Muggles Perform Magic in California

By John Addison (7/30/07) Everyone is mesmerized with Harry Potter and the fate of the world. My niece proudly wears a wrist band proving that she waited seven hours to buy book seven. My brother, reported that 30% of passengers on his business flight were reading the book. Harry and his fellow wizards have access to all sorts of magical transportation – flying broomsticks, flying carpets, magical flying creatures, portkeys, floo powder and floo networks, metamorphosing, apparition and disapparation Muggles, we regular human non-wizards, are also capable of a bit of magic. In California, millions have been transported with zero emissions. Not with Knight Buses, but with zero-emission buses, light-rail, cable cars, and zero-emission cars.

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Regulation in 1990 to reduce the emissions from light-duty vehicles and accelerate development of zero emission vehicles. Over the years, the regulation has been modified to deal with objections and lawsuits from the automotive industry that contend that battery-electric and fuel-cell vehicles are not ready for prime time.

The regulation has made California the leader in clean vehicles and cleantech. Estimates are that by the end of 2005, the following quantities of these vehicles had been placed in California: 130 fuel cell, 4,400 battery-electric, 26,000 25-mile per hour speed battery-electric, 70,000 AT-PZEV vehicles such as the Prius, and 500,000 PZEV vehicles.

There are currently twenty-one auto manufacturers subject to the ZEV regulation. Six are defined as large volume manufacturers: Toyota (market leader), General Motors, Ford, Honda, DaimlerChrysler and Nissan. The remaining 15 are intermediate volume manufacturers. Intermediate manufacturers can meet the regulation entirely with PZEVs.

ARB staff recommends that “the Board examine more even treatment of BEVs in the regulation as compared to FCEVs. For example, BEVs and FCEVs could be offered equal credit before 2012. By returning to technology neutrality and considering BEVs and fuel cell vehicles similarly, the ARB might induce some manufacturers to choose to pursue battery electric vehicle development instead of fuel cell vehicle development. The outcome would be that overall ZEV production could be greater, but fewer fuel cell vehicles may be produced.”

ARB has been holding public hearings and getting an earful. The latest public workshop was on July 24. Leading environmental groups such as NRDC, UCS, and the American Lung Society do not want reductions in the fuel cell vehicle requirements.

The proposal to ARB which generated the most interest was from A123, a leading supplier for advanced lithium batteries. A123 has also purchased Hymotion to be the leading plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system integrator, winning important contracts from the State of New York and South Coast Air Quality Management District. A123 stated that they have been selected for GM VEU and Volt vehicle programs and are being considered by future PHEV programs from makers such as Volvo.

An A123 kit will fit in spare tire space of most hybrids including the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Ford Escape Hybrid. Kits and authorized installers are expected in 2008. The A123 presenter, for his own converted Prius has used only 9 gallons of gasoline to travel 1,200 miles. He achieves up to 177 miles per gallon.

There are now over 40 million light electric vehicles now in use worldwide. Demand is exploding in Asia. ARB is considering increasing its modest credit for 25-mile per hour neighborhood electric vehicles (NEV).

Because plug-in hybrids and light electric vehicles are in the regulation, California should have no need to relax other requirements. Rapid advancements have been made in both high-performance and low-cost battery electric vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCV) have demonstrated ranges of 300 miles, 24 stations are in operation, and there are enthusiastic responses from those who drive these FCV on a daily basis. Next year, over 40 PHEV will be on California’s roads.

Permission is granted to reproduce this article which is copyright John Addison. The complete article with links to the ZEV program is at John Addison publishes the Clean Fleet Report. He is currently inviting literary representation and a publisher for his new book Save Gas, Save the Planet.

4 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I feel hybrids should not lower their standards for mpg, and they should emit NO carbonor other emmissions. I want one of the plug in batteries so I can up my mpg to over 150 mpg also. Innovations like this are our only hope for the future.

  2. Tony Belding
    Tony Belding says:

    Quote, ". . .and there are enthusiastic responses from those who drive these FCV on a daily basis."I'm confused. Who exactly are these people driving FCVs on a daily basis? Honda and GM engineers? Or that one family that Honda leased one prototype FCV to? Also. . . Are there really 24 hydrogen stations in operation in California, or did he mean worldwide? I honestly didn't think there were that many worldwide.Tesla Motors are planning production of 800 all-electric Roadsters for 2008, and selling (not leasing) them to buyers all over the USA. To me that seems a lot closer to reality.

  3. John Addison
    John Addison says:

    Tony, you have good reason to be optimistic about BEVs such as Tesla. Fleets that use BEVs are also using hydrogen fuel cell vehicles where they need electric vehicles with extended range, fast fill, and sustained power. Read about the 24 stations in California in operation, real drivers, and also our positive article about Tesla at http://www.cleanfleetreport.comSincerely,John

  4. testgroup050405
    testgroup050405 says:

    I read your citations, complete waste of time. You are fantasizing about economic fuel cell cars. There are none! Never will be. Even the fork lifts that everyone is pretending to make economically are frauds. Engineering is making something someone can afford. There is no Hydrogen on planet Earth. You can make it with what amounts to a perpetual motion machine, but a traditional battery works better at 1:1,000th the cost. You can make it from Natural Gas, but a taxi can run on natural gas for $500 extra. What do you get for your million dollar fuel cell? Defrauded!

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