March 27, 2008 CARB ZEV Modifications

Once again, CARB plans to delay putting ZEVs on CA roads. This page will chronical a bit of what happens.

(CARB) is scheduled to vote on a change to their Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program that could delay production ZEVs from the major automakers another decade. The ZEV goals were once 2% in 1998, 3% in 2001, and 10% in 2003, but later the program was put off a decade. Now as the end of that decade draws near, CARB staff proposes to delay another decade. Staff calls for 840 vehicles per year (0.04%) in 2012 through 2014. The old 1998 target is fifty times what is now being proposed for 16 years later. In 2015 CARB proposes only 0.4%. The 2012 goals do not even approach the number of vehicles previously shown to be possible. See the EAA background info on this decision. More from Google here.

There were plenty of articles on March 28, 2008 that featured my PLUG. See them here.

Official summary of the vote on CARB's site. And the Fact Sheet of the ZEV program.

Stefano's Video of the press conference the day before the hearing. See all of Stefano's page here.

March 28, 2008

State deals blow to zero-emission vehicle supporters

The Air Resources Board substantially reduces the
number of clean-air cars that big automakers will be
required to sell in the next few years.

By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 28, 2008

California's Air Resources Board voted Thursday to
slash by 70% the number of emission-free vehicles that
carmakers must sell in the state in coming years, a
significant blow for environmentalists and
transportation activists.

But the panel set new rules requiring automakers to
build tens of thousands of plug-in hybrid cars, which
run on electricity and gasoline. And it adopted a
motion to overhaul its entire Zero Emission Vehicle
program to align it with tougher greenhouse-gas
emission standards enacted in California in recent
years. That could lead to the production of many more
clean vehicles, but the overhaul won't happen until at
least the end of 2009.

Under the new standards, passed unanimously, the board
will require the largest companies selling cars in the
state to produce 7,500 electric and hydrogen fuel-cell
vehicles for sale, lease or loan in California from
2012 to 2014 -- down from the 25,000 required in the
period under the previous rules.

In addition, carmakers will be called upon to make
about 58,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the
same period. The previous regulation, passed in 2003,
made no provisions for plug-in hybrids because they
were not considered viable at the time.

"Clearly advocates would like to have more of these
technologies available," said air board member Daniel
Sperling, who introduced the proposal that ultimately
passed. "But it's my view that both plug-in hybrids
and [emission-free vehicles] are tremendous stretches
for the industry."

Environmental and transportation activists called the
decision a victory for carmakers, which had lobbied
vigorously against the mandates.

"It's a huge blow," said Chelsea Sexton, executive
director of Plug In America, an advocacy group. "They
sent the message to the carmakers that they can always
get what they want from the board."

Automakers, though, were reserved. "We're going to
have to take some time and study it," Ford Motor Co.
spokeswoman Jennifer Moore said. "The question is
still what technology is ready and what is going to be
commercially viable."

Ford is one of six automakers -- along with General
Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Chrysler, Honda
Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. -- subject to the
mandates. Smaller car companies are not bound by the
rules, though they could be if their sales increase.

At the day's outset, board Chairwoman Mary Nichols
expressed a desire to increase the number of
emission-free vehicles in California. "Our goal here
today is to emerge with a clear direction that will
get this program on track," she said.

Yet the final decision was anything but clear. By
inserting last-minute provisions that create a
hierarchy among types of zero-emission vehicles, the
number of such cars that automakers will have to make
by 2014 could vary greatly.

If, for example, carmakers produce only hydrogen
fuel-cell vehicles with an operational range of 300
miles or more, the number they would be required to
make could be as few as 5,357 -- or 297 cars per
automaker per year. If they make only short-range
electric vehicles, though, the required number would
jump to 12,500.

Created in 1990 with the intent to improve air
quality, the ZEV mandate initially sought to require
that 10% of all cars sold in the state be
emission-free by 2004. ZEV has since been revised five
times, and, after Thursday's vote, will be again.

The latest plan to revise the mandate stems from the
air board's desire to align the program with a 2006
state law that sets a target of reducing greenhouse
gas emissions 80% by 2050, and another law that calls
for reducing tailpipe emissions of all cars sold in

"For 2015 and beyond, we'll adopt a new program that
will probably be even more aggressive than what is
currently in effect," board member Sperling said,
without mentioning any specific numbers.

Ten other states have joined with California on the
ZEV program, with the Golden State acting as sort of a
lead regulator. However, the board previously granted
automakers an exemption from having to make any ZEVs
for the other participating states until 2011. On
Thursday, the air board extended that date to 2017.

The board also adopted a provision requiring
automakers to publicly disclose how many "credits" for
producing emission-free vehicles they amass or trade
with others.

The vote was preceded by hours of comments from
automakers, activists and even a few high school

Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, now a senior
advisor at investment firm VantagePoint Venture
Partners, called the issue of emission-free vehicles
one of "national energy security" and asked the board
to boost requirements for electric cars and plug-in
hybrids. VantagePoint is an investor in plug-in hybrid
maker Fisker Automotive Inc. Ze'ev Drori, chief
executive of Tesla Motors Inc., maker of an electric
car, argued for more rigorous standards. Because of
the complicated workings of the mandate, his company
stands to make money trading the credits it earns when
it sells its vehicles.

"The only impediment to this is the parochial,
self-interested agendas of the automakers," he said.

Al Weverstad, executive director for environment,
energy and safety at GM, asked the board for special
consideration for the Chevy Volt, which is in
development. GM says the car will have a longer range
than rival plug-in hybrids.

"We'd ask that you give us some additional credits,"
he said. The board granted that request, valuing
extended-range plug-in hybrids above shorter-range

Robert Sawyer, former chairman of the air board,
called for simplification. "We should return to a
'zero means zero,' simple, easy to enforce program,"
he said.

Earl Killian summarized the hearing thusly:

California Cuts Zero Emission Vehicles 70-79%

Yesterday the California Air Resources Board (CARB) held the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) board meeting previewed inKilling the Electric Car Again Part 1 and Part 2. CARB appears to have put on a partially choreographed show. Agency staff played the role of “bad cop.” Before the meeting they proposed cutting ZEVs by 90%, setting the scene for the Board appointees to play “good cop” and change the cuts to 70%. This allowed CARB to spin it as a tripling in the numbers in their 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 climatechange benefits.

If FCVs with 300-mile range are used, then the cut is actually 79%; only 0.08% of new vehicles would have to be ZEVs.

Some of the board members insisted on playing the role of “bumble cop”, as they seemed to have little understanding of exactly what they were voting on. Even board members who had initially stated they thought the numbers should be increased, not decreased, seemed suddenly to forget those remarks and docilely follow the lead of board member Dr. Daniel Sperling, who near the end flashed up a slide filled with a table of numbers (presumably prepared in advance), and suggested that the board go with only 2,500 (1,785 if 300-mile range) FCVs a year. The board followed 7-0.

During the meeting, over fifty speakers took 3-minute slots explaining to the board why CARB should not retreat on its 8,333 per year mandate for 2012-14 (approximately 0.4% of California vehicle sales). The other dozen or so speakers primarily represented automakers and other interests requesting changes peculiar to their particular situations (issues such as the transition from intermediate to high volume manufacturer status, hydrogen internal combustion engines, and so on). Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey testified at the CARB meeting on the wastefulness of diverting resources to hydrogen fuel-cell programs and the need to get plug-in cars on the road soon in order to reduce U.S. dependence on oil and to increase national security. Former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Deputy Under Secretary of Education Peter R. Greer, both of whom served under President Ronald Reagan, wrote to Gov. Schwarzenegger imploring him to help get more electric vehicles on the market.

In a bit of drama, former CARB chairman Dr. Robert Sawyer testified in front of the board he once directed, calling for a stronger ZEV program. Dr. Sawyer was appointed to the board by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2005, but then fired by the Governor in 2007. Dr. Sawyer’s firing led to the resignation in protest of CARB Executive Director Catherine Witherspoon. She accused the governor’s aides of blocking efforts to fight global warming, saying “I believe the governor cares deeply about air quality, but no one in his inner circle does.” Dr. Sawyer was replaced by Mary Nichols, who yesterday helped lead the board’s retreat on ZEVs. Governor Schwarzenegger now has the dubious honor of joining Governor Davis in delaying the technology we need to control vehicle emissions.

The ZEV program continues to be a hydrogen fuel cell research program, and not a program to create clean air vehicles. Board Chair Mary Nichols called at the outset of the meeting to not tilt toward one technology, and most of the comments submitted before and during the meeting called for CARB to implement a level playing field between all types of ZEVs–Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs)–but it was not to be. In the end, Chair Nichols and her board simply ignored the issue she had raised and did nothing to provide balance. In fact, Dr. Sperling’s last minute change increased the credits given to long-range FCVs from 5 to 7, compared the program’s maximum BEV credit of 3; CARB remains highly tilted toward hydrogen. Automakers will get the same number of credits from 5,357 FCVs as 12,500 BEVs over three years. These low volumes guarentee that automakers will be able to say that the program is not economic.

If there were any bright notes, they were the vote for transparency in ZEV credits, and that the plug-in hybrids that manufacturers have been talking about recently are now required. However, it is likely that these PHEVs represent vehicles that would have been produced anyway, i.e. CARB seems to be following the market here rather than leading it here. The board’s action had the effect of requiring slightly less (19,500 per year) PHEVs than the staff proposal, as they ignored a suggestion from board member Dorene D’Adamo to hold this value constant while reducing staff’s ZEV cuts.

The Board also passed a resolution directing CARB staff to overhaul the ZEV program, which has become a Rube Goldberg contraption in its complexity, with Bronze, Silver, Silver+, and Gold credits for Type o, I, I.5, II, III, and IV ZEVs, PZEVs (cleaner internal combustion engines), AT PZEVs (really hybrids), and Enhanced AT PZEVs (really plug-in hybrids), with carry back and carry forward provisions, and so on. This overhaul is long overdue. However, the board gave staff until December 2009 to create a proposal, which will then have to be reviewed, amended, and approved, and from then it will be many years before the new program can call for any real changes in automakers’ production plans. CARB says the new program is to be ready by 2015, but the new program will not be able to change 2015 volumes, given automaker production schedules.

CARB released its own summary and fact sheet on the changes. These present put the best possible spin on the changes.

Chris Paine, director of Who Killed the Electric Car?, was at the CARB meeting, filming, perhaps for a second documentary.

Earl Killian wrote this excellent piece that was submitted to the CARB prior to the meeting.

published Monday, March 24th, 2008

CARB Must Reject Staff Recommendation to Weaken ZEV Mandate
by Ze'ev Drori
President and CEO

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is considering changes to the Zero Emission Vehicle Program (also commonly known as the “ZEV Mandate”) on March 27th at its Board meeting in Sacramento. If you’ve seen Who Killed the Electric Car? you have an idea of what the ZEV Mandate is and how its implementation has been challenged and impeded by traditional auto manufacturers for more than a decade.

Tesla Motors strongly disagrees with the recently proposed changes to the ZEV Mandate as reflected in the staff’s “Initial Statement of Reasons” (ISOR) dated February 8, 2008 and is lobbying against the proposed changes. President and CEO Ze’ev Drori will speak at the Board meeting this week to communicate our position directly to the board.

On March 12th, 2008, Ze’ev sent the letter below to outline Tesla’s position directly to CARB Chairperson Mary Nichols. In addition, Tesla developed a whitepaper rebutting the faulty conclusions of the CARB ZEV Expert Panel Position on Lithium Ion Full-Performance Battery Electric Vehicles.

If you support Tesla’s position, you can help by calling Board Members or Staff, mailing, or e-mailing the Air Resources Board prior to the final vote on March 27, 2008.

Chairman Nichols:

I am writing to you in my capacity as the President and CEO of Tesla Motors, a Silicon Valley manufacturer of a widely acclaimed EPA, DOT, NHTSA and CARB certified zero emission battery-powered electric automobile. I have well founded concern about the recently proposed changes to the California Zero Emissions Mandate as reflected in the staff’s Initial Statement of Reasons (ISOR) dated February 8, 2008. If adopted as proposed, key provisions of the ISOR would needlessly weaken the intended purpose of the Zero Emissions Mandate, if not make a mockery of CARB itself.

On the very first page of the Initial Statement of Reasoning (ISOR), the staff wrote, “The Board adopted Resolution 07-18 directing CARB staff to return to the Board with proposed changes that address the state of technologies needed to meet the regulation. In directing that changes were needed, the Board affirmed its support for the program and emphasized that any changes should strengthen the overall objective of the program”. The staff echoed this directive by asserting that “the proposed amendments are expected to maintain pressure on the commercialization of PURE ZEV technologies” (p. ii, top paragraph).

In order to fulfill the Board directive the staff’s experts have evaluated various zero emission technologies and have concluded, “Given the current state of Battery technology staff doesn’t anticipate that manufacturers will produce any battery EV prior to 2012” (p. 29, last paragraph).

I assure you that Tesla Motors is in production of road-worthy fully certified battery powered ZEVs. I would like to emphasize that these cars are neither a “pipe dream” nor are they exotic one-of-a-kind creations. We have designed, developed and produced, without benefit of any state or federal aid, a remarkable and commercially viable battery powered zero emissions automobile. What’s more, we are currently ramping up production that will reach an annual rate in excess of 1800 cars.

It seems clear that you have been misinformed about the availability of pure ZEVs and that the staff has erred in recommending that the Board substantially loosen for years to come, requirements that can in fact be met today.

What erroneous recommendations did the staff make?

  1. Rather then recommend an increase in the minimum number of pure ZEV required in the years 2012-2014, the ISOR asks for 90% reduction from 25,000 to a mere 2,500 (p.26 section 4.1). Is this in line with “maintaining the pressure on the commercialization of pure ZEV technologies”?
  2. What’s more, the ISOR proposes substitution of pure ZEVs with up to 90% Enhanced AT PZEVs in Phase III and substitution of up to 50% pure ZEVs with Enhanced AT PZEVs in Phase IV.
  3. In their own words the staff proposal, if adopted, will decrease the number of pure ZEVs by 2/3 from 75,000 to 25,000 (page iii, last paragraph) between the years 2012 to 2017. How does one reconcile this with the Board’s stated mission and directive to “strengthen the overall objective of the program”?
  4. The ISOR is extremely concerned about the cost of compliance to automotive giants and foreign car makers, in their own words, “The proposed amendments to the ZEV program are projected by CARB staff to reduce the cost of compliance for automobile manufacturers.” It’s entirely illogical to grant a relief to the most prosperous auto makers such as BMW, Mercedes, and Volkswagen by proposing that these foreign car makers will be exempted from delivering pure ZEVs for a period of twelve years as they transition from intermediate volume manufacturer (IVM) to a large volume manufacturer (LVM). The ISOR reasons that it was warranted in order “to provide additional time to develop full ZEV technologies” (p. 22, the paragraph below table 3.9). Unequivocally no automobile manufacturer should be granted a waiver, an exemption or a delay in fully complying with the pure ZEV requirements. The CARB requirements were not sprung on the automakers suddenly. All manufacturers knew of these requirements for years and should they really wanted to comply they certainly have much more financial and engineering resources than Tesla, yet Tesla has done it. Tesla dispels the notion that it can’t be done. It’s transparent that rather than take seriously CARB’s requirements and work on a timely compliance the car makers have opted to rely on their considerable lobbying power.
  5. Staff mistakenly has concluded, “Because the proposed amendments are anticipated to reduce costs faced by California businesses, they would have no adverse impact on the ability of California businesses to compete with businesses in other states” (p.35, section 6.8), where in fact the opposite is true. The staff proposals if enacted will have a severe adverse impact on Tesla, the only car maker based in California since having the ability to sell the accumulated ZEV rights mitigates in part some of the large costs incurred by the company in the development of a pure ZEV car. The staff recommendation is disturbing since in essence, not only it would substantially weaken the ZEV program, but it will also bestow a financial windfall on rich foreign auto makers and domestic giants while at once penalizing a California based ZEV manufacturer. This untenable proposition is not only illogical but in fact contravenes both the letter and the spirit of the State’s own code (sections 11346.3 and 11346.5 of the government code).

Chairperson Nichols, with all the compelling evidence and facts provided, it is apparent that CARB must reject staff recommendation for granting any reduction, delays or reliefs in fully implementing the present requirements for pure ZEVs. In fact CARB is now in a position to accelerate the schedule and increase the number of pure ZEVs mandated.

Respectfully submitted,

Ze’ev Drori

March 12, 2008

Honorable Governor,

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) plans to drastically reduce the Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) requirement at their 3/27 meeting. The essence of the planned reduction is that, for the next seven years, fewer Electric Vehicles (EV) would be produced than the total number that has produced since the mid-90's!  The position of the manufacturers, that Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV) won't be ready for another decade, ignores the reality that pure Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) are feasible NOW in meaningful commercial quantities.

For the last six years, I have been fortunate to drive, on a daily basis, one of the few, fully functional, freeway capable ZEV's that was offered retail for about eight months in 2002. This ZEV, a Toyota RAV4 EV, now shows almost 98,000 miles on the odometer. My total unscheduled maintenance over my six years of ownership totals $1000, while planned maintenance (tires, brakes, minimal routine maintenance), is far below that of the internal combustion counterpart. I have avoided oil changes, tune-ups, smog checks, and other expenses common to the operation of a fuel-burning vehicle. I can't park anywhere without individuals coming up to me and asking details such as "where do I buy one, how much range, where do you charge, etc". It's a shame I have to tell them the vehicle, a ten year old design, is NOT available except on the second hand market, which is very limited. Even after six years and almost 100,000 miles, my ORIGINAL traction battery pack shows no signs of aging. I enjoy the same range and performance today as I did when I acquired the vehicle on 3/20/02! Maybe this isn't perfect, but it seems quite satisfactory, especially when one considers the advances that could have been made since this design debuted in the late 1990's. Look at what Tesla Motors is offering now!

The manufacturers will continue to chant "not ready yet, need new battery technology/break through/maybe ten years from now". The reality is that BEV may not fit the outdated business model of the traditional manufacturers.  Is this a good enough reason not to introduce ZEV's (BEV's are the only feasible way to achieve a ZEV) in meaningful numbers beginning with the next model year? The manufacturers can, with some effort and vision, adjust their business model to accommodate BEV's in meaningful quantities. The people of California deserve better, and CARB is in a position to drive this, despite the automotive lobby.  FCV's, needing Hydrogen fuel, will probably not be a viable option for quite some time. And, the common perception that Hydrogen is a fuel source is a myth. In the scenarios discussed so far, Hydrogen is simply used as an energy carrier in an ineffecient arrangement involving either natual gas or enormous amounts of electricity. Both options leave behind vast quantities of Carbon Dioxide.

Finally, BEV's can be a meaningful part of helping to solve the electricity problem in California. With some vision, a statewide network of BEV's, plugged in at work or  at home, could be set to provide immediate power dispatched to the grid by the CAISO or other control centers. With the right technology and operating limits, the entire state grid could be operated in a more economical manner, while individual vehicle owners would get credits based on utilized or available capacity. This would partially offset the cost of vehicles, reduce the use of inefficient generators and their CO2 emissions, and promote the concept of distributed generation throughout the state.  The planned deployment of automated electric meters could complement this, again, with the right vision applied to the right technologies. But, a statewide standard is imperative to make this work.

Governor Schwarzenegger, please use your considerable influence to get the CARB to stand firm on meaningful requirements for ZEV's in the form of BEV's! Compelling the manufacturers to do this will finally bring the cost for these vehicles within reach of the working, commuting Californian, while helping to solve a host of other problems we suffer from today. We don't need to wait another year.

M. Colburn, P.E. San Diego, CA

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