GM Seeks Review of ZEV Mandate

GM files suit contends CARB violated California laws.

Published: 23-Feb-2001

P>MARTINEZ, Calif., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Acting to stay within a statute of limitations, General Motors Corporation (NYSE: GM) (GM) and several of its California dealers filed suit in California Superior Court seeking review of the state's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate.

GM filed the action in Contra Costa County after being informed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB or ARB) that it had denied GM's petition for a hearing on several key consumer and technical issues posed by the electric vehicle mandate.

"While a lawsuit is not the means by which we would prefer to resolve the serious issues posed by the mandate, CARB's denial of our petition for a hearing left us no other venue to resolve our concerns," said Dennis R. Minano, GM vice president, environment & energy and chief environmental officer. "While we are pursuing this course of action, we are trying to re-engage the state in a full dialogue to replace the mandate with a more balanced and commercially-feasible means of continuing to clean California's air. This is not about whether we will meet California's clean air goals, but rather how we will meet them."

Citing several statutes, GM contends the ARB has violated California laws by overlooking the effects of the regulation and declining to consider better alternatives. This includes the ARB dismissing its own independent data showing negligible clean air potential and incremental costs many times higher than any other ARB regulatory program.

Additionally, the ARB rules encourage immediate production of thousands of golf cart-like "neighborhood electric vehicles" (NEVs). Putting NEVs onto public roads raises significant safety issues that must be aired and evaluated.

"Simply put, GM believes this mandate will not accelerate the cause for clean air," said Minano. "While GM supports reasonable and positive actions to improve air quality, we must voice our deep reservations on the significant consumer and technical issues raised by the ZEV mandate. We are resolute in our commitment to the cause of clean air through advanced technology vehicle development and are aggressively moving forward on many fronts."

GM's breakthrough EV1 electric car is the most advanced electric vehicle of its kind and has been marketed in California for several years. GM is currently offering refurbished EV1 electric vehicles for lease in the state. However, the multi-year effort demonstrated the minimal market appeal of electric vehicles based on cost, range, and infrastructure issues. In fact, CARB's own experts, including an independent battery panel, recognized the limitations and cost problems of electric vehicles.

For its part, GM has advanced many significant and flexible plans that more than exceed California's clean air needs. GM has launched an innovative hybrid transit bus program in Southern California, is an active member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership, and has announced several advanced technology programs such as the ParadiGM hybrid propulsion system to provide sustainable transportation.

"No other company in the world has brought more advanced technology to market than GM," added Minano. "GM stands ready to renew the dialogue on any number of effective and marketable proposals to achieve the state's clean air goals."

SOURCE General Motors Corporation

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