Automakers Call on CARB to Explain How Electric Car Mandate Will Work
WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers today called on the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to explain how it would make a reality of its dream that 10 percent of new cars sold in the state by 2003 be Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).
"Everyone, including ARB, agrees that California's ZEV mandate presents enormous obstacles," said Alliance President & CEO Josephine S. Cooper. "The mandate requires that policymakers reconcile the challenges posed by the extraordinary cost of battery-powered vehicles, the low customer demand for them, the limits of battery technology, and the dearth of charging stations. Given these obstacles, how does ARB plan to make this mandate work?"
ARB voted 10-0 on September 8 to retain the basic ZEV requirements, and ARB staff was directed to develop and propose regulatory modifications and other steps that address the challenges associated with implementation of the ZEV program. The Board acknowledged the high costs of electric vehicles, concerns about low market demand and a lack of infrastructure. The Oct. 25 workshop in El Monte, California will focus on these issues.
"Automakers look forward to hearing what the Board plans to do to pave the way for the ZEV program in spite of the formidable roadblocks ahead," Cooper continued. "But we are disappointed with the ARB staff documents that just list ideas haphazardly and do not address the key issues. In the spirit of cooperation, since we are gravely concerned about the pending financial disaster for California consumers and family-owned dealerships, we pose the biggest questions ARB needs to answer: How will ARB fund its ZEV program? ARB reports acknowledge that high battery costs place a more than $21,000 premium on each electric vehicle; consumers will not pay this premium; and automakers are not expected to sell electric vehicles at a loss. Who then will pay the premium?" she added. "We expect ARB to have some answers -- not more questions!"
"How will ARB address low consumer demand?" Cooper asked. "If auto dealers cannot sell electric vehicles, and do not re-order more, what will ARB do? Will the state buy them, or will the state mandate that government fleets purchase electric vehicles to increase demand? Federal, state and local governments operate more than 350,000 vehicles, virtually none of which are electric. What commitments will ARB make for building the infrastructure? California currently has only 400 charging stations. That's one charging station for every 6 ZEVs on the road. To maintain that ratio, the state will need to build about 8,350 charging stations by 2003. What are the state's plans and financial commitments?" Cooper asked.
"The biggest question of all is: Are California taxpayers ready to foot this $1 billion annual bill?"
SOURCE Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
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