BMW has gotten a lot of press (some bad) for their MINI E project. Even though the all-electric car comes with a plug, the plug-in advocacy group Plug In America (PIA) has a problem with the way that the Bavarians might be able to get a lot of legislative good will without really putting EVs on the road for good.
PIA released a statement (read it after the jump) that criticizes CARB's loophole that could allow BMW to get as many Zero Emission Vehicle credits for the one-year lease of the electric cars as it would for a standard vehicle production program. PIA's legislative director, Jay Friedland, said that, "CARB is allowing BMW to game the system by accruing the maximum number of ZEV credits with the least amount of effort." Friedland said that lease-only programs are what led to the EV crush-fest in the 1990s, something that long-time PIA members still remember as a real slap in the face. PIA wants BMW to only get the credits if the MINI Es are also offered for sale.
Another criticism of the lease program is that, according to PIA, when the June 30 deadline got closer and closer, BMW began:
Not long ago, we heard that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department got a good deal on some MINI Es.
CARB's response was to say that it will look at its regulations next year and that "we've urged BMW to consider extending that one-year lease." Undoubtedly, there will be more to come on this.