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CA Air Resources Board Needs to Hear from Plug-In Advocates
Mar 18, 2008 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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If you've seen the movie, "Who Killed the Electric Car," you know about the California Air Resources Board's key role in regulating and incentivizing plug-in cars. Now the ARB faces a major turning point, and needs to hear from the public, in person in Sacramento March 27, by testimony and comments online, and by messages to the Governor. We provide a range of background and ways to get involved below.

Over the past few years, the Board's members and staff have been gradually becoming more favorable to plug-in hybrids. A key factor has been the major review that led to the Zero Emissions Technology Symposium.

See­news-archive.html for:
11/10/07: California Leaps Ahead: PHEV Center: 100-Household Test; Early Driver Report; Air Resources Board Evolution
04/23/07: PHEVs Emerge as Nearest Technology in Long-Awaited ZEV Tech Review by Air Resources Board of CA
10/05/06: Progress or Breakthroughs at California Symposium on Zero Emission Vehicles
10/02/06: Toyota's Comments on PHEVs at Air Resources Board Hearing
10/02/06: Key Board Member Proposes "Plug-In California Initiative"
09/29/06: Experiences of 2 PHEV Early Drivers: Testimony to Air Resources Board ZEV Technology Symposium
06/13/05: ARB last September: transcript of board responses

A month ago, the ISOR ("Initial Statement of Reasons") by the ARB staff was released. On March 27, the Board will hear comments on this document at a public hearing in Sacramento. This is the culmination of "round two" of the Zero Emissions Mandate. Some of this involves very complex allocations of credits given to large carmakers for putting ZEVs on the road.

Some of the recommendations are favorable; however, the proposals are tending to motivate PHEVs at the expense of BEVs (battery-electric vehicles), implying a choice that reflects the Board's view that BEVs are significantly less near-term than PHEVs. The response of plug-in advocates has been that it's a major mistake to pit these two complementary approaches against each other, requiring that incentives for one come from the allocations of the other. And the perspective flies in the face of the reality that several major carmakers have announced their intentions to mass-produce BEVs within the next five years (along with PHEVs).

CalCars is working closely with other organizations to make our views known. Among those leading the campaign is Plug In America and the Electric Auto Association. Here's what PIA, CalCars and other organizations are calling for:

  • Require the full 25,000 ZEVs that automakers had promised for 2012-2014
  • Create a separate requirement for plug-in hybrids that lets them replace the dirtiest vehicles in CARB's regulations, rather than the cleanest ZEVs
  • Incentivize plug-in hybrids that have the most on-board electricity storage

We are in full agreement with PIA's points. (We have one minor difference in perspective: while the ARB's decisions are critical, we're not saying that poor rules could "kill the electric car again," since we believe the enormous momentum and continued campaigns for commercialization from many constituencies will prevail even if ARB's incentives are counter-productive.)

We encourage our readers to join the hundreds of citizens (not just from California, not just from the 10+ other states that follow California's ZEV Mandate regulations) in giving their views. Find out how below.

SEE THE DOCUMENTS:­regact/­2008/­zev2008/­zev2008.htm BASE PAGE­regact/­2008/­zev2008/­zevisor.pdf ISOR­board/­ma/­2008/­ma032708.htm AGENDA FOR MARCH 27

TESTIFY: Complete this form to submit your comment to zev2008­lispub/­comm/­bcsubform.php?listname=zev2008&comm_period

Killing the electric car, again, Part 1: Is CARB up to its old tricks?
By Earl Killian, guest blogger at Climate Progress­2008/­03/­13/­killing-the-electric-car-again-part-1
Reposted by Joseph Romm to Gristmill (with different comments)­story/­2008/­3/­13/­143323/­325

BLOG PART TWO EXPLAINS: HOW TO GET OUT THE WORD­2008/­03/­14/­killing-the-electric-car-again-part-ii/­
Posting includes URLs. First, the Air Resources Board (CARB) takes comments at its website. These comments are printed and given to each board member prior to the meeting. You may also FAX or write to CARB. A FAX, postcard, or letter addressed to Chairwoman Mary Nichols will reach the entire board. Second, a phone call to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger helps, since the Governor appoints many of the board members. The Governor’s phone number is 916-445-2841. Press 1, then 5, and then 0 and you will be transferred to an operator to leave your opinion about this “hot issue.” Alternatively, FAX or write using the Governor’s FAX and postal address, or use his web contact form. Californians should also let their Assemblymember and State Senator know their opinion.

Governor Schwarzenegger remains a missing piece in the equation. Though he's awaiting a Tesla vehicle, he has rarely spoken about plug-in cars. (Most recently, at the LA Auto Show, we reported on his comments at­calcars-news/­881.html .) PIA has organized a joint letter to the Governor (and see immediately above for ways you can contact the Governor).

Plug In America's Letter to Governor Schwarzenegger­pia-letter-gov-17mar08.shtm

March 17, 2008
Dear Gov. Schwarzenegger,

President George Bush called on Americans this month to "get off oil" and start to drive electric vehicles. With gas nearing $4 a gallon, global warming threatening disaster, and our national security at risk, the president got it right.

Unfortunately, powerful California regulators are perilously close to killing the electric car all over again.

On March 27, the California Air Resources Board will revise their history-making program that put more than 5,000 highway-capable Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) on the road and reduced our output of carbon dioxide--the main global warming gas--by one million metric tons.

But new revisions by the Board’s staff will profoundly weaken the program again instead of propelling our country toward a pollution-free future. This proposal would require each automaker to produce only about 150 ZEVs per year through 2015.

That’s less than what consumers are demanding, less than the number of ZEVs that can be produced today--let alone three years from now--less than what’s needed to meet state goals for emission reductions, and less than what these regulators required in 2003 when they helped kill the electric car the first time. Under the Clean Air Act, California is the only state allowed to set tougher limits on vehicle emissions than federal regulators. Ten other states have adopted California's emission limits. The board's vote has national implications.

Consumers want cleaner cars. According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, 80 percent of respondents said fuel efficiency would affect their next new car purchase. Take Norma Williamson, a public high school teacher in the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos. Norma and her husband Alan have been driving a fully electric Toyota RAV4 since 2002. They charge the car with electricity generated by their home's solar panels. They haven't purchased gas in six years. They live—and propel—the promise of a pollution-free future.

Gov. Schwarzenegger, you showed true leadership when you signed the nation's first global warming law. You showed true leadership with your vow to "turn back the clock on pollution" through your Million Solar Roofs Plan, an initiative that is the equivalent of taking one million gasoline cars off the road. Now, how about putting one million electric cars on the road?

Please continue to lead our state by asking the California Air Resources Board to strengthen their staff proposal and get more electric cars on the road. As you prepare to take delivery of your electric Tesla, we ask you to support a stronger Zero Emission Vehicle Program that will help us all turn back the clock on pollution.

We ask you to save the electric car.

Chelsea Sexton Executive Director, Plug In America

Plug In America is joined in this appeal to Governor Schwarzenegger by the following supporters:

Ed Begley, Jr., Actor • Warren S. Gifford, Ph.D. Executive Director (ret.) Bell Laboratories • Dr. and Mrs. Peter R. Greer, former Deputy Under Secretary of Education • Peter Horton, Director/Producer • Chris Paine, Director, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" • Bradley D. Turock, Director (ret). Bell Communications Research • Jon Wellinghoff, Commissioner, FERC • Jim Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence • Jerry Zucker, Director/Producer • As You Sow • CalCars • Central Coast EAA • Co-op America • Desert Star, LLLP • Doublestone Computing • Electric Auto Association • Electric Vehicle Association of Southern California • Energy Efficiency Solar • Enviro Plumbing • Global Exchange • Jaguar Technologies • Lightning Rod Foundation • Mainstreet Moms • Miles Automotive • Northern Lights Foundation • Ocean Defenders Alliance • Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment • Rainforest Action Network • Ranch Air Transport Corporation • Reclaim Democracy • San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association • SBR Partners, LLC • Sea Shepherd • Summit Green, Inc. • Sustainable Transport Club • Telecom Internet, Ltd. • Tesla Motors • Turock Family Foundation • V2Green • Zenn Motors • Zero Motorcycles • 3121 Property Management Corp.

CalCars is a Special Interest Chapter of EAA, along with about 50 regional and local chapters. (Many EAA members have participated in CalCars' technology demonstration and advocacy programs, and we shared the organization's Keith Crock Technical Achievement Award in 2006 for our work in Prius conversions.) Here's the letter EAA sent to its members.

On March 27th, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is scheduled to vote on a change to their Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program that could delay production EVs from the major automakers another decade. The Electric Auto Association urges you to take action to make California aware that you want production EVs back on the roads. We have set up a website to help. 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.

The EAA does not normally use email except for membership reminders. Because of urgent upcoming decision that may affect EVs to years to come, we are sending this email to ask that you join a low-traffic mailing list that the EAA will use to alert you to developments where your emails, letters, faxes, phone calls, etc. could make a big difference. Participation is optional, but please do consider joining and help us advocate for EVs in important battles, such the one that will be decided on 3/27.

For further information about what you can do to let California know you want a meaningful ZEV program, please visit:­action/­. This page also has details on how to join our EV-advocacy mailing list to get future notices.

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