California Air Resources Board Member Says Lobbying Groups Should Stop Fight Against Electric Vehicle Mandate

By Jacob Brown | April 16, 2013
The head of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Mary Nichols, called for lobbying groups protesting California's mandate for zero-emissions vehicles to stop while speaking at the SAE International's (formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers) annual World Congress this week. "We don't have time to delay the infusion of these technologies," Nichols said. Last month, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Association of Global Automakers began petitioning against the mandate, which goes well above and beyond the federal government's corporate average fuel economy standards that dictate that corporate fleet averages will have to be 54.5 mpg by 2025. CARB mandates that each automaker have a certain amount of zero-emissions cars, forcing them to build more hybrids, plug-ins, electrics, and hydrogen-powered cars than what the AAM and AGM believe the market will take. These cars are expensive and mostly sell in metropolitan areas. California has called for more than 15 percent of new cars to be zero-emissions, or what will amount to 1.4 million units by 2025. By 2040, CARB estimates that nearly every car in California will be zero-emissions. The mandate has made it difficult for the seven largest automakers in California to compete, some building vehicles are almost exclusively sold in California like the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV and 2014 Fiat 500e, often called "compliance cars." Some have had to buy zero-emissions credits from other automakers, like Tesla Motors, to continue doing business in the state. About a dozen other states have signed on to California's emissions laws, which have a special exemption to supersede federal requirements. Most states do not have as strict of laws as California. The Golden State represents the largest new car market in the U.S. with more about 11 percent of new car sales reported, according to Bloomberg. With such a heavy number of vehicles sold in California, it's almost impossible for an automaker to not feel the state's influence, which some would argue is a bit monopolistic. On the other hand, with that kind of sway, others might argue that the state is just doing its part to make environmentally friendly technology viable that much sooner. Source: Detroit News