• Jun 18th 2010 at 5:57PM
  • 45
California's skyline is obscured by lingering smog

When it comes to cleaning up the air and raising the bar on emissions, California usually leads the nation by example. Even with stringent CARB guidelines, a hydrogen highway that's far from complete and other emissions-reducing measures in place, California is still riddled with smoggy air. The state now hopes that its nation-leading electric vehicle (EV) initiatives will pierce a hole through the haze. California's plans for electrification are intensive, with long-term goals laid out well in advance. Here's an overview of what's in the works:
  • By 2012, the state will subsidize the installation of more than 5,000 charging stations.
  • Strong incentives should help the state reach its goal of 7,500 EVs and 25,000 plug-in hybrids on the road by 2014.
  • Long-term projections peg the numbers at 60,000 EVs and 85,000 plug-in hybrids on California roads by 2017.
  • The state offers a $3,000 to $5,000 rebate to buyers of low-emission vehicles, on top of the $7,500 federal rebate.
  • Businesses receive up to $20,000 in rebates for purchasing a low-emission commercial vehicle.
  • From now until 2015, California will invest $200 million a year into low-emission vehicles.
For California, the investments into uncharted territory is seen by many as a risky, experimental move that may not pan out in its favor. To us, the state's decision to launch such an aggressive EV initiative almost ensures that California will once again lead the nation's drive towards a greener tomorrow.

[Source: Wall Street Journal via Green Car Advisor| Image: Cmildotin - C.C. License 2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      looking at the events depicted in Who Killed the Electric Car, it seems to me that they should be doing instead of just incentivizing. Actually build a car factory that makes just the right cars. Trying to make the douche car makers do the right thing is like trying to talk Bush into telling the truth and not starting wars. you can try but it's not going to work.

      make the damn things. make it happen. not limp legislation. there is a great opportunity now for the right kind of ultra light plugin cars and it's not what Tesla or Fisker is doing and certainly not what any of the big car makers are doing.

      they didn't crush the 1000 EV1s because they would matter in oil sales. they crushed it because it was a running illustration of what is possible.
      the right car even in small numbers will motivate big auto like a minor motivates R. Kelly :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      The greater LA area is the reason for CARB standards in the first place. With 74% of their electricity being produced elsewhere and the other 24% being natural gas, you can see that the vast majority of pollution in that area comes from commercial and consumer traffic. So, if the traffic system is continually improved then pollution in that area will eventually decrease rather than increase. Alternative energy vehicles and public transportation should be seriously promoted in that area since it is one of the most polluted areas in the U.S.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It is also the place to be? So, can't be that bad, just to many rich people harassing other rich people :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Give up the H2 hwy CA and concentrate your resources as well as your impact on oil consumption, go EV's only and realize a goal instead of a half hazard remedy to run your light duty fleet off of NG via H2. Stop H2 and be no further in debt by fully embracing EV's.

      We have more hybrids per capita here in Portland and no H2 hwys to suck us into debt. Governator (I'll be back) and CARB, you were wrong about H2! You won't be back!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nozferat, in a way, yes, from our "backyard" - Nevada is next to California, and Nevada does have extensive salt flats rich in lithium. Plans are being made to re-open mining there for lithium. Next up, Utah, with several million tons of lithium mixed in the vast salt deposits there - you know, like the worlds largest inland Salt Lake, and of course Bonneville where nature paved the worlds largest natural racetrack with salt.

        Lithium is the 26th most abundant element on Earth, similar to the abundance of nickel and lead. Several nations are mining it, including Argentina, Chile, Australia, Canada, and Portugal - it is doubtful any of those nations would cause geopolitical trouble for the US.

        Level: Where did you get that "70% from coal" figure from? There may be a few places in the coal belt like that, but here in California, coal provides a mere 20.1% of our electricity, 40% is from renewables (hydro, wind, geothermal, solar) and the rest from nuclear and natural gas. The amount from coal is dropping as more renewables come on line.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry but that's not going to stop the military from invading countries rich in this mineral if for nothing else than to stop other countries from getting some of it for themselves.

        Are you guys really that naive about the geopolitical games being played here?

        And besides, you all criticize the destructive points regarding oil and the wars in creates but somehow, when it comes to lithium and your electric cars, it's OK?

        • 5 Years Ago
        EVs have their own geopolitical problems...where do you think all the lithium needed to make the batteries is going to come from? Your back yard?

        I guess so long as you don't feel guilty driving your car, all's good.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am not sure where you got your data that lithium from seawater is 3 times as expensive as from brine as from 'mineral mines' as you give no source and this in any case is not a developed technology so that there is AFAIK no single approach which will definitely be followed, but a variety of different possible ways of doing things.
        Most lithium is in fact currently obtained by extracting brine, a process with little in common with traditional mining, being simply a pump on the surface which pumps in water to force the brine to the surface where it is then allowed to evaporate in large ponds, leaving the salts including the lithium carbonate.
        The largest known deposit in Bolivia also contains a lot of magnesium, which is a little difficult to separate from lithium. Seawater has the same problem.

        In fact most of the cost is in processing the lithium carbonate to the required purity needed for batteries.
        Raw lithium carbonate costs around $8kg, battery grade after processing $50kg.
        So if your estimate of seawater extraction being 3 times as expensive is correct, then you might bump up the price to $24kg for extraction, with the further processing costing $42kg, the same as before.
        This comes to $76kg, an overall rise of around 50%, and in the case of the Leaf would raise the battery price for processed materials from around 15*50 = $750 to 15*76 = $1140,a s we are told that the Leaf uses 3kg of lithium which constitutes just over 18% of lithium carbonate by weight.

        This is hardly a show-stopper, and does not take account that improvements may be made at all points of the chain as volumes increase and the technology matures.
        South Korea is putting $26 million into lithium from seawater development, with a view to producing 20-100,000 tons a year by 2015.
        It is not clear which variety of the technology they are using.

        The US also has considerable reserves of lithium carbonate at Clay Valley in Nevada, possibly enough to convert the entire light vehicle fleet in the US to batteries, which would be mined by traditional techniques rather than brine extraction, and may entail lower processing costs to get it to battery grade.

        Concerns about lithium pricing and supplies seem premature.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Level pulls numbers out of his a$$ on nearly every comment.... and certainly every time he uses numbers.

        That is why he refuses to source is data. Straight from the rectum.

        This just in... Coal power percentage of the entire U.S. grid mix on average is 47.7% this year.

        But your emissions may vary.... check your local grid mix here:

        • 5 Years Ago
        Nozferat, it doesn't matter where the lithium comes from because unlike oil, you don't need to buy it every week. You just buy it when you first buy the car and that's it. Also, unlike oil, lithium can be recycled.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nosferatu, WTH? You are IMO educated enough with this sight to know the answer to your own question. I will humor you. Haven't you heard? Afghanistan has lots of minerals so we will be over their kicking the Tally Bans ass for a long time getting our lithium out of their ground. Not to mention you can make it out of sea water.
        • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        The cost to get lithium from seawater is 3 fold then from mineral mines...That's why it's not plausible...If you think a batter pack that cost 16K is expensive lol could u imagine adding the price for the extraction from seawater? you will kill all chance of a mainstream EV car....

        I have to agree not only is the mining of the lithium bad but the fact that 70% of the electricity used to power said EV comes from dirty coal...It's all a wash!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The mineral wealth of Afghanistan is not newly known. The report this week is just reiterating what is well known by everyone except the American people.They are just looking for a new reason to justify being there. The oil companies are kind of discredited right now, but if riches are to be had for the mining companies who could object to the continued slaughter of Afghans, Taliban, Brtitish and American soldiers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Level

        - "this is a blog after all not a scientific gov green comity ready to make impending decisions"

        True... you are entitled to your own opinion. But when you make quantitative claims and post a statistic or value of some kind, you WILL be called to show your proof.

        - "I will have to like they say dumb down to your level"

        I am the one doing the research and math... and you are saying you have to dumb it down? Yeah, that's rich.

        - " the fact that 70% of the electricity used to power said EV comes from dirty coal"
        That was from your first post in this thread.

        I have no problem with you expressing statements such as "a lot comes from coal" or "significantly more energy is required for seawater lithium extraction"

        But no... you had to type numbers that you pulled out of somewhere. But without citing your source.


        The biggest problem with the Green Car movement is "misinformation"!

        Opinions are one thing. But I feel sorry for the person who does a Google search on a topic, comes to this site, and reads that 70% of our electricity comes from coal. If blatantly incorrect statements are not checked immediately... they tend to become believed.

        Misinformation is spreading like wildfire. And you sir, are the culprit.


        - "which can only mean you lack confidence into what you read"

        It is called skepticism. Reading news articles and instantly believing everything it says is, at the very least, naive. Then repeating that misinformation to others is much worse.


        - "I have never refused anything but I did state when I have time to go back and look at reference I read I will come up and post it"

        This particular thread is at least the 2nd time I had asked you to source some data that you cited. This is the first time I have gotten a response with links.
        And those links were in reference to David's response, not mine.


        - "Coal to Electricity plants in the US of A? 70% of CO2 comes from that while only less then 18% comes from transportation"

        Misinformation! Started by oil companies, spread by the ignorant. You deserve to be corrected, and shouldn't whine about it when it happens.


        In short.... if you feel the urge to post comments here that include fabricated facts or figures... you obviously feel confident enough to type them.

        Especially if they contradict the general consensus of what people know to be true (like your coal percentage numbers).

        .............. Be prepared to have your bluff called!
        • 5 Years Ago

        There is a big difference from writing a comment reflecting things you have read and having to have data at hand and reference ready to include into every comment? That said this is a blog after all not a scientific gov green comity ready to make impending decisions...But since you don't know the difference of the two! and pretty much shown how evidently clear that you are a Irrational person..I will have to like they say dumb down to your level...

        Apparently you are a die hard "fanatic" with bookmarks to everything you claim...which can only mean you lack confidence into what you read, by counter reacting by calling me out as I pull numbers out of a$$ and refuses to source data.

        I have never refused anything but I did state when I have time to go back and look at reference I read I will come up and post it...I do have a life you know and rarely have enough time to feed tools like yourself.

        That said these are a few sources I have read, are there more yes will I take more time to include them no..like I stated this is a blog after all and nor I'm a preacher trying to convert people...You can't fix stupid....

        As to extracting lithium from seawater, Yes to South Korea remark but they are "30 percent more energy efficient than that of Japan" but the Japan plant is 5 times worst then mining lithium and they have been extracting it from seawater for the past 30 years....and in case you ask why would south Korea be extracting costly lithium from seawater? They don't want to subject themselves in the future to the new "lithium cartel" if you can call it that, once we knock down the oil cartels...




        do the math come to you conclusion...extracting lithium from seawater has the same problem hydrogen fuel cell has...they are both in abundance yes but cost tooo much to extract from water...So in till we create some cheap renewable energy source mining is the cost effective way to go as of today...everything else claims and such are vaporware..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cali certainly talks a good game. I will be more impressed if they could run a balanced budget 2 years in a row.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Or actually get anything done.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They call 7500 EVs by 2014 leading? That's something like 0.025% of their total vehicles on the road. How is that supposed to have ANY impact? Even with the 25,000 plug-in hybrids, that's still only 0.1% of the vehicles on the road (using 30 million which is probably low).
      That's barely a dent, they need to think a lot bigger. 1 million cars by 2014 would be actually doing something about their air pollution. Even then it would only be 3% of the vehicles on the road, but you would start to see an impact on the air quality.

      Ah well, more half-assed measures that sound good, until you look at what it actually accomplishes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry I posted this twice, it took me 15 mins to find the videos and sections with in them. Probably no one will watch them any way but I tried.

      CA has mandated that 1/3rd of its energy will come from renewables by 2020. They, Sempra power, are building a huge wind farm in Baha Mexico that will send power over the boarder to CA. The transmission lines alone will be a 115 billion over the next 10 years.

      29 minutes into this video it tells about the massive wind energy proposal from Baja going to CA.

      44.45 minutes into the video is a debate for staying on oil of using failed tech like EV's.

        • 5 Years Ago
        good debate...

        When the conservative mentioned that China's EVs running on coal power is dirtier than running on gasoline...
        the Liberal side should have debunked that.

        For two reasons.

        China's coal is MUCH dirtier than U.S. Coal... so it is not a fair comparison. Since the average coal plant is MUCH older and less efficient as well as few regulations for emission reduction technologies.

        That conclusion is faulty because that doesn't take into account emissions from oil production and gasoline refinement... because it takes place out of China. The Well-to-Wheels emissions of a typical C-segment car gasoline vehicle is over 180 gramsCO2/km (while only 140 gramsCO2/km Pump-to-Wheel) and the Well-to-Wheel emissions of a BEV running on 100% coal is at most 148 gramsCO2/km.

        *note, running on a U.S. grid mix, the Leaf gets about 95 gramsCO2/km

        see my math:


        The dirty EV myth has been debunked more times than, "Tiger Woods' monogamy"
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think one of the main problems here is that renewable energy usage in California is quite low.


      ~23%. The rest is... you guessed it... Coal, and a sprinkle of nuclear.
      Unfortunately the long tailpipe argument applies here to some degree. The truth is that if all the proposed solar projects actually happened, they could clean the air by that alone. The solar potential in CA is intense. Especially in Southern California where the pollution is at it's worst.

      But no mention of that here. Where's the funding for the renewable energy that, in combination with EVs, will scrub the air?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chris M

        You almost got it right. 18% of California's Electricity IMPORTS were from coal... And their Imports are 47% of their total power consumption.

        So about 8.5% of California's "total" electricity (including imports) consumption is from Coal-fired plants.

        Almost exclusively going to Los Angeles too. "LA Department of Water and Power (LADWP) operates the coal-fired Intermountain power plant in Utah, which delivers almost all of its output to LADWP and other California municipal utilities."

        California produces only 1.1% of it's "in-state" power from coal.

        2008 numbers.



        Natural Gas and Hydroelectric power are the biggest sources of power for Californian... by FAR. With Nuclear (not coal) taking 3rd place.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Okay, i just got owned :P
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Middle Way.

        The disinformation campaign runs long and deep. Only facts and the use of math can "scrub the air" of dirty lies.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, natural gas provides more electricity than coal does in California, as coal provides a mere 20.1%, mostly from New Mexico power plants.
        • 5 Years Ago

        My calculation was off. After tallying all the sources, California's total consumption of coal-fired electricity is 15.5%
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey, you gotta start somewhere. Whether its .01, .1, 1, 10 percent or whatever, it starts with one car and grows. Look at the big picture and think long term. If EVs catch on, become popular, improve etc, smog, exhaust emissions, use of fossil fuel etc slowly decline. Charging from the electrical grid does use power from dirty plants, but only 25% per mile as internal combustion cars. Many people could create enough power with solar cells to operate their EVs. Instead of focusing on the imperfections, embrace the advantages, promote the good ideas and help the ideas catch hold and our children will live in a world dominated by green and efficient EVs but it's not going to happen overnight and it will take time to work out the bugs but it's worth it. This change is almost as profound as the transition from animal drawn carriages to motor driven vehicles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bankrupt sate offering more welfare checks in order obtain bragging rights for being first?

      It's good they got their priorities in place.....
        • 5 Years Ago
        "seen by many as a risky"


        Seen by the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Newscorp, and Rupert Murduch.

        Shooting down anything that might hurt Saudi Arabian control.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hopefully it'll bring jobs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        We must FIX the Gov't by throwing OUT both the NeoCon & Democrat Statist Social-Fascist Progressives and returning to our TRUE Constitutional (liberty from Statism) roots!

        We MUST STOP Empire Building & Foreign Intervention with 700+ US military bases OCCUPYING over 135 nations PRODUCING hatred & jihad RESISTANCE!

        We MUST lead by example, not force! We must have fair Trade, NOT Manipulate with bribes/bombs OR Isolationism!

        STOP Socialist Redistributionist SLAVERY, Fascist Crony Corporatism & Illegal Immigration which are ALL spending us into oblivion!

        We must DEMAND Constitutionally limited Gov't, Individual Liberty & Responsibility, Sound Money, FREE competition between FREE States & FREE people.

        We MUST let our small business compete by letting them pay a fair training wage that they can afford and we MUST not pay people not to work as that only promotes generational poverty & despare while teaching people to depend on corrupt politicians instead of a strong family dynamic which leads to children having children and fatherless, pennyless, hopeless children. Teach to fish, NOT give free fish!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ TIM:

        So you're blaming welfare and minimum wage for the country's economic problems but not the trillions we spend on military weapons, invasions, and bases all over the world?

        The money we spend on the military in ONE YEAR would be enough to solve California's fiscal issues, infrastructure, the country's healthcare problems, and the disgusting conditions of our schools for good...so WTF are you talking about?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Really want jobs?

        Get rid of the minimum wage and lower business taxes so small business can afford to compete and hire people. Also get rid of welfare so people will have an incentive to work instead of stealing from the poor working taxpayers while teaching their children to have children so that they can get more "free" ObaMao money.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tim, run for office so I can NOT vote for you, just like every other teapublican running this year.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Uhhh... actually in California, the minimum wage is FAR below the cost of living. The disparity is huge.

        If you lived there for any amount of time you'd start wondering why the minimum wage isn't $9 or higher.
      • 5 Years Ago
      +1 with Level.

      I'll also add this - California is good at talk, not at getting anything done. After all the sound that comes out of CA on wind energy, for example, TX, ND and other states are working on putting projects up a lot faster. My bets are on TX emerging as a leader in an "electric future." CA will keep going more and more broke, talking a lot more, doing progressively less, as has been the state's history for at least the past two decades.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not so fast... California has had extensive wind generators at Altamont and Tehachapi, before it was even considered in Texas - California lead the way, started the ball rolling, so to speak. Now Texas may exceed California in wind energy, but only because it has more good windy sites. California also has a major geothermal power plant at the Geysers, while Texas has none, obviously because California has some good geothermal power sites while Texas doesn't.
        • 5 Years Ago

        California is the leading state that uses it's energy efficiently (PBS NOVA | The Big Energy Gamble).

        We led the way with Wind Power. We don't have that many god damn site for wind. We also approved a solar power sites already but it's delay cause of environmental concerns. The green sector is growing really fast here in California. The top three growing industry right now in California is Tech (green etc..), Health, and ... I forgot the third one.

        You're lack of knowledge on this subject other then CA vs TX is appalling. You don't see us rubbing it in with Silicon Valley, Wine Country, 7th world economy power house, Hollywood, Best Universities, etc...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Isn't our economy like 7th largest in the world. I get sun 320+ day a year at the beach and sit in traffic hardly ever. But I'm sure glad you wont be moving here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        CA has mandated that 1/3rd of its energy will come from renewables by 2020. They, Sempra power, are building a huge wind farm in Baha Mexico that will send power over the boarder to CA. The transmission lines alone will be a 115 billion over the next 10 years.

        29 minutes into this video it tells about the massive wind energy proposal from Baja going to CA.

        44.45 minutes into the video is a debate for staying on oil of using failed tech like EV's.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nobody mentioned Hydroelectric? They are a huge producer of that "renewable" energy too.
        • 5 Years Ago

        I think you missed Mehul's message. It isn't about sun, it isn't
        about traffic congestion; it's about action vs talk. ND and TX
        are doing, and CA is talking, is what he's saying; and these
        aren't States that are in the traditional Progressive fold. We
        can all be environmentalists, stewards of our planet. Let
        your Congressmen, Right and Left know that we want to
        be independent of foreign oil and that we want to take
        care of our common home by being and doing 'Green'.
        America, the Beautiful.
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