Alt Car Expo 2007: California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols keynote speech

Mary Nichols, chairperson of the California Air Resources Board, gave what was billed as a keynots address at the Santa Monica Alt Car Expo yesterday. Big name for a half-hour talk on the future of green vehicles in California. Nichols said that the forseeable end points for CARB are two powertrain types: pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The reason that what CARB sees as the future is important beyond the borders of California is that so many other states look to the Golden State for not only inspiration but also laws. We know about the handful of states that have already adopted California's clean car laws, but Nichols said that even more states (Utah, anyone?) are looking to join the parade.

One of Nichols' big campaigns right now is the Drive Clean California campaign, part of CARB's expanded mission to get people to drive cleaner. Working with manufacturers, even as they fight with CARB over some issues in the courts, Drive Clean California is an expanded public outreach program. CARB will be going to health events in California and debuting an "environmental performance" label, starting with the 2008 model year vehicles. This label, in addition to the PZEV or ZEV badges, will rate each vehicle on a score of one to 10 on that vehicle's smog and global warming impact on that vehicle.

Nichols herself admits that her talk wasn't the most exciting part of the Alt Car Expo, but if you're interested in a peek into the future of green car legislation and implementation in the US, this talk is well worth your 25 minutes. Listen to the MP3 here.

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