In October we wrote that California’s Air Resource Board gave the Chevy Volt a ULEV designation, meaning it didn’t qualify for a $5,000 tax rebate. GM is reportedly working on a Volt that will qualify for the rebate.
I not like CARB, not one bit, for a variety of reasons. CARB only gave the Chevy Volt, which can run on emissions-free electricity for up to 50 miles, a Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle rating, the same rating as the Jetta TDI and…wait for it…a 6.0 liter V8-powered Chevy Silverado converted to run on natural gas. Really great rating system CARB has going there. The Nissan Leaf counts as a Zero Emissions Vehicle as well as the Advanced Technology Zero Emissions Vehicle qualification, which opens the doors to the $5,000 tax rebate.
The reason the Volt got the ULEV rating (which does not qualify for a $5,000 tax rebate from California) is that the vehicle only comes with a 8-year/100,000 mile battery. Apparently that’s not enough, as it must have a 10-year/150,000 mile warranty. GM is working on a Volt that meets CARBs standards, rather than, you know, spending that money on innovation. Then again, with the $5,000 rebate, the cost of the Volt comes down to under $30,000, putting it in the price range of even more people. California is the biggest car market in America buy a large margin, so if the Volt can catch on there, it bodes well for the rest of the country.
I think that a vehicles emissions designation should be based solely on what does (or doesn’t) come out of the tailpipe, not the warranty. Sound off, especially you California natives. Should GM have to jump through these extra hoops for California’s generous tax rebate, or should they just give it to the Volt?
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMI’s. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.