EVs on the march, but CARB stays in the dark

[As noted, GM and Toyota have soured on hydrogen fuel cell cars, and grown more optimistic about electric vehicles — finally catching up with most of the rest of us.]

Further evidence that the action is in electric cars and the batteries that will energize them: General Electric has invested $4 million in Th!nk Global, and $20 million in A123. Business Week reports GE plugs into electric car investments. And Th!nk has debuted a larger concept car, which it has developed with an unnamed major automaker. Green Wombat has more info here.

Pretty soon it might be down to BMW and Honda advertising the hydrogen dream, with the California Air Resources Board acting as enabler. CARB staff is recommending lowering once again the required number of zero emission vehicles — this time by a mere 90%! Honda, the supposed H2 true believer, is actually given an incentive to produce fewer of its much touted Clarity FCV.

The Air Resources Board could probably find a way to lead by prodding early commercialization of battery ZEVs or plug-in hybrids, but instead it appears to be regulating itself into irrelevancy.

— Marc G. Plugs and Cars Blog

6 Responses to EVs on the march, but CARB stays in the dark

  1. Peter Foley says:

    Joe, If the Feds(EPA) stick to there guns on the on the end of states having separate emissions standards (clearly they’ve violated the interstate commerce clause) won’t that pretty much end/diminish organizations like CARB?

  2. Jay Alt says:

    The California Air Resources Board’s role in abating air pollution is well defined by state and federal laws. The original (and revised) Clean Air Act give CARB specific duties.

    Mr. Johnson at EPA and higher-level puppeteers only waste the taxpayer’s money.

  3. Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids cost about 40% as much per mile for fuel as conventional hybrids, largely because electricity prices are regulated and held below the market price. Because of the lower operating cost, I expect plug-in hybrids to catch on very quickly when they are available commercially, beginning in 2009.

    The lower operating cost will generate lots more driving, and this huge new demand for electricity will make it difficult to phase out the most polluting power plants. In fact, it will create pressure to build more coal plants.

    I think conventional hybrids are less of an environmental problem than plug-in hybrids and electrical vehicles, because they run on gasoline and are likely to be driven much less than vehicles powered by electricity.

    After we have shifted to sustainable sources of electricty, electric cars will be environmentally sound – but they are not now.

  4. Joe says:

    We will have a CO2 within a few years, long before EVs are very widely used.

    So EVs and plug ins will drive clean energy into the market.

    “Electricity prices are regulated and held below the market price” — I don’t think that is a particularly accurate statement. Most electric utilities are, inherently, monopolies, a status they were granted in return for accepting regulation. Absent regulations, monopolies can raise prices, of course, but I think it is misleading to call such market power the “market price.”

  5. Hal says:

    Joe — What’s the missing word (or words) in your comment “We will have a CO2 within a few years, long before EVs are very widely used.”

  6. Ray says:

    You can charge your EV with solar power. The utilities will be the Exxon’s of the future. They will screw us hard when EV’s become widely available. We are a society sick with deception and greed. Electric companies are being bought up by private equity firms who now control grid distribution and shuffle electricty around the U.S. in ways that create maximum profit for them and maximum cost for you. I’m learning all I can about solar starting this week. I’m buying an electric car as soon as a reasonably priced, reliable model is available. Hopefully in 2-3 years. I have a 16 mile commute round trip to work and Walmart and that is most of my driving. An EV will be perfect. Even an PEHV would work.