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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted last week to revise its ZEV (zero-emissions vehicle) Mandate that was first adopted in 1990 and has since been changed five times now. The newest revisions ease up on automakers, now calling for 7,500 zero-emission vehicles to be sold in California between 2012 and 2014, down from 25,000 that were called for in the last revision made in 2003. A zero-emissions vehicle includes a pure electric vehicle or one powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, though CARB also ruled that the its ZEV Mandate could be partially met with a new category of vehicles it calls Enhanced Advanced Technology Partial-Zero Emissions Vehicle, or Enhanced AT PZEV. These include plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt or vehicles with internal combustion engines that run on hydrogen like the BMW Hydrogen 7.

In addition to reducing the number of ZEVs that must be sold between 2012 and 2014, CARB also demanded that automakers sell at least 66,000 plug-in hybrids during the same time period. Ford is working on a plug-in hybrid Escape and GM a plug-in hybrid Saturn VUE, while Toyota is also developing a plug-in version of its popular Prius. While this goal seems somewhat realistic to us depending on how willing consumers will be to swallow the premium price of a plug-in hybrid, achieving 7,500 ZEVs sold in less than five years could be a stretch considering that not one of the major automakers is working on a pure EV to sell in the U.S. and there just isn't a strong enough infrastructure for delivering hydrogen to that many Californians at the moment. Nevertheless, 7,500 sold is easier to achieve than 25,000. These recent revisions indicate to some that CARB is slowly being neutered of its power as the feds work to regain control of setting the nation's energy policy. One set of standards for every state is what the automakers want, and for better or worse they may have it soon.

[Source: CARB, AutoblogGreen, Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      California is by a large margin the biggest market in the US, and next to Germany and Japan, arguable the largest in the world.

      If a company doesn't want to do business there, it's their choice, but it's also their funeral, financially speaking.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wait, how does California even enforce this? Whats to stop GM or Toyota from simply saying "No"? What are they going to do, shut down every single car dealer whose parent company doesn't meet the requirements? Throw hundreds (if not thousands) of working men and women out on the street?

      Peoples Republic of California
        • 7 Years Ago
        So, California is going to fine a company thats based in Detroit? They don't have the jurisdiction. This is just crappy feel-good politics.
        • 7 Years Ago
        What if these ZEV's are produced but not bought? Will Californians be punished for not complying with the CARB mandate?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Manufacturers that fail to meet ZEV quotas face stiff fines. The law also demands that such vehicles are priced "reasonably" to prevent manufacturers from sabotageing CARB's intent. In practice, this means cross-subsidies from other product lines, e.g. profitable SUVs and upscale pick-up trucks.

        At best, the net result is a negligible number of extremely clean cars at the expense of a vast fleet of gas guzzlers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      People will buy gas-free practical cars.
      That's a given, so don't worry, those sell themselves.

      As for CARB, it sounds like a Federal system, proving to be a bunch of pushovers for automotive and oil lobbyists.

      Shame on California for having such a "girlie-man" system, and the governor for being such a wimp, proving steroids really do make balls shrink.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Hydrogen is NOT practical,
        Its supported by the Oil companies so you area so you are locked into coming to a pump.
        Uses 3 times the electricity a battery uses, and costs a million dollars a car.

        They know they can't afford to build the CARB numbers, so they lobbied to lower them and fit the current situation i.e. Volt is coming out soon....
        How convenient of timing.

        Time to replace Californias worthless "FEMA"
        Clean Air Resources Board should promote Clean Air.
        Its called BATTERIES and clean power.
        They fail repeatedly
        • 7 Years Ago
        "People will buy gas-free practical cars"...

        The problem IS practicality - if there's only one hydrogen station in the area and the daily usage cost is double or triple a PHEV, then is it really "practical"?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I sill think the chevy volt will be the dominant US hybrid. With a release in 2010 at about $40k, it is a sporty alternative to the tesla.

      • 7 Years Ago
      So where do those old EV-1 powered S-10's sell again? Oh good, found the site.
      I'm not getting my hopes up for anything else that brilliant anytime soon.
      • 7 Years Ago
      pretty tough goals... 66k plugin hybrids? Nobody but Toyota will be able to comply with that, and thats if Prius is an plugin hybrid by default...
      • 7 Years Ago
      For all this talk of plug in hybrids and batteries....

      last i checked, batteries DON'T PRODUCE electricity. They merely store it.

      You still have to generate it with something. Gasoline, Diesel, Hydrogen, Alcohol, something, and not all of those are very efficient fuel sources themselves.

      The other option is charging. That just moves the generator/producer off site. To a power plant that likely burns coal, since no one seems to want to build nuclear power for anyone besides our foreign enemies, such as North Korea.

      Wasn't California having rolling brown-outs and all sorts of problems with PG&E a few years back? What do you think plug in hybrid cars are going to do for the power grid and plants?

      This stuff isn't magic or free, no matter how much people, and the government want it to be, and try to force it to be.

      Forcing things like this with legislation and agency regulation usually makes things worse, not better. And mandating sales in the "free" market is complete lunacy.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A few thoughts:

        California's emissions regulations trump federal regulations, as stated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Cali's rules were grandfathered in because they started regulating emissions first.

        California produces a relatively large amount of their electricity from zero emission or renewable forms. This is set to grow as 10 solar power plants come on line in the next few years. This will produce as much power on a sunny day as 3 nuclear power plants: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/06/business/06solar.html

        California has lead the fight for clean air for over 30 years and million of lives have benefited from this leadership.

        Finally, as has been already stated, be careful what you wish for. Cali gives far more money to the country than it receives in return. A secession would hurt the US immensely. Instead of being angry at California, quite frankly, the critics should be grateful for all the leadership, innovation and money California has provided to the nation and the world. It is a very long list.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am all for low pollution vehicles, but how do you mandate sales? I was in sales for years and trust me , you can't "make" people buy something they don't want.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I watched some videos of the EV rally outside the CARB meeting. I was impressed by the one lady who was saying she's been driving around in her EV, (a RAV4-EV, I think) for the past 6 years, and in that whole time, has not bought gasoline once! Sixty thousand miles of driving without gasoline!

      Even if you prefer a gas powered vehicle, and certainly many do, you should be for this. If there were enough EVs on the road to make a dent in gasoline consumption, prices would be much lower for everyone out there who wants to keep driving a big SUV or high performance car.
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