LEV III combines soot, smog, and greenhouse gas control regulations into one standard for 2017 through 2025. By 2025, CARB expects that all light-duty passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles to meet today’s Super Ultra Low-Emissions Vehicle standards. Pie in the sky, much?
Much like its ill-fated plan to force automakers to build and sell battery-electric vehicles in the 90’s, CARB is including a regulation in the ZEV package that forces automakers to sell a minimum of 15% battery-electric vehicles by 2025. Talk about forcing the market into a corner, this regulation essentially dictates what automakers have to build in the coming decade, leaving little room for other promising technologies or alternatives. The only saving grace is that automakers who over-comply with the greenhouse gas standards presented in the LEV III regulations will recieve credits towards their electric vehicle mandates.
So much for the goal of getting more EV’s on the road. It will be much easier for many automakers to simply make clean gas-powered cars than to invest in battery-electric vehicles.
Finally, there is the CFO regulations package, which basically says that once automakers reach a certain threshold for other clean alternative fuels (like hydrogen fuel-cells), the construction of alt-fuel outlets (i.e. filling stations) must take place. This part of the amendment seems especially half-assed as it relies on automakers on projections with thresholds set at 10,000 cars locally, and 20,000 cars statewide. But why even bother with any other alt-fuel when California is demanding such a high percentage of new vehicle sales be battery electric?
Now is not the time to be setting separate standards once again; automakers will have a hard enough time reaching the 54.5 mpg CAFE standard set for 2025. Let’s not corral them into a single alternative (electric vehicles) and discard advancements in other potentially promising alternatives to oil.