Jan 23, 2009 (From the CalCars-News archive)
In this week of unprecedented change in Washington, we can also report progress in Sacramento at the agency that is most responsible for the future of PHEV conversions -- whose rules are precedent for many other states, watched by all others and the federal government, and closely tracked by the auto industry. Here's our statement:
We're very pleased to report that at today's California Air Resources Board hearing, the CARB Board decided to take another look at the implications for the aftermarket conversion industry tof proposed staff regulations for PHEVs. (See our previous postings at http://www.calcars.org/news-archive.html .) In a move with very positive implications, CARB took action to keep alive the possibility that an industry of converters of both hybrid and non-hybrid vehicles can grow and flourish, helping to reduce greenhouse gases in cars that are on the road, creating new local jobs, and further motivating the auto industry to mass-produce plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles.
Board Members showed they had read the testimony and proposals submitted in advance, and listened carefully to those who testified. Members repeatedly cited the issues raised by companies and advocates. They spoke in highly complimentary terms about the positive past impact of conversions in motivating the auto industry to build PHEVs, and also about the strategies and proposals made by CalCars and others to address the regulatory issues. Veterans of past CARB hearings on plug-in vehicles who had been expecting bad news said they were very encouraged by today's actions.
The Board detached the aftermarket conversion issues from the general test procedures for new PHEV manufacturers and then approved the latter. For retrofitters, the Board Members directed its staff to review options for rules that would promote innovation and foster new business and job formation. The ball is once again in the court of the aftermarket companies, their allies and potential customers, who now have some weeks or months to respond fully and develop workable solutions with the staff.
We'll have a fuller report and comments as soon as we can. Meanwhile, we owe a tremendous thanks and all our appreciation to the Board Members who agreed in a unanimous voice vote to keep the process open for additional input. Six of eleven members were in attendance: Mary D. Nichols, Chair; Daniel Sperling, Automotive Related Member; Ken Yeager, Bay Area AQMD Member; Dorene D'Adamo, Law Member; Sandra Berg, Public Member; John G. Telles, M.D., San Joaquin Valley APCD Member (see http://www.arb.ca.gov/board/members.htm for profiles). Primarily speaking for the staff were Executive Officer James Goldstene and Chief Deputy Executive Officer Tom Cackette, who echoed the desire to promote innovation.
Our thanks also to all of you who sent in comments and suggestions, and to those who showed up and testified.