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To quote L.L. Cool J, automakers concerned about stricter alt-fuel mandates keeping "going back to Cali, Cali, Cali." It remains to be seen whether the EPA responds by saying, "I don't think so."

Last week, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to step in and possibly nullify California's zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandates set to start in 2018, Automotive News reports.

The Auto Alliance is happy to promote the idea that its members are selling more cars, but the two big automaker groups are taking issue with the requirement that 1.4 million ZEVs – including plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles – be sold in California by 2014. That requirement may jump to about 2 million after factoring in the nine other states that are likely to follow the Golden State's lead for their own ZEV requirements. The groups tell the EPA that it's "highly unlikely" that automakers will be able to hit those numbers. Of course, there are ZEV credits available to those companies that fail to meet the ZEV mandate, as described here.

Last month, California outlined its ZEV Action Plan and said it would do things like subsidize electric-charging discounts and charging-infrastructure build-out in order to help push up those numbers. California, the most populous US state, accounts for about 12 percent of the country's total vehicles and about 40 percent of its plug-ins.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      Carguy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am usually against government overstepping and teling a business what to do but in this case I think what CA is doing is the right thing. Just like when it stepped in to eliminate tailpipe emissions. Sometimes you have to push people/companies to innovate. I don't doubt its difficult but we can't afford to not this.
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's get this all straight. First there is no specific number that the ZEV law mandates, it is a percent of sales. The 1.4 million number is a projection based upon future projected gas car sales. The 1.4 million number isn't for 2014, it is for 2025. And the 1.4 million is not just for California, it is across a total of 10 states, including California. California's share would be only about half of that, at around 800,000 total over the next 12 years. So even the number of 1.4 million by 2025 for California is wrong. "Nine other states are expected to follow California’s example, which means automakers would need to sell roughly 600,000 of the total 1.4 million ZEVs nationwide by the time 2025 rolls around." Read more: http://wot.motortrend.com/automakers-petition-california-zero-emission-vehicle-mandate-341679.html#ixzz2NvUDt8iC
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @raktmn
        800K sounds like a reasonable number by that time. A EREV car like the Volt should count toward the number in some way.
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Danny Kind are the dates right in the article? Dave (below) is saying the 1.4 million target isn't until 2025 (which sounds realistic), not 2014 (as in the article above) which sounds ridiculous.
        raktmn
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        Even worse, the 1.4 million number by 2025 isn't even the number that California will mandate. That is the total between California AND 9 other states combined. California's share is projected to be just 0.8 million out of the 1.4 million total.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Gotta keep trying. LEAFs are really moving around here lately. Volts are still cooking along too. So I think it's possible to sell some. Meanwhile, having looked at a Honda Fit EV, they'll have a lot of trouble leasing those at those prices. Toyota is giving $10K off RAV4 EVs in SoCal. Clearly there is a disparity here. Some companies are managing to sell EVs and plug-ins and others can't figure it out. This to me doesn't say its "impossible" to meet the mandate, but merely that it's difficult and companies need to learn how. You still can't even buy/lease a FIAT 500e or Chevy Spark despite those having been announced a while ago. You can't sell it if it isn't for sale!
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        "Some companies are managing to sell EVs and plug-ins and others can't figure it out. " Some companies are sucessful, some are not. If all they had to do was "try harder" then every car company would be as profitable as VW or Toyota Some companies are simply better run than others.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          I know, I'm just saying that there's a difference between "hard to figure out" and "impossible". One frees companies of any responsibility for the lack of sales, the other says they have a hand in the problem and must work to fix it.
        Actionable Mango
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Does the Volt count as a ZEV?
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          From what I can figure out, the Volt can earn somewhere between 1 and 2.4 ZEV credits, compared to some pure EV's that might qualify for 5-7 ZEV credits. It is damn near impossible to figure out from official CARB documents, because they seem to go as far out of their way as possible to make sure they don't name specific cars in their rules documents. But their research and proposal documents are full of references to the Chevy Volt qualifying for ZEV tax credits. From what I can tell, GM can use the Volt to satisfy up to 50% of their ZEV mandate. The rest would have to come from pure BEV's, fuel cell vehicles, purchased ZEV credits from other car makers, and excess PZEV credits.
          Ele Truk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          AT-PZEV or Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (Subaru also get PZEV and they aren't even electric). It just means no emissions when they aren't running. Even this rating the Volt couldn't achieve in the first couple years, it's an additional option for the 2013 model.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          By that I mean every Volt sold in CARB states now has that emissions package standard. It's optional outside CARB states.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          AFAK it does not. It does count for some other credits, but it does not count as a ZEV.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Ele Truk: It's not an option in CARB states, the PZEV emissions on the Volt are mandatory.
          Actionable Mango
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          "It just means no emissions when they aren't running." I'm pretty sure even an M1 Abrams tank engine is zero emissions when it isn't running. :)
        Dave R
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        The only EVs that are selling well are the Nissan LEAF and Telsa Model S. Why? Because both are fully committed to EVs and it shows with ground-up designs. Fit EV: Lease only, lease price is higher than the comparable LEAF. Focus EV: A conversion w/no trunk space and a high price. LEAF starts at $10k less now! iMiEV: Too small, too cheap feeling, too funny looking. For the same price you get a LEAF w/more comfort and more range. RAV4-EV: A conversion (albeit a good one) with real world 100mi range, but people don't want last year's RAV4, it's too expensive with the $50k sticker price scaring people off (even with the $10k Toyota Cash they started throwing at it), only available in California. It's no wonder sales have been lackluster at best.
          CarNutMike
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave R
          The Tesla is the only ground-up design. The Leaf is based on Nissan's global "B" platform IIRC.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave R
          Yep, I totally agree. I forgot about the Model S. Obviously it is a great car but the market for such an expensive car is fairly limited. But that market may be much bigger than I give it credit for. A lot of rich people may be willing to buy the Model S as a daily driver and have other cars for longer trips.
        aatheus
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        I nearly got a Fit EV. It's a fun car to drive. But no fast charging capacity is a deal-breaker for me. I went for a Leaf instead.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatheus
          Did you life the floor mats in the rear footwells? The carpet is still cut for the non-EV and is stapled to try to match the raised footwell. Between that and the way they leaned the rear seats back to preserve headroom were pretty much dealbreakers. I liked the motor though, it's smoother and more powerful than the LEAF. And it sings to you.
      MarcCBR
      • 2 Years Ago
      They need to stop whining and get to work. If they want to sell cars in California abide by the law if not leave there will be plenty of other comapanies to take there place.
        Greg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MarcCBR
        Considering how few new car companies have spawned, and how few EV car companies make money, I don't believe there is anyone to jump in and "take their place."
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      Even the autonews story got it wrong. The 1.4 million ZEV's by 2025 isn't just California. It also includes ZEV sales in 9 other states that have adopted California's emissions standards. California's share by 2025 is just 0.8 million total over the next 12 years. "Nine other states are expected to follow California’s example, which means automakers would need to sell roughly 600,000 of the total 1.4 million ZEVs nationwide by the time 2025 rolls around." Read more: http://wot.motortrend.com/automakers-petition-california-zero-emission-vehicle-mandate-341679.html#ixzz2NvUDt8iC
      aatheus
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey California: Know what will really push EV sales? Do like Oregon and Washington have done and put a network of DC fast chargers along I-5! Once I get out of Shasta county, there are no fast chargers until I get into Oregon. Come on already!
        Greg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aatheus
        No. The barrier is initial cost, not charging. Phones, tablets, & every other mobile device takes a long time to charge, but we've adjusted our schedule & expectations so it's not a hassle. People can & will do the same with cars. Not every car is good for every task, and that's especially true for EVs. They are not good for cross-country driving, just like a Corvette isn't good for moving a couch or a Civic isn't good for towing a boat. One-car families won't buy EVs, and that's okay. EVs can be a success if they just replace all the dedicated commuter cars.
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aatheus
        I think the delay is because of the wait for SAE DC. California has a policy to support both SAE and CHAdeMO (this affects any publicly funded chargers and also the chargers to be installed as part of the NRG settlement).
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aatheus
        Who is going to step every 60 minutes and charge for 30 minutes? The LEAF just isn't really set up for long trips, even with CHAdeMO.
      JakeY
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seems like the automakers are at it again. 1.4 million by 2025 is about 120k per year on average. Last year there were 53k plug-in sales, a huge jump from 17500 in 2011; in all cases a bulk of the sales are in California. This year I would not be surprised to see close to 100k sales (the Model S will add 17k to last year's numbers, Leaf should sell better with lower price, Ford just introduced new Energi models). As for new models, the next couple of years will have the Model X, i3, Infiniti's EV, ELR. Then there will also be the compliance cars of course (which will be exclusively be sold in California and other compliance states). Doesn't seem like it'll be too difficult.
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      You really have to wonder if Danny King screws up this badly on purpose, with the collaboration of whoever approves his stories just to stir up controversy. Seriously, who can report over and over on ZEV credits, and then mistakenly let slip a whopping mistake like saying there is a "requirement that 1.4 million ZEVs ... be sold in California by 2014" when every source he links to says this isn't true?
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Meh. They need to try harder. Coming out with high-priced limited availability 'compliance cars' is not a real attempt. Only Nissan has made a sincere attempt at ZEV cars. The Ford Focus electric is an out-sourced over-priced kludge, the head of Chrysler/Fiat regularly bashes his own Fiat 500 electric, the GM Spark is late & ugly, the Fit EV is a decent car but expensive & overpriced, the Toyota RAV4 is too nice but too expensive, BMW has a pricey compliance car, VW has NOTHING yet, etc. I'll give partial credit to Mitsubishi with the funky looking Mitsubishi-i but has too small of a battery and to Daimler for the Smart EV which is decent but not marketed. (I don't even know if it is available yet.)
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Nissan definitely made a sincere attempt but then they blew the engineering, choosing to go for cheap with the thermal environment of the batteries (and all the fallout we're seeing from that - cook'm in hot places, poor performance in cold and just generally loosing capacity rapidly - which could damage the whole plug-in movement).
          chanonissan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sasparilla Fizz
          show your data that all leaf is losing capacity rapidly, be careful how you write, the leaf have temperature problem above certain range, apart from that it is ok. what your writing is misrepresenting data. nissan is collecting data if you was not aware of all Leaf when you turn the crawings nav on.just like telsa. they can now where you drive speed distance and how you charge the vehicle.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        The VW e-Golf is due in 2014
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't think Tesla is going to have a problem with this. :)
      Neil Blanchard
      • 2 Years Ago
      They're not trying hard enough, then. They need to do some more aerodynamic drag engineering and lower the heat and A/C energy consumption - longer ranges with the same battery will sell/lease more EV's. A true 100 mile EV would be a short term goal! Neil
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        I agree Neil, if the Leaf had the range of the RAV 4 (and its same price) - then you could handle the range loss over time, you could handle reduced range in the cold (Nissan still needs to fix the high temp issue), but your point is correct - with 100 miles EPA (I'd like to say 120EPA) at current prices they'd be able to sell a lot more of them, more people would feel comfortable buying them. We just need time and we need the Federal tax credit to slowly fade out over the end of the decade instead of dropping off a cliff in the middle (that will be a bad thing for sales).
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