The ZEV Mandate was created by California's Air Resources Board ("ARB",
or "CARB") in accordance with Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) Regulations passed in 1990. It required an increasing
percent of Zero-Emission Vehicles ("ZEV") to be sold in California. In effect, ZEV means battery-powered
EVs, because that is so far the only demonstrated technology with no tailpipe emissions.
CARB was able to do this for two reasons:
1. GM had shown
in 1990 that EVs were possible with the "Impact", a streamlined car using an (at that time) new type
of battery, and driven into an auto show by the GM CEO. This demonstration showed that previous arguments that
EVs were not feasible were not sound.
2. The Clean Air act mandates penalties for California's failure to meet standards.
Meeting air quality standards remains a challenge due to a growing state population with more
vehicles per capita, and more miles traveled per vehicle.
ZEVs have no tailpipe emissions, no evaporative emissions, and radically lower full fuel-cycle emissions, including
re-fueling and fuel generation. Unlike Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Vehicles, whose emission control
systems deteriorate over time, ZEVs remain benign from cradle to grave.
Starting with 2% of new car sales of the "Big
7" largest car makers in 1998, the mandated volume was to increase to 10% in 2003.
In 1996, under intense pressure by elected officials and the oil and auto industries, CARB eliminated the 1998
2% ZEV sales requirement in exchange for a "good faith effort" by the big 7 to market real-world EVs,
an effort at reconciliation.
This agreement was signed off as the 6 Memoranda of Agreement ("MOA"). Full
text of the MOA are were not public, but some details have been released to the general public Taxpayer who pays
for it all -- and breathes in the unfunded liability product of the Oil Industry.
In general, the MOA commited the auto manufacturers to:
1. Production of ZEVs in quantities consistent with public demand.
2. Public demonstration programs.
3. Continuing research efforts into advanced-battery powered electric vehicles.
4. Support infrastructure and rebates.
5. Support fleet usage.
As part of the 6 MOA, the Big 7 were to produce up to 3,750 advanced battery vehicles between 1998 and 2000. Crucial details of market analysis, design and promotion were apparently left
for each maker to decide for themselves, a
failure which would result in widespread claims that the Big 7 did not mount a credible effort.
- lead-acid GM
EV1 (1997): GM failed to deliver on the promise of its Nickel
Metal Hydride ("NiMH") batteries, so it used lead acid for this "gen I". Amazing efficiency,
but somewhat erratic Delco/Delphi batteries limited range to as little as 35 miles. About 700 were leased to the
- NiMh Honda
EV+ (1997): A 3-door 4-seat boxy hatchback, an easy car to drive
with range of 80 to 120 miles using Panasonic version of the GM batteries. 300 available to the public.
- NiMH Toyota RAV4 EV: 5-door hatchback seating 5, range about 100+ miles. About
300, generally not available to the public.
- Nissan Lithium Battery (Li+) Altra EV: Gigantic van-type vehicle with range about 100 miles. Not
available to the public.
- NiMH Ford (includes Mazda) Ranger EV:
Range about 100 miles. Unknown numbers have been made available
to the Public.
- NiMH Daimler-Chrysler EPIC: Range about 100 miles, using SAFT (French)
batteries. Some may be Public.
- NiMH GM
EV1 (late 1999): Most efficient production EV, with range of
140 to 160 miles on the hiway and 100 to 120 miles in town. 500 "Gen II" cars, including a number of
lead-acid versions using reliable Panasonic batteries, have so far been made available to the public.
"Extra Credits" were given for using advanced technology batteries (lead-acid
is current tech, NiMH is near-term, and Li+ and fuel-cell are supposedly long-term). For example, Nissan was only
required to make 90 Li+ Altras while Honda had to make 300 NiMH EV+.
This compromise put the first "nameplate"--major manufacturer--EVs on the road since the 1920's, and
the original 10% ZEV requirement for 2003 was left intact. But the Mandate is subject to a review every 2 years
by the ARB; the final Review prior to 2003 was held for September 7-8, 2000, in Sacramento. The last ZEV Review
was in Sept., 1998, at which there were no "significant" changes. Staff spent months diligently collecting
input and evidence for the Staff Report.
A crucial part of Staff input were two Public Workshops (Mar. 29 in Sacramento, and May 31 in El Monte) at which
there was a relatively massive showing of support by EV drivers, some of whom drove from San Diego to Sacramento
to participate. Workshop format was short formal presentations by the ARB Staff followed by industry and public
F I R S T W O R K S H O P: MARCH 29, Sacramento.
The Auto and Oil Industry are of course going to present, and have, in the past, paid for bus trips and lunch for
opponents of the mandate, seniors who at times heckle EV speakers. However, when drawn into conversation, these
seniors often expressed interest in EVs, and had only come for the free lunch.
S E C O N D W O R K S H O P MAY 31, El Monte.
Last chance to modify the Staff Report. The longer you wait to input, the harder it is to change a Staff Report,
so it may be too late to make major
changes by this workshop. That's why the First Workshop is so important. However, we will be able to make a mass
appearance, since many of the EV supporters are local to the LA Basin.
Summer: Staff Report released.
At this time, the die is cast, it would be very difficult for ARB to go "against Staff" without compelling
reason, such as Mass Citizen Protest or a Phone Call From The Governor. This is really the crucial date, the Staff
report often shapes the final decision.
F I N A L R E P O R T / D E C I S I O N September
21, 2000, Sacramento
retained the ZEV mandate, and ordered staff to figure out ways to
implement it. Economic spinoffs: read the staff report.
Industry's argument was:
- We tried our best,
but demand is just not there. Possible rebuttal: The mandate left
marketing to the Big 7, and they did not do a serious job (list details and evidence); Some vehicles, including
the practical RAV4, were not made available to the public at all; the best vehicle, the NiMH EV1, was not even
released until Dec., 1999; There were significant quality issues with the original GM vehicle (details!), etc.
- The technology is just not there for Battery EVs (BEV). The basis for these claims will have been laid in approaches to the Staff and
in the preceeding workshops, and must be challenged via facts, not just emotion or desire. Some suggestions: anectdotal
evidence from EV drivers and would-be drivers; Analysis of the objections that potential buyers give, showing that
the marketing effort was inadequate; Mission analysis, showing that the cars were marketed for a limited audience
(numbers and facts!), etc.
- Future efforts should concentrate on Hybrids (near term), and Fuel Cells
(long term) as solutions to the problem. The evidence against
this is the lack of a clear refueling method for fuel cells (still not practical for stationary applications--numbers
and yields please!), and the fact that hybrids are still tied to the gas pump and only postpone the problem at
best (emissions curve for a typical hybrid life cycle); etc.
- ARB should make an exception for
5 or 10 years to give industry's creation of Hybrids a chance to make a difference. Counters: They would put it
off forever, we can't wait that long, they should have to pay for hidden costs of treating Asthma deaths and sufferers
(numbers and studies!).
Complicating industry's "difficult sell" of this party line
is the current fiasco concerning MTBE, another "postponement" technique (it had the effect of releasing
the pollutants over a wider area, but now, a potential carcinogen, it has been found in aquafers and well water).
One more argument for dealing with the problem immediately, not postponing the reckoning.
Removing reliance on MTBE will mean a futher setback to meeting clean air standards. ARB must not succumb
to industry demands to give up by just abrogating the standards and living in dirty air, such as Houston's. Industry
will no doubt imply that the MTBE fiasco was outside of their control, and they should not be penalized until the
situation is rectified.
Who wins the election in Nov. will be crucial -- which party or candidate can the Industry lobby to put off the
very substantial penalties now hanging over California? As Sen. Trent Lott states, industry will "buy into"
candidates which will vote their way.