In December 2007, I had talked about how the biggest threat to both hydrogen cars AND all-electric cars would be the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Two days ago, I talked about how the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the same entity that killed the electric car, (according to the movie), would likely choose to kill off a significant portion of both the hydrogen car and all electric car industry.
Yesterday in Sacramento, they did just this. Buying into the false choice (as Al Gore may say) that in order to raise the required numbers of one type of vehicle, they had to lower the required numbers of other vehicles. This did not have to happen.
The official tally was that CARB chose to decrease the number of hydrogen cars and electric vehicles manufactures are required to put on the road by 2014 by 70-percent. Before the vote, 25,000 hydrogen cars and electric vehicles were expected to be sold by this date. Now, only 7,500 are required from the automakers (one board member wanted to cut this to 2,500).
Meanwhile, by this same date, 60,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are required to be sold by carmakers. This is a false choice because CARB could have raised the requirements for PHEVs without lowering the requirements for the other zero emission vehicles. This false choice will lower the air quality in California below the previous targets, sending out a signal that politics is more important than cutting greenhouse gases.
And, there will be a significant financial impact to this mandate as well. According to Wired, “A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists says the proposed changes could cost battery and fuel cell suppliers’ revenue by at least $68 million between 2014 and 2017. EV charging and hydrogen infrastructure spending could lose $163 million.”
The real choice would have been to raise the amount of PHEVs required without touching the number of hydrogen cars and EVs required or even upping these numbers a bit. By backsliding on zero emission vehicles, the Air Resources Board has voted in favor of dirtier air quality, stunting the growth of new technology and abdicating leadership in the fight against global warming, greenhouse gases and independence from foreign oil.