Nissan Leaf EV – Click above for high-res image gallery
Concerns over how electric cars fit into new CAFE emissions regulations popped up almost immediately after the announcement of new standards became official. The main question is how automakers will be credited for their electric vehicles (EVs). Specifically, will electric vehicles, with zero tailpipe emissions, help an automaker offset its high emission vehicles?
The Environmental Protection Agency has responded to concerns by capping the number of zero-emission vehicles that count for the CAFE standards. Officially, the EPA will allow each automaker to apply up to 200,000 zero-emissions vehicles towards the emission goals through 2016. After 2016, electric vehicles will no longer carry a zero-emissions tag. EVs will be assessed an emissions number based loosely upon the CO2 created from producing the electricity needed to charge the vehicle.
As expected, some companies are displeased with the setup. In particular, companies who anticipate high sales of electric vehicles in the coming years are not thrilled. Others have noted that emissions created by generating electricity is outside of the control of an automaker and it's simply unfair to base emission ratings on something beyond their control. There are also several groups that are overlyjoyed with the new regulations. Whether happy or not, the EPA guidelines are official and it looks like complaints from automakers will go unheard.
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[Source: USA Today]