As the California Air Resources Board meets today to vote on revisions to the ZEV Mandate, the voices calling on CARB to not kill the electric car all over again are rising. Jim Woolsey, Tesla's Ze'ev Drori, the Sierra Club and many more are telling CARB to keep the EV alive. Another voice, perhaps unexpected, has now joined the chorus: George Shultz, who was Ronald Reagan's Secretary of State.

Schultz has written a letter (PDF) to California Governor Schwarzenegger asking that the governator intervene and call on state air regulators to promote plug-in cars instead of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This seems unlikely to me, considering Schwarzenegger's love of hydrogen cars and his Hydrogen Highway effort. Schultz said hydrogen cars are not a "near-term technology" and added that other states look to California's leadership in the alternative fueled vehicle scene. We'll have more on the CARB vote later today and there are more details after the jump.



Press Release:

Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz Urges Gov. Schwarzenegger To Save the Electric Car

Shultz's 11th-Hour Plea, One Day Before Key Car Vote, Calls for More Plug In Electric Hybrids Instead of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

SACRAMENTO - On the eve of a vote that could kill the electric car all over again, former Secretary of State George P. Shultz has asked California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to "intervene" by urging state air regulators to require significant production of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles instead of favoring the hydrogen fuel cell technology that Shultz termed "an R&D project."

To read George Shultz' letter go to PlugInAmerica.org.

Shultz, who served under President Ronald Reagan, made the plea in an 11th-hour letter to Schwarzenegger delivered Wednesday as Plug In America voiced similar concerns during a press conference (video available here www.pluginamerica.org) in Sacramento. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is slated to vote on Thursday (3/27) on a revision to its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program that prioritizes hydrogen fuel cell production over battery electric vehicles.

"With due respect to the long-term prospects of hydrogen, it is not a near-term technology," wrote Shultz, who sent a copy of his letter to CARB chairwoman Mary Nichols. "We must implement alternatives that are viable today instead of putting so much emphasis on an R&D project."

"The rest of the country is looking to California for leadership on this issue by making a variety of vehicles available to consumers," wrote Shultz, adding his conviction that electric vehicle technology can free the nation of its reliance on foreign oil. "Choice in the market means a more secure America."

Plug In America board members and supporters, including former Central Intelligence Agency chief R. James Woolsey, have discussed the CARB proposal with Shultz. The clean-car advocacy organization delivered a letter of its own to the Governor last week, urging him to ask CARB to require tens of thousands of fully electric vehicles instead of one-tenth of that, as the board's staff proposal does now.

Another former Reagan Administration official, Deputy Under Secretary of Education Dr. Peter R. Greer, sent yet another plea to Gov. Schwarzenegger last week. Voicing his concerns about climate change as well as national security, he "all but begged" the Governor to "direct CARB to put electric vehicles back on the road again by adopting the changes to the ZEV Program proposed by Plug In America."

Individual citizens from all 50 U.S. states and 20 other countries have sent similar messages to Schwarzenegger and CARB over the past two weeks.

A large crowd, including more than a dozen drivers with their fully electric vehicles, cheered during Plug In America's press conference, which was covered by national and state media. Woolsey, among the event's speakers, also addressed the need for America's independence from foreign oil. Both he and Plug In America executive director Chelsea Sexton will testify in support of electric vehicles on Thursday(3/27) before the CARB vote.

[Source: Plug In America]

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