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Californians Line Up to Make the Case for Electric Cars

MP3 audio of public testimony from the May 24-25, 2007 meeting of the California Air Resources Board in San Diego

By EV World

It was like the Battle of Trafalgar, a scrappy little group of fighters taking on a much bigger and powerful adversary, delivering one withering salvo after another into the sides of their less-nimble opponents.

That's the impression one gets when listening first to the testimony of the six big car company's during the May 24, 2007 California Air Resources Board meeting in San Diego and then the seemingly endless volley of comments from troops of private citizens and small businessmen, starting with Tesla co-founder and president Martin Eberhard and ending, in our edited MP3 recording above, with "Who Killed the Electric Car?" director Chris Payne.

The central core of the public testimony is that carmakers shouldn't be allowed to again "game" the system as they had previously when they dumped tens of thousands of cheap, low-speed electric vehicles in the state and fielded a hundred or so fuel cell cars in lieu of the thousands of full-function and city-class electric cars they should have been selling in California, and elsewhere, had the state not compromised in the face of a federally-supported, auto industry lawsuit. By ARB Staff estimate, more than 14,000 electric cars should have been sold each year in California had the mandate not been amended in 2003 to allow the substitution of fuel cell cars at a ratio of 1:10 -- one FCEV for every ten battery electric cars.

While that might have been a hard and costly sell for carmakers in 2003; in 2007, in the wake of the disastrous war in Iraq, $80 a barrel oil now on the horizon and the growing concern over the impact of global warming, not to mention recent progress in advanced battery development, the sell is likely to be getting easier with each passing month. Otherwise, GM would not be talking about offering a range-extended electric car -- the Chevy Volt -- within 3-5 years.

But beyond this general agreement that battery electric cars have again become a very viable option and serious competition for far more expensive fuel cell vehicles, public sentiment was diverse and wide-ranging, especially on the topic of ZEV credits.

EV World decided to not include all of the public testimony in this MP3 recording, but there is still well over a hour's worth in this 17.5 MB file. If you can't listen to it all, we recommend you listen to the first 15 minutes or so, which includes Martin Eberhard's amusing remarks, along with Tom Gage and Alex Brooks always devastating insights, and then Chris Paine's remarks at the very end of the recording. But if you have the time, listen to all of the comments, because they all contain important and valuable perspectives.

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