Report: Automakers Seeking to Block California's Zero- Emissions Vehicles Mandate

By Trevor Dorchies | March 13, 2013
That didn't last long. Automakers are crying foul only three months after President Obama gave California permission to begin enforcing the sale of zero-emissions vehicles. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers are representing automakers against the ZEV sales program and filed a petition yesterday asking the EPA to take a step back and reevaluate its stance. If everything were to push forward as planned, California would be responsible for moving an estimated 1.4 million plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and other various electric vehicles by 2025. The program itself is slated to kick off starting with 2018 model year vehicles. The petition, while showing that majority of the world's automakers are in favor of the strict CAFE standards set to go into effect by 2025, states that manufacturers will continue to wrestle with the state of California on this issue. Besides California, nine other states were expected to begin enforcing the same ZEV mandate. This would require automakers to sell an estimated 600,000 ZEV units across the country by 2025, with the belief that 14.5 million light-duty vehicles will be on U.S. roads by then. The petition states that "It is impossible to predict today whether infrastructural developments, oil prices, consumer confidence and other factors will converge such that automakers will be able to persuade buyers to choose [enough EV and plug-in hybrid models]." It goes on to say that "Current data and trends suggest that it is highly unlikely that the industry will be able to meet that mandate." Those in support of the implementation of the ZEV mandate say that it will help cut down on the United States' oil consumption. However, those who oppose this mandate argue that while major automakers will be able to abide by this mandate without issue, there's no guarantee its vehicles will be purchased by the public. "If California were to require that one-half of an auto manufacturer's sales in the state consist of two-door subcompact hatchbacks with 4-speed manual transmissions by 2018," the petition states, as obtained by Automotive News "that standard would not be feasible because the motoring public will not purchase that many vehicles with those characteristics." Source: Automotive News