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Plug-In Car Conversion Startups Brace for New Rules

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PHEV conversion companies — part of the nascent aftermarket industry that takes hybrid vehicles and turns them into plug-ins — may soon be required to run emissions tests and offer warranties competitive with big automakers in California. The state Air Resources Board, or ARB, will issue new rules for hybrid and plug-in emissions testing and aftermarket parts certification later this week.

While new rules would be designed to regulate smog emissions, plug-in advocates worry that an emerging technology for limiting greenhouse gas emissions could be squelched in the process, as the East Bay Express reports. We’re not sure aftermarket conversions would disappear entirely, although a shakeout seems likely.

Smog tests could cost startups like EDrive Systems, OEMTek, and Plug-In Conversions Corp. — which we’ve written about before — $20,000 to $125,000, depending on the number of cars ARB requires them to run through the paces. (Startups would have to pay for testing of at least one, and possibly several converted vehicles to have their technology examined and approved by regulators.) The proposed warranty mandate would be for up to a decade or 150,000 miles. We’ll follow news from ARB throughout the week.

3 Responses to “Plug-In Car Conversion Startups Brace for New Rules”

  1. I am angry. Who does this regulation serve? Who benefits from stopping the progress of green technologies? Who in public service is responsible for undermining our freedoms? We must identify and forcibly remove anyone from office who is working for anyone other than the people. America needs to grow balls and march upon the hill, bust open the doors and drag corrupt jerks outside for a serious beat down. They work for us, not the oil companies. If we stick together, they will no longer suppress technologies while keeping us addicted to oil and fossil fuel. We must go to Sacramento with pitchforks and torches or at least subpoenas and signatures to get our way for once. Who’s side are they on anyway?

  2. This is a pretty crappy turn of events if this comes to pass. First CARB decides it should regulate CO2 emissions, and then comes down hard on a fledgling industry designed to accomplish just that. The fact that these conversion cars all will emit much less CO2 overall seems lost upon CARB. (Other smog emissions will be lower as well.) Viewed from the outside, it is as if CARB simply hates cars in general, so how dare do these PHEVs be introduced that subvert our area of authority?

    The notion of them dictating warranty conditions is also completely out of bounds. It’s not the California Automotive Warranty Board, after all. A warranty, or lack thereof, is easily handled by the free market.

    Everyone should recall that these were the same bozos that inviscerated the ZEV mandate, killing off the EV-1 and other electric cars, in favor of the ridiculous hydrogen economy.