Chris Duffey - East Bay Express
The California Air Resources Board has modified a proposed rule that would have likely put most plug-in hybrid conversion shops in the state out of business. The rule would have required conversion shops to conduct the same emissions tests done by automaker to verify that conversions did not increase noxious emissions. The tests can cost upwards of $200,000 and smaller shops like 3Prong Power simply couldn't afford it.
The shops had proposed being allowed to convert up to 100 vehicles before having to conduct the emissions tests. CARB compromised and modified the rules to allow 50 conversions before testing would have to be done. This would allow shops to get established and build some revenue before expending the money. The issue is that most noxious (non-greenhouse gas) emissions are produced following a cold start. Automakers calibrate hybrid powertrains to make sure that following the first start, the engine runs long enough to warm the catalytic converter. The concern was that modifications to the powertrain would modify this control preventing the catalyst from properly warning.
[Source: East Bay Express]