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Tesla's Ze'ev on CARB's "Misguided" ZEV Mandate

Tesla’s president and CEO Ze’ev Drori has exercised his civic duty via the age-old agent of democracy — the strongly-worded letter. Drori posted a letter on Tesla’s blog to Mary Nichols, Chairperson of the California Air Resources Board, that vehemently disagrees with the Board’s decision to slash the zero emission vehicle mandate by 70 percent.

Critics say that at the behest of large automakers, the Board drafted a new mandate, which requires a mere 7,500 ZEVs on California roads between 2012 and 2015. The ire of Drori’s letter boils down to his assertions that the board is “misguided” in its fact finding process, which led to the “erroneous” conclusion that an electric vehicle wouldn’t be commercially available until 2012. Drori is quick to point out that Tesla is already delivering ZEVs and lists Nissan, Daimler, BMW, and Mitsubishi as other automakers who have announced plans to sell ZEVs in California by 2010.

But Drori has some advice for CARB — the mandate is not beyond redemption. Drori lays out four essential amendments that he says the Board needs to make to truly foster the manufacture and adoption of zero emission vehicles in California:

  1. Increase, not decrease, the minimum number of Pure ZEV required in Phase III (2012-2015).
  2. Eliminate the substitution of Pure ZEVs with Enhanced AT-PZEVs.
  3. Set the minimum ZEV requirements on a yearly basis rather than for three years, thus preventing manufacturers from getting an additional three year grace period and eliminating “blackout” years.
  4. A complicated credit system differentiates the way “intermediate vehicle manufactures” and “large vehicle manufacturers” can redeem and trade gold credits, earned by putting zero emission vehicles on the road. Drori wasnt to change the expiry system on these credits so that manufacturers of pure ZEVs can make full use of those credits and not be forced to sell them at steep discounts because of their short lifespan.

The Board will probably repeat the same mistakes it made back in the 90s that were so well documented in Who Killed the Electric Car?. But Drori’s letter shows that startups are indeed paying attention to policy and are trying to have their voices heard in the system.

6 Responses to “Tesla's Ze'ev on CARB's "Misguided" ZEV Mandate”

  1. I love these comments about CARB surrendering to “Big Oil”. That’ll be the day! CARB doesn’t listen to anybody, nor are they accountable to anybody. They are not elected. That’s why we have such goofy requirements from them.

  2. Today is the last day to “comment” on CARB’s failed, spineless surrender to Big Oil and GM.

    Obviously, Electric cars (ZEV) are possible; we’re driving hundreds of Toyota RAV4-EV all-electric plug-in cars, last sold in Nov., 2002 and the ONLY modern Electric car ever offered for sale. Over 100 miles range, long-lasting batteries, Toyota now says they made a mistake by building it “too well”, and that they would like to crush it (private conversation with Toyota manager, Aug. 13, 2008).

    But it wasn’t sold on a free or fair market! Because Chevron had by then purchased control of the NiMH patent rights from GM, and sued Toyota, so the program was really dead at that point. All Toyota had were a few hundred RAV4-EV left, when they were gone, that’s all there were. Toyota cannot even make the battery any more, at least not until Chevron’s patents expire.

    Chevron bought control of NiMH on Oct. 10, 2000, when the former Texaco acquired that control from … General Motors. Six days later, on Oct. 16, 2000, Texaco announced iit was merging, with the NiMH battery patents, into Chevron (Standard Oil of California).

    Those are the FACTS. GM and Standard Oil colluded to kill the RAV4-EV and the only proven battery, NiMH, that lasts longer than the life of the car.

    CARB sucked up to Big Oil and surrendered cravenly to the Auto Alliance. Dan Sperling, the fuel cell goofball, led the pack of fools that killed the Electric car all over again on Mar. 28, 2008.

  3. The article uses ZEV to mean “Zero Emissions Vehicle”. “EV” by itself doesn’t make sense. ZEV’s can be battery+electrically based like Tesla’s design, but Hydrogen-powered vehicles are also considered “ZEV” (since their “emissions” are water).

    If recent developments in home-hydrogen production from electricity using a catalyst are practical — you might keep your car topped off via a home generator and “gas stations” would only be used for longer trips.

  4. I’m no fan of CARB (especially the Judas of EVs, Alan Lloyd) but perhaps a strongly worded letter should have been written to Tesla as well:

    “Pure EV technology is wildly expensive compared with a comprehensive design based on PHEV technology. Barring some miraculous improvements in battery technology, the pure EV will never be a cost effective strategy for consumers and their present performance needs. Most of your batteries are not used on a day-to-day basis, and when a long trip IS required, your strategy falls off a cliff after 250 miles or so. A PHEV strategy is less expensive (even with the use of 100% biofuels) and allows for unlimited range.”