Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV): NO tailpipe emissions.

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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.

  1. 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 public.
  2. 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.
  3. NiMH Toyota RAV4 EV: 5-door hatchback seating 5, range about 100+ miles. About 300, generally not available to the public.
  4. Nissan Lithium Battery (Li+) Altra EV: Gigantic van-type vehicle with range about 100 miles. Not available to the public.
  5. NiMH Ford (includes Mazda) Ranger EV: Range about 100 miles. Unknown numbers have been made available to the Public.
  6. NiMH Daimler-Chrysler EPIC: Range about 100 miles, using SAFT (French) batteries. Some may be Public.
  7. 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 comment.

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
CARB retained the ZEV mandate, and ordered staff to figure out ways to implement it. Economic spinoffs: read the staff report.


Industry's argument was:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

The LEV Regulations of 1990, which form the basis for the ZEV mandate, were amended in November, 1998. Known as the LEV II Regulations, they contain several changes which affect the 2003 Mandate, even though the primary focus of LEV II is 2004 through 2010.
A new super-ultra low emission vehicle
(SULEV) category for light-duty vehicles was created, which is significantly lower than the ULEV standard. Most significantly, SULEVs that meet additional criteria are eligible to receive partial ZEV credits -- 0.2 credits for a gasoline-fueled SULEV and 0.4 credits for a compressed natural gas (CNG) SULEV. But SULEVs that generate ZEV credits can only be used by the Big 7 to meet 6% of their mandated ZEV sales volume, so 4% of their sales must still be true ZEVs -- battery EVs and stored-hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs).
The intermediate volume manufacturers may use SULEVs for all 10% of their mandated ZEV sales volume.


Special thanks to Bill Mason

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I have to bust your bubble, but let me give u my oponion as to why CA
droped the ZEM. Simple loss of tax money. I just watched "who killed the electric car" ,good movie , however I think it ingnored the "real killer" loss of revenue from fuel taxes.
the film stated that CA uses 280 million gallons of gas per week
So assume that if 10% of CA cars were ev's that would reduce CA gas use by 10% or 28 million gallons per week.
that would translate into a loss of fuel tax revenue of $7.896 million for CA per week and a loss of $5.152 million per week to the federal goverment. the federal goverment nor the state of CA is going to support anything that cost them so much money.
thank you
ricterdriver at yahoo.com
01/04/2007 3:31

you guys are friggan nerds
09/18/2006 8:22

I always knew these facts about REVS. However, the cost of buying one is unknown to me. I am retired. I would like to buy one. But, my requirements are; it must have an 80 plus mile range, rechargable at home, seat two persons and store groceries, readily available batteries and parts, needs for night driving, be capable of driving up hills without triping circuit breakers or blowing fuses or burning up its motor or motors and have windshield wipers. I need price ranges. I would like to join your EAA org. and receive your newsletter. Thank you. Paul Ray Gaines, Jr.- 385 Indian Ridge Dr.-Taylorsville, Ky.-40071. PH.# 502-477-6986. EMAIL Yacky40071 at juno.com
06/28/2006 12:12

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06/28/2006 4:27

I hate to break it to you people, but in California on the beach a Scientist was testing the air and found out the most of the Air polution in California was actually coming over the ocean from CHINA. So if everyone in California just stoped doing everythin from now on, California would still be getting polution. Hey China has no regulations so what do they care about health and clean air. On that program with that Scientist, I actually found out the if you live in one of the big cities of china everyday for 10 years, YOU WILL end up with some kind of health and or lung problem. I also found out that Chinese cars pollute soo badly, that there not even allowed to be driven in the U.S.A..
04/16/2006 19:52

roads, parking lots, apt. properdy is mostly asvalt
10/25/2005 8:49

Hybrids let people move to electric with no problems, when the time is right and as the technology improves. All they see is they save on fuel. It's better to have 1 million people enjoying hybrids and part electric than only 1000 on pure electric with limits and issues.
We need these bridges to the future and improvemnts. The public will push for more and more. We will all win this race. jstack6 at juno.com
07/06/2005 11:01




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