Activists Ask Arnold to Save ZEV

Donal Fagan
by Donal Fagan
activists ask arnold to save zev

Anybody remember California's ambitious Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program? State regs mandated that ZEVs had to account for five percent of all new vehicles sold in California by 2001, rising to 10 percent by 2003. The ZEV program was eviscerated in 2003; automakers were required to sell just 250 ZEVS per year AND they could receive credits for Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) and hybrids. Despite record gas and oil prices and CA's ongoing battle with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over tailpipe emissions, the California Air Resources Board is about to reduce the ZEV requirement to 150 ZEVs per year until 2015. Citing Gov. Schwarzenegger's signing of the nation's first global warming law and the Million Solar Roofs Plan, nonprofit PlugIn America is urging the Governator to strengthen the ZEV program and save the electric car. Celebrities and environmentalists– including the oddly but appropriately named Ze'ev Drori, CEO of Tesla Motors— either cosigned, emailed or faxed letters of support. Even though Arnie's got a Roadster on order, the chances of him intervening are only slightly better than he'll get his EV next week (year?).

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  • Lprocter1982 Lprocter1982 on Mar 18, 2008

    Well, that's good. When (if) he gets his Tesla, and it runs out of battery power a mile from home, he can just tow it back with his Hummer.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Mar 19, 2008

    Folks will get behind this thing when there are some affordable EV cars to buy. I'm not confident that the average person wants to drive something with three wheels or TINY like the Sparrow or spacey-Star-Trek like some of the other ones I've seen in modern traffic. Heck, we fight over how good (or not) a Pontiac looks vs a Sebring vs a Camry. A spacey three wheeler is going to get verbally flamed in about 0.5 secs. Now an electric Civic or Corolla with a reasonable utility and range (75 miles?) - sure. I think priced right (~$25K) they wouldn't be able to build them fast enough. Am seriously considering building an electric Beetle (old Beetle) of myself. Gathering prices and technology info as I have the time and interest. At worst it'll be an interesting armchair engineering project. Wouldn't need a big range, just 50 miles at 50 miles per hour to be a good commuter for my needs. If I could get 60 miles at 60 mph it would even be useful for my wife who works in the next town. The Beetle is not as safe as a modern large vehicle but at 30-40 mph I would not have any qualms. Whatever the case it is safer than my motorcycle. My '65 even came with shoulder belts for all four occupants. Remember a '65 domestic barely offered lap belts. Yep still cheaper to buy a $5K gas car but still way, way cheaper to fuel an electric. Saw a neat classic Fiat 500 with a high-end conversion done on it. Links below. Strictly a city car with city car speeds they are estimating a 130K lifespan for the battery. The $9K battery pack is $4K cheaper than 130K miles of gasoline at $3 per gallon and 30 mpg. It's been built in Italy where gas is somewhere around $8 a gallon. Assuming 30 mpg, that is a ~$25K advantage over gasoline. That means he could put two batteries in this car (260K miles of service) for less than the price of gasoline for 130K miles. I could use much cheaper batteries for a lower initial cost but they'd wear out quicker too. I am neglecting the cost of the electricity b/c it is really, really cheap to charge an EV. Even cheaper if you already have a solar installation at your house (I don't but I want one). Sure an EV isn't going to be a cross country tourer but it would be great for short distances which is what my family does 5 days a week in two vehicles except when we carpool which we can do but complicates things considerably. We like to carpool though when it allows our schedule enough flexibility. I think EVs are coming and while they are completely possible now (and SHOULD have been in wide use by now if the car companies had not backed away from them), I think the car companies will milk the existing gasoline technology for all it's worth for as long as they and their suppliers can. Enjoy!