Coalition Of Eight Unveils Plan To Encourage ZEV Production

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

A coalition of eight states have adopted a plan to encourage automakers to help meet the target of 3.3 million ZEVs taking to the road as required by the Clean Air Act by 2025.

Automotive News reports the plan would include incentives and tax credits for those who buy ZEVs, as well as access to HOV lanes and preferred parking. However, the plan also includes measures such as streamlining building codes and liability insurance rules so commercial properties can provide charging infrastructure, and improved signage and payment systems for public charging stations.

The coalition — consisting of California, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont — may have a difficult time reaching its ZEV mandate of 15 percent of all vehicles sold by 2025, though. Currently, only Nissan is among the major automakers committed to building its share of the 3.3 million required by the Clean Air Act. The rest — including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, who hoped no actually bought a Fiat 500e because FCA would lose $14,000 on each one sold — see ZEVs as nothing more than compliance vehicles with limited market prospects. California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols begs to differ:

We’re coming to this collaboration as a way of helping companies. They’ve done a great job of producing great cars. We want them to succeed and want them to make money on this.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

More by Cameron Aubernon

Join the conversation
16 of 48 comments
  • DC Bruce DC Bruce on Jun 03, 2014

    I think the learned chair of CARB is mistaken and is a classic illustration of the perils of intrusive regulation. Step 1 is that CARB requires manufacturers, as a condition of selling "normal" cars in California, to offer for sale a certain number of "zero emissions vehicles" which should more appropriately be labeled "displaced emissions vehicles" since, even in California, much of the electricity that powers them is generated by fossil fuels, although out-of-state. Step 2 is that no one buys these vehicles, mostly because of their extremely limited utility. Step 3 is that, faced with manufacturer complaints about this mandate, the regulators try to fix the problem they have created ("we want you to make money selling these things, so you'll stop your complaining") by adding more regulation in the form of various kinds of cash and non-cash subsidies. Of course, the cash comes out of the taxpayers' pocket, and California has the highest marginal income tax rate of any state.

    • See 2 previous
    • Onus Onus on Jun 03, 2014

      @Vulpine Your right on 3rd one. Gas tax is less in all of New England compared to California.

  • Brian P Brian P on Jun 03, 2014

    1. Develop a cheap, small EV powered by a plain ordinary cheap lead-acid battery. It doesn't matter how short the range is and it doesn't matter if no one will want it. Only that it has to be (A) as cheap as possible, and (B) satisfy the regulatory requirements that a "car" must meet. 2. Bump up the price of all the manufacturer's luxury and sports vehicles by enough to cover the cost of the crap-box mentioned in step 1. 3. If you purchase one of the luxury or sports vehicles, you must also purchase the EV. You cannot opt out of it. You must take it. 4. Drive away in your sports car, send the EV to the recycling center. Done. Everyone's happy except the end user who has to pay more. The reality might not be quite that extreme, but mark my words, this is more or less where this is headed if the government continues to force the issue.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jun 03, 2014

      Did you know that someone did almost exactly that with an old Land Rover. He stuck a 40hp electric motor in place of the old gasoline power plant and loaded the rest of the engine bay and back end with lead-acid batteries. Turned out that the now-BEV outperformed a diesel Isuzu Trooper in nearly every off-road challenge they faced and even beat it in a drag race on a dirt road. Why? Because it had more torque than even that bigger diesel could produce. Even when the clutch failed on the Rover's transmission, it still out-climbed the Trooper on a trail segment called, "The Waterfall."

  • CJinSD CJinSD on Jun 03, 2014

    This should be a good illustration of why fascism isn't of value. These same states will push for increased taxes for transportation because they're squandering their tax revenue trying to create a command economy. Mary Nichols should suffer unprecedented horrors because of what she is doing, not because of her membership in a protected majority. If people want electric cars, let them buy electric cars with their own money. Let them pay for their own electricity and park like members of a democracy while they're at it.

    • See 7 previous
    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jun 04, 2014

      @Vulpine Ok, mister bait, here's an answer for you: "As early as 1916, the federal government instituted income tax incentives to encourage individuals and corporations to drill for oil. During the 1930s, federally financed dams created hydroelectric power. From the 1950s onward, the federal government financed research into nuclear power. More recently, the federal government has provided research funding and other financing to expand the availability of renewable energy sources. 2 Virtually all U.S. energy resources have received or currently receive subsidies." -- Another: "Finding and tallying federal energy subsidies, however, can be fiendishly difficult. Doug Koplow of the energy-consulting firm Earth Track in Cambridge, Mass., is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the topic. "He estimates that the US spent between $49 billion and $100 billion on energy subsidies in 2007 – numbers Mr. Koplow says are still accurate if adjusted for inflation. The handouts cover a broad range of activities, from federal loan guarantees and funding for energy research and development to special tax exemptions. "Here is how the subsidies break down by category, adjusted for inflation, according to Koplow. "Oil and gas: $41 billion President Obama wants Congress to chop $3.6 billion in 2012 oil and gas tax breaks for a total of $46.2 billion over the next decade. Among Mr. Obama’s targets: a nearly century-old oil and gas industry tax deduction for the costs of preparing drill sites and a manufacturer's tax break granted the oil industry in 2004. "The number is significant, but still little more than one-tenth of the federal subsidies that oil and gas companies might receive over 10 years. Adjusted for inflation, they currently receive about $41 billion in annual subsidies annually. That amounts to more than half – 52 percent – of total benefits distributed to energy sectors by the federal government. "Coal: $8 billion In second place among fossil fuels, the US coal industry reaps about $8 billion in subsidies annually – or about 10 percent of total federal largess. This includes tax breaks, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars on research into carbon capture and storage. "Those figures mean that subsidies to industries involved in fossil fuels total about $52 billion when adjusted for inflation – about two-thirds all federal energy subsidies. "Nuclear: $9 billion Even though it's been decades since a new nuclear power plant began construction, nuclear power in the US gets about $9 billion annually in federal subsidies. This money is embedded in federal decommissioning and waste management policies, as well as research and development at the nation's national laboratories." -- Now, I'm not necessarily in favor of eliminating ALL subsidies to the oil industry, but it's quite obvious that they're given far more money than any other energy source AND that some of those subsidies are in at least some cases outdated and obsolete. Sure, they were fine when the industry was first getting started, but now they're a well-matured industry and simply don't NEED that help. The same could hold true for coal and nuclear except that nuclear has a much more severe waste problem as well as a need for new nuclear technologies that are cleaner and more robust than most existing generation facilities--as evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of nuclear power plants have now operated well past their original design life of 25 years. Coal, too, has an issue that deserves support in helping to make burning cleaner and more efficient--and disposing of waste which is, at best, classed as a hazardous material due to radioactive by-products and simple chemical poisons within those ash pools. Somehow, we need to find a way to not only control those wastes, but if all possible find a way to recycle them either as another form of fuel or other beneficial product. And you are correct, the oil companies themselves don't make it easy to find where SOME of their operating funds come from; through grants, preferential loans and tax breaks (even Rush Limbaugh pointed out "special tax exemptions.")

  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Jun 03, 2014

    I really wish our esteemed politicians would collectively grow a pair. Do you want to save gas, save the environment, and cause people to seriously consider BEVs, more fuel efficient cars, etc.? RAISE THE GAS TAX! You don't have to do it all at once, you could raise it $.20 a year or some such. But the way to alter demand, is to alter DEMAND, not muck around making companies create vehicles that not very many people actually want.