PLUG OK license plate
PHEV Support Grows at CA Air Resources Board
Oct 24, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been one of the pre-eminent forces in environmental policy, especially in CARB. (Alan Lloyd, former Chairman, was at times called "the most powerful person in the auto industry," because what happened at CARB had such a big impact on car-makers.) For more about CARB, and who's on the nine-member board, see­board/­aboutus.htm­board/­aboutus.htm >.

Now the Board has a new Chairman, new members (and soon, broad new responsibilities for managing the evolution of California's greenhouse gas policies as they are affected by AB32). And their views on PHEVs and EVs are evolving. Below is the transcript of their meeting on September 28, at which Board Member Ron Loveridge presented an ambitious plan for a "Plug-In California Initiative." The discussion from other Board Members and staff are all very encouraging, especially since it reflects the new perspectives presented at the Zero Emission Vehicle Technology Symposium.

We reported on this event back several times recently at the CalCars-News. 10/20/06: Six Groups Offer CA State PHEV Plan­calcars-news/­555.html 10/19/06: Update on our "Do-It-Yourself" Prius conversion project­calcars-news/­554.html 10/05/06: Progress or Breakthroughs at California Symposium on Zero Emission Vehicles­calcars-news/­539.html 10/02/06: Toyota's Comments on PHEVs at Air Resources Board Hearing­calcars-news/­535.html 10/02/06: Key Board Member Proposes "Plug-In California Initiative"­calcars-news/­534.html 09/29/06: Experiences of 2 PHEV Early Drivers: Testimony to Air Resources Board ZEV Technology Symposium­calcars-news/­531.html (Until now, I've kept this newsletter "plain text," but I'll experiment with sending formatted URLs to see if many users have a problem with that. If you do, and you're logged in to Yahoo Groups, you could tell us at­group/­calcars-news/­polls. You've just gotten an email message asking your views on that.

CHAIRPERSON SAWYER: All right. We will now take a comment from Board Member Mayor Loveridge.

I would remind you that this is an opportunity for a Board member to bring items of interest to the Board. We will not be taking action on these items at this time.

Mayor Loveridge.


This is an item I'd like to raise for, as the language of the agenda says, for notice for future consideration at a Board meeting. And this is really a concept of a plug-in California initiative.

And let me, if I can, read the context. But it really comes out of at least a year or more sort of reading articles, talking to different experts, and thinking it is time that this particular technology bridge receive state attention.

Plug-in hybrid electrical vehicles are an exciting emerging technology because they offer the potential for zero emission miles, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved energy diversity.

There has been a tremendous support for plug-in hybrids recently:

The three major auto manufacturers, GM, Toyota, DaimlerChrysler are actively pursuing the commercialization of plug-in hybrid technology.

President Bush has directed specific activities to speed up plug-in hybrid research.

The City of Austin has what they call Plug-In Partners, a national campaign which has investor utilities and municipal utilities signed up across the country.

The State of New York has announced a $10 million program to convert all state vehicles to plug-ins.

And the South Coast District has hosted two meetings to examine the plug-in technology.

All of these activities have drawn the interest and attention of the media. It's clear there is popular interest in these vehicles. But to drive this technology, battery improvements that are required, we need to give a concerted effort rather than what I think has been sort of small pockets of activity. And I would suggest this effort be at the state level so we can put the weight of all state agencies behind it.

Let me give at least examples of direction, is request that the CARB staff work with appropriate stakeholders, including the Governor's office, State Legislature, auto manufacturers, battery technology entities, state agencies such as the CPUC, CEC and DGS, Plug-In Partners, electric utilities, environmental groups, and the CAPCOA members to establish a Plug-In California initiative that may do the following:

1. Establish a state commitment to purchase plug-in hybrid electrical vehicles when they are commercially available for all the state agency fleets.

2. Establish reduced electric rates to charge these vehicles.

3. Establish incentive mechanisms for the auto manufacturers by providing either additional ZEV credits or reduced greenhouse gas credits for the number of plug-in hybrids they produce.

4. Provide customer incentives to buy-down the vehicle's initial higher cost as well as giving HOV lane access to high fuel economy and higher electric range plug-ins.

5. Establish a favorable environment for plug-in hybrid associated businesses here in California. And

6. Dedicate at least $5 million of the 25 million CARB received through the AB 1811 toward the research, development and demonstration of plug-in hybrids, and leverage these funds to the extent possible with other activities being conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy, auto manufacturers, battery technology firms, Plug-In Partners, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

I would offer this as an idea for future Board consideration.

BOARD MEMBER RIORDAN: Mr. Chairman, I'd like to --


BOARD MEMBER RIORDAN: -- just respond, because I had the good fortune to attend the ZEV technology symposium, as our Chairman did. And first let me compliment the staff, some of whom are probably here now and hopefully some who -- you'll convey my appreciation. This room, Mayor Loveridge, was almost filled for three days.

And a lot of the discussion -- there were sessions and there was a plug-in session. And I think staff is going to bring back to us a report on that symposium. And so maybe this could follow along after the Board has heard about what we discovered. We basically were listening to private enterprise speaking at the symposium. And it's pretty incredible what I was able to discern about the technology and the advancements and the real interest in making this a part of a bigger program towards zero emission vehicles. And so I think this could fold in to that discussion.

And I just wish, Mayor Loveridge, you'd been there, because you would have been very excited and would understand that a lot of great things are happening, thanks to the private sector, supported of course by all of us who are concerned about air pollution in California But the private sector is really moving forward. I don't know, Mr. Chairman, if you'd like to comment. You attended probably more than I did of the sessions. But I was very impressed. And I was particularly impressed with the plug-in effort, because I did sit through that.

Thank you.


BOARD MEMBER D'ADAMO: Well, I'd like to compliment Mayor Loveridge in putting this together and say that we could have used you a few years ago, because we were really pushing for when ZEV review was before us last. Which is almost a bad word, ZEV review, to even have to think about that. But many of us were pushing for some additional incentives for plug-in hybrids. I think that we've got them in there. But I think that more can be done, and I look forward to working with you on this, and just really want to compliment you for putting this together.

Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON SAWYER: I would add that it's pretty clear from the ZEV symposium that the battery technology is advancing -- has advanced and it is advancing and makes all of these technologies, pure battery electrics, the plug-in hybrids, the ordinary hybrids, all much closer to reality in a big way.

BOARD MEMBER DeSAULNIER: Mr. Chairman, I'd just like to congratulate Ron too. And for those who make documentary films, maybe it's -- as Mark Twain said about his death -- supposed death, maybe the death of the electric car is vastly exaggerated.


CHAIRPERSON SAWYER: Okay. Our next item are -- there's a comment period --

EXECUTIVE OFFICER WITHERSPOON: Dr. Sawyer, I just wanted to thank Mayor Loveridge as well. We think it's an exciting technology. And to bring to the Board's attention several events going on that will bring the issue of plug-in hybrids back before you.

As Ms. Riordan indicated, we will report to you on the outcome of the symposium in short order. We also will have a report from our independent technical review panel early next year on their conclusions about how all the technologies are developing, which will frame the policy discussion on what, if anything, should change in the LEV/ZEV reg. And we expect you to give us directions at that time about whether to work on real changes or not.

Next month we will be before you with the $25 million that was given to us in this year's budget to facilitate the development of alternative fuels. And we have tentatively proposed that at least 5 million of that go to plug-in hybrids. We have to work with the Energy Commission and have their buy-off on the general spending proposal. And the climate action team has expressed interest also in reviewing what it is we're talking about. But plug-ins I expect to survive.

And then, lastly, the ARB and the Energy Commission are working on a major report about alternative fuels, within which we include electricity. And that report will be done by next June and cover the waterfront on all the possibilities for, you know, moving away from near complete reliance on petroleum. So that will be back before, you know, late summer -- early summer, I mean, next year.

BOARD MEMBER D'ADAMO: Just would like to see if staff can -- there are some good suggestions in here. And it sounds like with these various opportunities, the suggestions might fit in here and there, although not in all of the opportunities that are coming before us. So if staff could get back to us as to -- there might be something in here that doesn't quite pigeonhole just right but still might be a good suggestion.


CHAIRPERSON SAWYER: Okay. We will now move to the open comment period from the public.

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