According to an executive order issued by Newsom, all new passenger vehicles sold in California are required to be zero-emission by the 2035 deadline, a target which would achieve more than a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
"This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change," said Newsom.
"For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn't have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn't make wildfires worse - and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn't melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines," the governor added.
California officials noted that the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California's carbon pollution, 80 percent of smog-forming pollution and 95 percent of toxic diesel emissions.
In addition, California will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.
The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gas-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.
Newsom said the move is essential to meeting California's air quality and climate goals.
"The climate change crisis is happening now, impacting California in unprecedented ways, and affecting the health and safety of too many Californians," he noted in the executive order, adding that "We must accelerate our actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and more quickly move toward our low-carbon, sustainable and resilient future."
California officials insisted that climate change has played a key role in worsening wildfires in the state. Massive wildfires scorched over 3.6 million acres as of Wednesday in the state in a record-setting year.