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Here's an ugly number. In order to meet the State of California's zero-emission vehicle requirements, Toyota might have to spend over a billion dollars. The $1 billion isn't a fine, but an estimate of what it will cost Toyota to make sure it has enough zero-emission vehicles to sell in the California market by the time the automaker's 2012 models go on sale (i.e., very soon).

The ugly number comes from "a person familiar with the matter" who spoke with Bloomberg. According to an industry analyst also quoted in the piece, the reason that Toyota could face this huge cost is that the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies and associated slow sales mean that Toyota now has a larger market share (24.1 percent) in the state. California law says that three percent of unit sales over a three-year period have to be non-polluting models. With Toyota in the sales lead (the next highest market share belongs to Honda, with 12.9 percent), it will fall on them to bring the cars to market. A California Air Resources Board air pollution specialist told the paper that the California sales targets for 2012 to 2014 include 7,500 zero-emission (hydrogen fuel cell or battery-electric) vehicles and more than 60,000 PHEVs from all automakers. That's a tough goal, but at least Toyota has the popular Prius to build from. Find more details here.

[Source: Bloomberg]

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