Sunday, May 27, 2007

My ZEV Mandate Public Comment

Chairman Sawyer, Members, my name is Marc Geller, and I represent the San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association. Many of our members, including myself, drove ZEV Mandate battery electric cars - GM EV1, Honda EV+, Ford Th!nk City - until they were confiscated by the automakers. A few of us still drive Toyota RAV4 EVs - a truly great car. I hope Board Members understand that we continue to use these zero-emission, zero-petroleum cars in our daily lives. Many more of our members would like the choice to be available to buy electric and plug-in hybrids cars. And want CARB to succeed with ZEVs, in the near term.

Thousands of battery ZEVs were on the road in consumers hands a few short years ago. And they have not been replaced by another ZEV technology. To get more ZEVs on the road, we support the staff interest in battery electric/fuel cell technology neutrality. As the hydrogen storage expert testified here, H2 storage is still in the R&D phase. In fact both the expert panel and staff reports make clear the entire fuel cell project is essentially an R&D project with hope for commercialization decades out. The state ought to support technology R&D, but the Board should question whether it is appropriate to the ZEV mandate.

Battery electrics ought not be penalized - as they are now - because they are closer to commercialization and infrastructure-ready. There is no good reason to extend the deadline for compliance, and we oppose staff recommendation to extend the deadline for putting 2500 fuel cell vehicles on the road from 2011 to 2020.

Technology neutrality and firm deadlines have worked, and offer automakers enough flexibility to achieve the results we, and CARB, know are possible.

We believe the Board must keep all its options open to incentivize battery electrics and plug-in hybrids. Just as Governor Schwarzenegger is keeping his personal options open. Despite his much ballyhooed hydrogen highway, he has placed an order for a $100,000 all-electric Tesla Roadster. It is up to CARB to get back on the road to ZEV success for the rest of us.