CARB looking at reducing required ZEV sales numbers

Jan. 1, 2020
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is considering making revisions to the state's zero emission vehicle (ZEV) regulations. The 11-member board this morning will hear recommendations from the CARB staff that would allow carmakers to sell 2,500
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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is considering making revisions to the state’s zero emission vehicle (ZEV) regulations.

The 11-member board this morning will hear recommendations from the CARB staff that would allow carmakers to sell 2,500 pure ZEV or electric vehicles between 2012 and 2014 instead of the current mandate of 25,000 in that time period.

The board will listen to the recommendation and suggest amendments or table it for further discussion.

“Some of the early signals we’re getting is they might want to raise the numbers up a little bit,” says Leo Kay, CARB’s director of communication. “But I think it’s important to point out that the proposal is just that, a proposal.”

The board, because of changes in the marketplace and air regulations, has looked at the ZEV program every few years since its inception in 1990, according to Kay. The last time it was reviewed was 2003.

“Now this program for California is even more important since its inception back in 1990, because we’re fighting global warming now,” Kay says. “We really need the clean cars as soon as possible.”

The proposal suggests allowing car companies to meet the 2012-2017 ZEV requirements with sales of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles and natural gas-fueled vehicles, which are also known as partial zero emission vehicles (PZEVs), according to CARB. CARB also would permit companies to obtain credits for selling “enhanced” advanced technology vehicles such as plug-in hybrids and internal combustion engine vehicles powered by fuel cells.

These are vehicles that technicians might not be seeing in his or her bays right now, but will be in the not-too-distant future.

“I think it’s safe to say in the coming five, 10, certainly 20 years, you’re going to see more and more electric vehicles, more and more fuel cells, more electric hybrids, hydrogen,” Kay says. “If I were in the automotive industry, I would be bracing for a change, a shift away from the combustion engine.”

The California/Nevada/Arizona Automotive Wholesalers’ Association has no problem with looking into ZEVs and PZEVs, but takes issue with the super-warranties.

CARB says that the proposal would mean more vehicles will be marketed with extended warranties. Under regulation passed in the late 1990s, car companies must offer a 15-year/150,000-mile emissions warranty on all PZEVs sold in California to obtain credit toward meeting their ZEV mandate.

Those warranties are strongly opposed in the aftermarket.

“It they could recognize the economic impact and the nexus between super-warranties and more durable parts, and jettison this crazy super-warranty, then put the PZEVs on the road,” says Norm Plotkin, CAWA legislative advocate. “That’s fine. We’re all about lower emissions. We understand that. But at the very time they need the aftermarket to maintain the state’s and country’s fleet of vehicles to reduce tailpipe emissions, they’re doing dire harm.”

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