California law requires a smog check for every change of ownership. I tried reasoning with the DMV service rep. I didn’t bother telling her I was about to convert it to an EV. But I did try to convince her that the car was not in running condition and we should therefore register it in non-operational status.
She wouldn’t have it.
Don’t try to reason or argue with a minor bureaucrat. It makes them feel important and it is bad for your health. Just pay the price and move on.