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California Cuts Quotas For Zero-Emission Vehicles

volt2.jpgThe California Air Resources Board has voted to lower the number of battery-powered and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that must be sold in the state by automakers 70 percent, AP reports. Instead, it has set a target for the number of hybrids that must be on the road. The decision is expected to affect 12 other states that had adopted California’s target for zero-emission vehicles.

Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler and Nissan said they couldn’t meet the zero-emissions standard and needed more time to make affordable hydrogen and battery-powered cars. Instead, they must sell nearly 60,000 hybrid vehicles while they develop pure zero-emission vehicles, AP reports.

From the CARB press release:

The Air Resources Board today voted to triple the amount of zero emissions vehicles that staff had proposed for automakers to produce from 2012 through 2014, while directing staff to look at overhauling the program to account for climate change benefits.

Staff had proposed to require 2,500 pure zero emission vehicles, which the Board increased to 7,500. Automakers can produce fewer ZEVs, 5,357, if they are long-range fuel cell vehicles or they can opt to satisfy the requirement by manufacturing 12,500 battery electric vehicles with a range of 100 miles.

The Board maintained a second component of the vehicle emissions reduction program that allows the automakers flexibility in their alternative fuel programs by requiring an additional 58,000 plug-in hybrids during that same period. If the automakers produce 25,000 ZEVs, there are no remaining plug-in hybrid requirements.

Additionally, ARB Chairman Mary Nichols directed staff to overhaul the ZEV program for 2015 vehicles to synch up with other Board tailpipe emission programs such as the Pavley regulations addressing greenhouse gas emissions and the low emissions vehicle program.

“Today’s decision will lead to more green auto choices for consumers now while keeping the pressure on the automotive engineers to continue fine tuning the technologies that will yield an all electric-drive vehicle fleet for California in the near future,” Nichols said. “We must continue to push for all types of technologies — fuel cells, electric vehicles and hydrogen powered cars — as we fight our duel battles against smog and global warming.”

Created in 1990, the ZEV program seeks to spur technological advancements in the automobile industry that lead to more clean cars on California’s roadways. The ZEV program is the world’s only enforceable requirement for development and production of zero emissions vehicles.

As a direct result of the ZEV program, over 750,000 Californians are currently driving vehicles with near-zero emissions and an extended emissions warranty of 15 years or 150,000 miles. They are 80 percent cleaner than the average 2002 model year car. Today’s action will assure many more near-zero and zero emission vehicles on California’s roads in the near future.

For a summary of the board’s actions go here.

For a copy of the fact sheet, go here.

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