California is one of most stringent states when it comes emissions in vehicles. Case in point is a law that says an estimated 15 percent of vehicles sold in the state must be a zero emission vehicle (ZEV). But this law has created a rift between regulators and automakers. Regulators want automakers to build ZEVs, but automakers worry that if customers aren't willing to buy them, they'll need to offer big incentives.
Four automakers - Ford, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota have issued a complaint to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) asking them to rewrite the formula to allow more credit for plug-in hybrid models. They argue these models address range anxiety with EVs at the moment and are more likely to be accepted by buyers.
The four introduced a new formula based on electric vehicle miles traveled, or e-miles. This would allow the formula to be much fairer as it would rely on real-world performance, not underlying technology.
During the hearing, a member of CARB liked the idea of e-miles.
"I'm willing to make a bet with you. If we provided a more flexible approach, we are likely to get far more e-miles in 2030 than we would with pure EVs. I really don't believe by 2030 we're going to be able to get a really large market penetration with pure EVs," said Dan Sperling, a CARB member and director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis
However, CARB chairman Mary Nichols disagreed with Sperling, stating that if California was to reach its goal of cutting carbon emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, the fleet would have to be fully electric. But even Nichols admits that figuring out the best way is tough.
"I don't know where you would find a better example anywhere in the world of a public deliberating body struggling with a really big issue," said Nichols.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)