California is Thinking of Changing Its Zero-Emission Vehicle Rules, and Automakers Aren't Happy About It

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
california is thinking of changing its zero emission vehicle rules and automakers

Halfway through its mandate to have 15.4 percent of the state’s vehicles generate zero emissions by 2025, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is now considering changing its requirements.

The problem is too many credits handed out to green car manufacturers, who then sell them to dirtier automakers to bolster their standing with CARB, Bloomberg reports.

Since California created the mandate, makers of electric vehicles, Tesla especially, have skewed the equation. Under CARB requirements, automakers must build a certain amount of non-polluting vehicles in proportion to their market share. If they can’t, they can buy credits from another manufacturer that produces more non-polluting than required.

An all-electric automaker like Tesla has a big cache of credits ready for the taking. As a result, conventional automakers can get by with just six percent of their fleet carrying a “green” label.

Automakers are already annoyed with the U.S. government’s 2025 fuel economy target s, which are about to undergo a midterm review, but they’re really annoyed with California, especially if the state’s emissions regulator changes course in mid-stream.

CARB chairman Mary Nichols said she hasn’t figured out what to do about the overabundance of credits. Still, a chorus of voices is growing, calling on the regulator to make the mandate stricter — either by putting a cap on the number of credits available or boosting the required percentage of green vehicles.

Robert Bienenfeld, Honda’s assistant vice president for U.S. environmental strategy, told Bloomberg, “It’s bizarre to say we need to make the regulation more stringent because it’s working.”

Tesla’s vice-president for business development, Diarmuid O’Connell, called the possibility of capping credits “an extremely stupid idea.”

“You’d be punishing people who are doing the most to put EVs on the road,” he stated.

[Image: JT/ Flickr]

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  • Ydnas7 Ydnas7 on Jul 07, 2016

    the core problem is that CARB supports H2, and the Chevy Bolt, Nissan LEAF 2, and Tesla 3 all destroy the economics of H2. CARB view was of 100 city mile EVs and 300 mile H2 fuel cells. but thats out of date versus Chevy Bolt, Nissan LEAF 2, and Tesla 3 which will all get 300 CITY miles. because 3 manufactures will sell credits, the price will plummet, and become so cheap, that only the bold and rich will try to sell H2 vehicles vs 200mile EVS at $150/kWh. so less H2 vehicles means death for H2 stations, which means death for H2 vehicles

    • See 4 previous
    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jul 08, 2016

      @Felix Hoenikker That's the point he was making, Felix, though he might have worded it differently. The problem is that even cracking hydrogen from natural gas creates emissions that we're trying to eliminate while the process at an on-site station seems to be slower and problematical, considering how few of those H2 stations are functional when an HFCV rolls in to refuel at any given time.

  • JustPassinThru JustPassinThru on Jul 08, 2016

    What this does is illustrate the FOLLY of expensive re-engineering, re-tooling of an entire industry to meet, not a changing economic circumstance but POLITICAL mandates - based on nothing but the whim of the hour, and as easily retracted or even reversed.

    • See 4 previous
    • JustPassinThru JustPassinThru on Jul 08, 2016

      @FreedMike The PC caught on, obviously, because a small, transportable desktop computer was more practical than something that took a whole office suite of space to work. The PC would have succeeded over mainframe computers without any government aid - in fact it did. And all the government subsidies to preserve mainframes wouldn't have helped. The electric car is not practical now; may never be practical in our lifetimes; and all the tax benefits or punishment on manufacturers who do not offer this folly, won't change that. It will just screw up the marketplace and cause wild reversals as it comes out that dull-normal lawmakers really are not Nostradaumses. Remember the Synthetic Fuels Corporation? SIX BILLION 1980 dollars of taxpayer money poured into that sinkhole, and NOTHING to show for it. EVER.

  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that