to make a Tesla battery? ›

A typical EV battery has about 8 kilograms of lithium, 14 kilograms of cobalt, and 20 kilograms of manganese, although this can often be much more depending on the battery size – a Tesla Model S' battery, for example, contains around 62.6 kg (138 pounds) of lithium.

Can I plug my electric car into a regular outlet? ›

You can charge your electric car using standard 120 volt(V) home outlets (Level 1), 208-240V outlets like those used by your dryer (Level 2), or dedicated 480V+ public fast chargers (DC Fast Charging). The time it takes to charge using each of these three options depends on your drive and the size of the battery.

Does cold weather affect electric cars? ›

Estimates vary, but according to a study from AAA, EVs can lose about 40% of their range when the temperature drops from 75 degrees to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the most frustrating part of owning an electric car? ›

One of the biggest challenges of owning an electric car is the limited range, which can result in range anxiety. Even with advances in battery technology, the average range of EVs is still significantly less than that of traditional ICEs.

What happens to electric car batteries in a crash? ›

In a collision, EV batteries automatically disconnect from the vehicle to reduce battery damage. In addition, current EV vehicle designs boast a lower center of gravity, offer improved stability, and decrease the likelihood of a rollover accident.

What are the disadvantages of a Tesla? ›

Conclusion. In conclusion, while owning a Tesla can be a luxurious and environmentally friendly option, several disadvantages exist. The high price tag, limited range, lack of charging stations, and environmental concerns can make owning a Tesla a financial and practical burden for many individuals.

How bad is lithium mining? ›

Lithium mining is, like all mining, environmentally and socially harmful. More than half the current lithium production, which is very water intensive, takes place in regions blighted by water shortages that are likely to get worse due to global heating.

How long do electric cars last? ›

The average lifetime mileage of an ICE vehicle is about 133,000 miles. While experts estimate the average EV battery will last around 200,000 miles, some manufacturers already promise much more than that.

What is the longest distance an electric car can go? ›

2023 Lucid Air: 516 Miles

Taking the EV driving range win is California-based Lucid Motors. Its top-spec Air sedan has the highest EPA-estimated range of any electric car sold today. With an EPA-estimated 516 miles of range, the Air Grand Touring with 19-inch wheels is the Lucid with the longest legs.

Why gas cars are better than electric? ›

Gas cars are cheaper compared to fuel than electric cars. Electricity is usually more expensive than gasoline, which means that it will cost you more per mile, so gas-powered cars offer better value for money in the long run.

What 7 states are banning gas powered cars? ›

Seventeen states follow California's rules, but so far only Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington have announced they'll enforce the Advanced Clean Cars II rule and prohibit the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles.

What will happen to classic cars when gas is banned? ›

Classic Cars Will Become Rarer Items

Eventually, you will see used, and classic cars drive less, and likely, collections will be reserved for museums or for very affluent elites who have the resources to afford them.

Will there be gas stations in 2050? ›

The gas stations landscape will be deeply upended over the coming years and narrowed back to 68,500 units by 2050: although the end of the fossil fuel mobility era will compromise the current gas station business model, mainly based on fuel sales, it will also pave the way for new opportunities.

What will happen to gas stations after 2035? ›

Quintessential small businesses that are often owned by immigrants, as many as 80 percent of stations could be unprofitable by 2035, when the state stops all new gas car sales. Already, fewer cars are gas-guzzlers, reducing demand for fuel. A growing number of cities are banning new station construction.

What state is getting rid of gas cars? ›

All of the planned bans are in coastal states: In addition to California and Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington have made the commitment to stop allowing sales of new gas-powered vehicles after 2035.

What year will gas be gone? ›

California, the country's most populous state and the center of U.S. car culture, is banning the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles starting in 2035, marking a historic step in the state's battle against climate change.

What will happen to oil companies when cars go electric? ›

The rise of EVs presents a threat to the oil industry as EVs do not require oil as their primary fuel source. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), transportation accounts for around 60% of global oil demand, and the rise of EVs could significantly reduce this demand.

How many barrels of oil does it take to make an electric car? ›

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one barrel of crude oil contains approximately 5.8 million BTUs, or about 1,700 kWh. Therefore, the energy cost of producing the Tesla Model S Long Range battery pack is equivalent to about 8.8 barrels of oil.

Does charging an EV cost more than filling up your gas tank today? ›

Is an electric vehicle still cheaper to charge than filling the tank of a gas-powered vehicle? The cost of charging an EV is almost always hundreds of dollars less a year than operating an equivalent gas-powered vehicle, according to a new report from Consumer Reports, the nonprofit advocacy organization.

Can you use Tesla for driving test in California? ›

The drive test can be done in a Tesla.

Does Tesla disclose their emissions? ›

Nearly all of a Tesla's CO2 emissions happen before the car hits the road. Tesla's most recent impact report (pdf), released late last month, marks the first time the company has accounted for the emissions associated with its supply chain.

What do you have to do to test drive a Tesla? ›

You can schedule a demo drive appointment online and before the appointment, a Tesla Advisor will contact you to confirm your appointment. You must be 18 years old and have a valid driver's license to drive.

Can I drive my Tesla in the HOV lane in California? ›

If you buy or lease a new electric car (or plugin hybrid), you can apply for a shiny California carpool sticker that will let you drive solo in the HOV lane.

Do Teslas need front license plate in California? ›

According to California law, all vehicles registered within the state must have a license plate on the front and the rear.

Do you need insurance to test drive Tesla? ›

While insurance isn't needed for you to take a test drive at a dealership or with a private seller, it's generally needed to buy the car if your state requires car insurance. Before taking ownership and driving the vehicle off a dealer's lot, you must show proof of insurance.

Does Tesla have an OBD? ›

The ODB-II diagnostic port is located under the dashboard on the driver's side of the vehicle.

Can electric vehicles use HOV lane in California? ›

Electric and Other Vehicles with Red or Purple Clean-Air Decals: If your vehicle has a red or purple decal issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you CAN drive by yourself in the HOV lane unless prohibited by local signs.

How much emission allowance does Tesla get? ›

In contrast, every new Tesla vehicle will receive 25 grams of carbon emissions credits, bringing Tesla considerable revenue in the long term. (Note: Electric vehicles emit 70 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer because the electricity supply in various places is still not 100% sustainable.

Does your Tesla record you? ›

If a significant threat is detected, the cameras on your vehicle will begin recording, and the alarm system will activate. You will receive an alert from the Tesla app notifying you that an incident has occurred.

Are Tesla's overpriced? ›

Tesla cars are expensive due to their high-quality materials, cutting-edge technology, and additional service and repair center investments. These factors all contribute to the overall cost of owning a Tesla car.

Do Teslas give off carbon monoxide? ›

Most, purely electric cars do not produce carbon monoxide. That said, some electric cars feature built-in generators, sometimes called range extenders, and a very small fuel tank.


1. Can electric cars handle the cold? Tesla Winter Experience | Fully Charged
(Fully Charged Show)
2. Are Electric Cars Really Green?
3. How Do Electric Vehicles Work?
(Tech Vision)
4. Electric Cars in India | Can you buy a Tesla? | Analysis by Dhruv Rathee
(Dhruv Rathee)
5. The Race To Vegas Is On! 5 Electric Cars Battle The Tesla Supercharger vs Public CCS Network - Pt. 1
(Out of Spec Motoring)
6. Hydrogen vs. Battery Electric Cars
(Physics Girl)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rueben Jacobs

Last Updated: 09/23/2023

Views: 5932

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rueben Jacobs

Birthday: 1999-03-14

Address: 951 Caterina Walk, Schambergerside, CA 67667-0896

Phone: +6881806848632

Job: Internal Education Planner

Hobby: Candle making, Cabaret, Poi, Gambling, Rock climbing, Wood carving, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Rueben Jacobs, I am a cooperative, beautiful, kind, comfortable, glamorous, open, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.