By on January 28, 2012

CARB has mandated that 15.4 percent of new vehicles sold in California by 2025 must be plug-in, electric or fuel cell powered. The new mandate was supported by major OEMs and could mean as many as 1.4 million zero-emissions vehicles (as well as plug-in cars) on California roads by 2025.

Regulators are hoping to offer additional incentives and credits to spur sales of the vehicles. Hydrogen re-fueling infrastructure will also be supported, though details of how this would be approached were scant. The new rules would also favor vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt, as CARB feels that it is closer to an electric vehicle than a conventional plug-in hybrid. The Volt has been dubbed a “transitional zero-emission vehicle”.

Organizations such as the California New Car Dealers Association say that demand for these types of vehicles has been overestimated, but CARB chair Mary Nichols told a conference call that car manufacturers were in favor of the new rulings. “Probably the most heartening aspect of this whole rulemaking was the level of cooperation that we received from the industry. Overall, the degree of support for the package was just extraordinary.”

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43 Comments on “CARB Wants 15.4 Percent Of New Cars To Be Plug-In, Hydrogen By 2025...”


  • avatar
    RGS920

    CARB can keep dreaming. If they try and implement this policy it’ll be struck down in Federal Court as unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Just out of curiosity, what happenes if it doesn’t happen? Cars are available but not sold? The free market speaks and it doesn’t want it. CARB changes the goalposts to reflect reality or they fine everyone?

    • 0 avatar

      What will happen is that manufacturers will lower prices on EVs and ZEVs to the point where they will sell (and anything sells at the right price point), and then they’ll raise the prices on all their other products to make up for the loses on the EVs and ZEVs.

      CARB already acknowledges that the cost of compliance to automakers will drive up the price of conventional cars as well. The car dealers say that it’ll be $3,200 per car. According to CARB the EVs and ZEVs and BEVs and PHEVs (this all is giving me the EV jeebies) will cost about $10K more than cars cost today. If one out of seven cars is an EV or ZEV, that means that drivers of conventional cars will end up paying more for the regs than drivers of EVs/ZEVs (6*3,200>1*10,000).

      And then there’s the cost to drivers outside of California. People have mentioned the Commerce Clause. How eleven unelected Californians can dictate what kind of cars Americans in the other 49 states drive or how much we will pay for our cars is beyond me in a system based on federalism mystifies me. I wonder if the board and staff members of CARB have immunity from lawsuits filed outside of California or in Federal District courts. Some folks who have a problem with school boards in Texas influencing curricula across the United States have no problem with CARB telling folks in Montana how much they’re going to pay for a pickup truck.

      This is like George Orwell meets Lewis Carroll. CARB was established because southern California has a unique ecosystem and unique air quality problems. Now CARB is trying to dictate de facto uniform national emissions standards based on their unique situation.

      The deck is stacked at CARB. By statute 5 of 11 members have to come from regional air quality boards in CA. Four of the remaining six are supposed to have some kind of expertise. Only two are from the public. Right now only two of the 11 have any significant private sector experience and onley one comes from industry. The health expert is a specialist in environmental medicine and researches the effects of pollution on respiration. The law expert is a congressional aide (to a Dem) who specializes on environmental topics. The automotive expert has a background in environmental engineering and alternative energy. To think that the deck isn’t stacked is to be incredibly naive.

      But if the people of California want them to have that power, that’s their right. The governor appoints members of CARB with consent of the California senate.

      But I can’t vote for the governor of California nor for any of their senators and I never gave them the power to tell me how much I have to pay for a car.

      Yes, the automakers endorsed the new rules. As long as they can pass along the costs to consumers and all the big automakers have to play by the same rules, nobody’s going to rock the boat. CARB has a lot of power and you’re more likely to see Dan Akerson tell Rep. Darrell Issa off than he’s going to say impolitic things to Mary Nichols, who heads CARB. See Lenin on capitalists and rope or look at how companies willingly comply with fascist regimes.

      As long as the laws equally disfavor all car companies (and California based Tesla and Fisker don’t count because they already are charging price premiums) the major car companies will go along with CARB.

      My favorite part of the the CARB staff report is the section where by law they have to discuss economic impact. On one hand they try to tell consumers that they’ll end up saving money (even somehow “saving money” when the fuel savings doesn’t exceed the price premium of the EV/ZEV). On the other hand, only a paragraph or two later, CARB reassures its fellow government bureaucrats (remember, CARB is not just the 11 board members, it has a large staff that prepares the recommendations, reports and regulations). One thing about the move to more fuel efficient cars, with or without EVs, is that they generate less revenue for governments in the form of fuel taxes. There have already been discussions in some states about taxing by mile and privacy intruding gizmos to see in which states you travel. So CARB knows that the regs mean less tax revenue. Not to worry, they assure all those public employees and politicians in California. You know those cars that are going to save consumers all that money? Well CARB says that they’ll cost so much more than what consumers are paying today, that increased revenue from sales taxes on all cars will more than offset any revenue declines because of the new regulations.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Just out of curiosity, what happenes if it doesn’t happen?

      Same thing that they did when their first EV mandate failed: they’ll compromise.

      The funny thing is that the diehard pro-EV conspiracy theory types hate CARB just as passionately as do the looney-toon right-wingers. The rabid among them blame CARB for the failure of GM’s EV1, because CARB relaxed the rules after the car proved to be a commercial failure.

      The automakers are large enough to lobby on their own behalf. My guess is that these rules will indirectly help them to increase their fleet sales of these types of cars, including to government, so they can live with the deal for now. I wouldn’t worry about it.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    How will this be enforced? A lottery to see who gets forced to buy one or will there be more legal action taken? I know, I know, a FINE for any car company that doesn’t comply. It’s really about the money anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      Standard equipment when you buy a GMC Yukon will be a battery-powered Tata Nano, the price of the Yukon will be adjusted to include the extra cost, and you are not allowed to buy the Yukon without also taking the electric Tata. It doesn’t matter that the buyer of the Yukon will probably throw out the Tata which will have no resale value on its own due to extreme mandated oversupply. That’s my prediction.

      I have a funny feeling that the number of Nissan Leaf sales that you are seeing now, is pretty close to the total size of the market for an all-electric car with that price, range, and performance and with today’s recharging infrastructure. The Tesla Model S looks to be much more useful (for the higher models with the bigger battery), but it’s beyond the price range of what most people will pay for a car.

      One day the EV will be mass-market, but it’s not going to happen by ramming it down people’s throats. It’ll happen when the technology is ready and the infrastructure is ready and it makes logical sense to do so – and not one moment sooner.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        There are two sides to the needs/product equation. Govt tries to tweek both.

        For example, if a city builds a new light-rail line, they push construction of high-density housing long the route with narrowing or deletion of roads. By influencing where people live, work, shop, & play, the govt can create a market where EVs are not only a valid option, but a superior solution to the new environment they’ve created.

  • avatar
    tced2

    As usual I would like to hear the reason it’s not 15.5% or 57.2% or some other higher value?
    The very significant problem is that there is no hydrogen infrastructure. Hydrogen is everywhere but it takes a lot of energy to release the hydrogen atoms from other atoms (water is H20 so there are big vats of hydrogen in the ocean). Also hydrogen is not very energy dense at normal atmospheric temperatures and pressures – hence the need for heavy tanks to store it at high pressures and low temperatures.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    CARB, more proof that when the mission is done, what remains is the mischief.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Derek, you misquoted the original link. It should be “In addition to fuel cells and pure electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt would be favored over traditional gasoline-electric hybrids because they more closely resemble pure electric vehicles, California regulators say.” You have “conventional plug-in hybrid”, which is essentially what the Volt is.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    They tried this stunt before. It was an epic failure, just like this go round will be.

  • avatar
    carbiz

    Sheer morbid curiosity drove me to a few websites in California to come up with these gems of statistics:
    California gets only 27.5% of its electricity from nuclear and hydro. It gets a further 14% from ‘renewables,’ for a total of 43%. That is hardly a ‘baseline’ for the State. The big argument the usual suspects use against vehicles like the Volt and Leaf are that the pollution and carbon emissions are just shuffled off somewhere else. The argument FOR these vehicles is that if the vehicles are recharged at night (when rates are cheaper and dirty sources are idled), the net benefit will be significant. France, for example, has so much nuclear power that it doesn’t know what to do with it.
    Even though natural gas is not as ‘dirty’ as coal, it still defeats the purpose if the purpose is to reduce carbon emissions. Since 53% of California’s electricity comes from burning some form of fossil fuel, just where is the extra capacity coming from?
    Personally, I view electric cars (especially the Volt) as a means to get America off their oil addiction and to afford more stability in the future when oil supplies get very whacky. But California’s agenda is presumably to reduce carbon emissions and save the planet.
    Unless they plan on building a dozen nukes in the next decade, I just don’t see the point of CARB’s agenda.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      France is going to be selling their “extra” nuclear generated electricity to Germany (who is shutting down all their nuclear plants in a few years).
      When many cars are recharging at night there won’t be cheaper rates because the demand for recharging electricity will be high.

      • 0 avatar

        Germany is exporting so much that it has a luxury to leave dirty job of electric power generation to the less developed countries. California and US in general cannot follow Germany because US has a huge trade deficit already. So one way or other energy will be generated in US by nuclear power or dirty coal burning.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Recharging at night won’t be as cheap because of the incrase in demand, but it will still be cheaper because industry pulls so much power that usage will still be significantly less at night.

    • 0 avatar
      Brad2971

      Well, CARB has one little option that the rest of the nation doesn’t really have when it comes to their clean air regulations. Actually, several: Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. Those fossil fuel plants are increasingly located nicely out of sight in places like Delta, UT, and in the rural parts of Clark County.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I like electric cars much more than the majority of the readership of any car blog. I actually built one once as a class project. There are a lot of hurdles and some significant drawbacks as a country that seem to be shuttled aside. Nothing is as simple as life in a puzzle palace like Sacramento.

    What I really want is some of what these guys (and their benefactors in Washington) are smoking.

  • avatar

    People who vote for crazy liberals no matter what – deserve to be forced to buy what they do not want. California is one party political system like Russia. Someone who lived in Russia will understand me. I stayed in line for several years to buy a car which I did not really want but it was the only option. To buy what you want you would go to black or used car market where Government bureaucrats and their friends would sell cars which they were privileged enough to get. So it is natural to expect quotas for gas powered cars. California government will issue special cards to allow every citizen to buy gas powered car once in 10 years. If you are in hurry you have to buy electric car. Not fair? C’est la vie. If you want fairness – move to Texas.

    But still I think 15% is achievable goal, that is why OEMs agree. Electricity will be imported from China.

    • 0 avatar
      mzr

      No, if you want a state with polluted water and air, move to Texas. If you want to see what happens when a place prostrates itself to supply the rest of the nation with no regard as to what happens to the land or the people living on it, move to Texas.

      • 0 avatar
        Psychometrician

        I live in Texas, and our air and water is fine, thank you very much. Silly mandates like these simply make the folks who live in CA have to pay more for the privilege. Still, they elected (and continue to elect) the lawmakers who created and support the CARB, and so they deserve to live under them.

        To have the same lifestyle in CA that I currently enjoy here in TX would require three or four times my current salary. Their tangled web of ever growing government is the reason why.

        EVs don’t emit less pollutants, they simply displace it. CA and their myriad of regulators are simply deluding themselves if they think otherwise. If they keep this up they will continue to shrink until they get to the point where the rest of the country (or at least the sensible middle) can simply ignore them.

    • 0 avatar

      One way or another all cars will be electric, because to continue using oil for transportation is not sustainable and in 21st century it sounds crazy. It has nothing to do with CARB or global warming or any other good sounding BS. By 2025 gas price may be so high that it would make more sense to drive electric cars. One of huge advantages of electric car let me remind you is that it does not depend on how energy is generated – it can be generated from oil, natural gas, solar power, nuclear power – battery replacement/charging stations will remain the same no matter how technology changes. Gas station will quickly become obsolete because they 100% depend of oil as source of energy. Price of things electric drop very quickly with mass production. Less moving parts, no transmission oil, no power steering fluid, no engine oil, virtually no maintenance except of swapping battery on charging station on another one (AFAIK Nissans are designed this way) – it eliminates even need to buy new battery over time. Battery replacement cost will be included in battery swap and gradually will be paid so no price shock to be expected.

      Now the question is how to force auto companies to adopt nationwide battery replacement standard and how to push energy companies to start converting gas station to battery charging/swapping station. At some point bold action will be required at Federal level similar to building national freeway network or switching to HD TV.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        “One way or another all cars will be electric, because to continue using oil for transportation is not sustainable and in 21st century it sounds crazy. It has nothing to do with CARB or global warming or any other good sounding BS. By 2025 gas price may be so high that it would make more sense to drive electric cars.”

        People said this in 1970, again in 1979, and again in 2000. Gas prices are the same today as in 1979 (corrected for inflation), and the F150 is the best selling vehicle in the US. If an actual oil shortage begins to occur, consumption will decrease, thereby extending the supply. However, there is no evidence of a dwindling supply, and there is no connection between ‘fossils’ and ‘fossil fuels’. Saturn’s moon Titan is filled with hydrocarbons, and there weren’t fossils on it.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “CARB Wants 15.4 Percent Of New Cars To Be Plug-In, Hydrogen By 2025″

    And people in hell want ice water, but do they get it? Hell, no.

    California has operated under the assumption that it is such a large, rich, and growing market, no manufacturer would abandon it. The trend may no longer be their friend. The exodus from California has begun. The only reason its population is not going down, is that the fleeing middle class Americans are being replaced by illegal immigrants. I am not so sure that the OEMs will turn themselves inside out to meet this ukase, nor am I sure that it will catch on anywhere else.

    • 0 avatar

      “Ukase”, what a wonderfully freighted word. I disagree about the OEMs but applaud your vocabulary. Well played, sir.

      From published reports it says that about 1/5th of the states are eager to show that their brains are just as green as those of CARB.

    • 0 avatar
      Brad2971

      One thing that came out of the 2010 census was that, for the first time since statehood, more than 50% of the population of CA are native Californians. Whatever you can say about CA, this indicates two things:

      1. The high top-line growth days are more or less over.

      2. Things are about to get a lot more stable for CA.

      Which means, things are about to improve greatly for them. Say what you will about New York state, and the fact that you can find native New Yorkers in all 50 states, their finances tend to be better than most places.

  • avatar

    California is circling the drain, it’s clear. It used to lead the nation, now it drags the nation to the bottom.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    I’m not an EV hater; they are a promising technology that works well for a limited duty cycle right now and shows great promise for the future. I’ll happily buy a Plug in Prius or Fusion once they are a proven mature tech with a roughly equal TCO.

    In my heart I hope that a Gingrich or Romney Administration smacks the CARB Commissars with the Commerce Clause Pimp Hand.

    They have already ruined it for small fleets of Semi-Trucks in CA that can’t afford to turn their equipment over and inflated food prices for the ENTIRE nation with their reefer trailer age limit.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    If California’s atmospheric environment is so fragile that the state has to violate the US Constitution to survive with clean air, then maybe someone should consider whether so many people should be living there in the first place. If other states have their own peculiar problems, are they going to insist that others (companies and individuals) compensate for them as well?

  • avatar
    dejal1

    California has no problem with others screwing up their own environments for the benefit of California.

    http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/cfaqs/howhighiscaliforniaselectricitydemandandwheredoesthepowercomefrom.htm

    http://www.energyalmanac.ca.gov/powerplants/index.html

    15 to 30% comes from out of state.

    They will purchase more electricity out of state. They will have no moral scruples if the power they buy comes from coal, oil or nuclear. They won’t care if someone else has an environmental mess. The ultimate hypocrites.

    Unless the unicorn fart electricity farm comes on line soon.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    CARB wants 15% hydrogen and electric cars by 2025. I want Scarlett Johansson to join me and the wife for a three-way. We’ll see what happens first.

    The more damning part of all of this is that DC sees these ludicrous proclamations California makes and thinks that it’s good for the rest of the country, using their laws as a baseline for what we see in the rest of the country a few years later. And worse yet, manufacturers comply all cars to California standards instead of making California specific models…

  • avatar
    ixim

    Dealers doubt there’ll be enough customers. CARB replies that the OEM’s are supporting this wish-list dressed up as policy. Question asked and not answered. At best, a wasteful diversion of finite resources. Anyway, anything can, and will happen in 13 years.

  • avatar

    The funny thing is everyone cries loud and complains now but when time comes – will go and vote for Dems, Brown, Boxers and Obama. Like in Russia – nobody is happy but when elections come they go and vote for Putin and his thugs because he is a man. How Brown is different from Putin? He has absolute majority at any given time, he is the fixture in CA politics, turned CA into bankrupt state by allowing public unions and then get elected second time around. Non of US president were able to accomplish that. Even Putin feels resistance (but will be elected no doubts about that). But Brown passed with flying colors.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    That assumes there’s anyone left in California in 2025. The way things are going, California will be populated by a small group of software engineers, lawyers, movie stars, movie moguls and venture capitalists . . . supported by an immigrant army to tend their gardens, clean their houses.

    All the cool stuff they design will actually be built in sweatshops in China.

    Of course, they will decry the income inequality of it all.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Hey, what ever happened to the Clarity (shown in the photo)? It’s a car I was very interested in, and thought it was pretty good-looking, too.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      It costs $300k. Honda makes just enough to keep working on the tech.

      IMO, I don’t see the point in pushing hydrogen. You can drive about 3x as far on the same electricity needed to extract it.

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        The point isn’t that Hydrogen is or isn’t more energy efficient than just straight charging your car off the mains, it’s that Hydrogen is a better storage-medium for energy in portable form for automotive use than current battery technology.

        If you could drive 2-300 miles off a single charge and recharge in a minute or two then Hydrogen wouldn’t even be on the table.

  • avatar
    Aardvark

    What do the Carbon nazis do about cars purchased out of state and brought into Cally to be registered? Unless they can control that, they are just helping out dealers in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon who are close enough to the state line to make the drive over worth it. Test drive the ICE version at your local dealer, order the same car online from the dealer in Vegas, and treat the spouse to a nice weekend with a return trip in new wheels that don’t overtax the grid.

    • 0 avatar
      bolhuijo

      The “Carbon nazis” have already fixed that. You can’t register the car in CA unless it meets the in-state requirements, and you will also pay the state sales tax too. There is no practical advantage in buying out of state.


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