California’s zero-emissions vehicle law could cost Toyota, darling of the environmental crowd, up to a billion dollars reports Bloomberg. That’s more than any other automaker is looking at. Why? Because by 2012, California will require that 3 percent of unit sales over a three-year period be zero-emissions models. Since Toyota has over 24 percent of the California car market (nearly double Honda, which is number two at 12.9 percent), it’s facing far stiffer requirements. And unlike Honda it doesn’t have a hydrogen fallback (although Honda’s FCX Clarity is not yet on sale). According to Bloomberg, Toyota will have to sell 16,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and EVs come 2012. “If you’re only discussing the cost of batteries and other components, a $1 billion cost for Toyota may be a stretch,” says Brett Smith of the Center For Automotive Research. “Add in all the things needed to support these vehicles — service, dealer training, marketing, warranties, new manufacturing equipment to get them into production, and [$1b] sounds reasonable” Toyota is declining comment on the exact cost of CARB compliance, but has already questioned whether PHEV demand will live up to enthusiast expectations.
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