Death of the ZEV Mandate

ZEV timeline that we are slowly piecing together
Thanks to Mike Kane for his hard work on this research!

Jan 25 2001 - CARB adopts amendments to the ZEV regulation pushing out compliance dates and allowing low-pollution vehicles (PZEV, AT-PZEV) to qualify for partial credit.

Feb 23 2001 - GM files suit over 2001 ZEV amendments

Mar 2001 - GM informs those on waiting list they won't be getting EV-1's.

Feb 2002 - GM sends letters to EV-1 lessee's telling them that they will not be renewing current leases.

Jun 11 2002 - Court issues injunction prohibiting CA from enforcing 2001 amendments to ZEV regulation.

Aug 30 2002 - Ford cancels Th!nk program

October 9 2002 - Bush administration files friend of court brief supporting GM in its lawsuit against ZEV Mandate.

Nov 2002 - Toyota stops taking new RAV4-EV orders (cant' find any announcement with exact date)

Jan 10 2003 - CARB publishes staff report with proposed amendments to the 2001 version ZEV Mandate to be considered at Feb 27 Board Meeting. (These were the original small modifications pushing the program out two years, making some changes in how credits are calculated, and adding some additional weighting for

Jan 10 2003 - Toyota sends letter to RAV4-EV owners and those on waiting list informing them that they are canceling the program

Feb 13 2003 - CARB cancels Feb 27 board meeting and announces they are working on a new set of amendments to the ZEV mandate

Mar 5 2003 - CARB publishes 2nd set of amendments to
2001 version of the ZEV mandate. (These are the ones that added the Fuel Cell "Alternative Compliance"
track which effectively killed the mandate.

Apr 24 2003 - CARB approves the changes after delaying decision at March 27/28 public hearing

Aug 12 2003 - Automakers sign agreement with CARB dropping the lawsuit in light of the changes to the ZEV mandate

After watching the EV1 debacle over the past 14 years from both inside and outside the industry, a simple fact has become very clear to me.

ICE manufacturers REALLY BADLY don't want electric cars.

Once this assumption is made, everything falls into place:

Why don't they want electric cars:
Look at history:

- the telephone was not pushed by Western Union (former telegraph mega-company)
- the digital camera revolution was not lead by Kodak or Fuji.
- the move from sail to steam ships was not driven by the sailing masters of the sea.
- and on and on..

Look at corporate structure:
- an ICE company is made up of many divisions: Body, Chassis, power-trains (transmissions), power-plants (ICE), Service, Sales, electronics, etc. The most powerful ones are power-trains and power-plants.

Now put yourself into a position of any authority in this industry:

I dare you to walk into the board room and suggest a car that has no use for power-trains or power-plants and significantly reduces the need for service. Now try to find a friend in the room :-(

Once you realize that the BEV must be stopped, you must figure out how. If you are a major multi-billion dollar company, you'll spare little expense.

- you'll hire a bunch of lawyers to fight any legislation
- you'll hire PR companies to spin anything your way
- you'll hire a small R&D company to make the best EV possible just to show the world that it is a very bad idea.
- you'll try to place shills in all influential organizations
- you'll delay as long as possible by promising and actually conducting research into alternatives (and coerce the federal government to foot a lot of the bill)

Now suppose, as all campaigns do, a few problems surface:

Suppose your R&D company screws up and makes an EV that really looks great?

You tell the State of California you'd be happy to sell these cars except that due to your high costs, you have to have a guaranteed market - and that Republican SOB in Sacramento actually calls your bluff!

Now you have a real problem on your hands:

You then have to show that while a prototype may work, it really isn't economical (battery capacity, charging times, battery costs, battery lifetimes, battery hazmat, battery heating, yada yada yada).

Therefore, you put the car into pilot production and get the government to subsidize research into proving that these efforts won't (er) will work.

Then, throughout 10 years of subsidized R&D, battery capacity doubles in the first 3 years with an impressive improvement trend clearly showing, charging times drop to sub 20 minutes, battery costs appear to be on a run-away decline due to mass production potential, battery lifetimes start to look great, new 'green' battery technologies emerge, semiconductor technology improves battery safety, and one by one, all the real barriers fall at an alarming rate.

Now, you only have one option: Kill the cars at any cost.

You then have to:

- smear the truth
- get as many golf carts onto the road to block traffic as possible in order to convince the general public that EV's are ugly, weak, short range vehicles that no one would really want.
- play up any bad news such as some car that caught fire
- hide all the evidence of technology breakthroughs and continue to publicize 1970's technological barriers.
- find a new 'promising' technology to look into to solve the problems of the old technology
- have your shills take the gloves off
- abuse and ridicule the few people who have managed to get the vehicles
- destroy or threaten the careers of all within your companies who supported or were even involved with EV's so as to ensure that no one would even think about such a thing again.
- destroy all existing high performance EV's in order to remove any evidence of what a high powered EV can really do. This will simplify the PR task of labeling EV supporters as people on the fringe.
- make up a bunch of liability and marketing stories to rationalize your actions.

Now, if you happen to be Toyota and make your money by being the "second rat who gets the cheese" instead of the "early bird who gets the worm", you will pursue the same tact but a little more subtly so as not to truly inflame your loyal customers.

- you will provide a BEV conversion to a normal vehicle but still restrict its distribution (partly because your government isn't funding much of the effort)
- you will make sure your BEV conversion is functional but not particularly exciting or eye catching so as not to raise the average person's interest or attract regulatory action against you
- you will launch a hybrid that still contains components from all your corporate divisions
- And on and on...

- Earl

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