In preparation for a public workshop next week, the staff of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) published a concept paper that further develops proposed changes to the California Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations.
In a public board meeting in May, the Air Resources Board considered a status report on the ZEV program. Members of an Expert Review Panel commissioned by ARB to examine ZEV technologies presented a summary of their report (earlier post), and ARB staff made preliminary recommendations regarding the potential for modifying the ZEV program. (Earlier post.)
As an outcome of the May meeting, the Board instructed staff to examine possible changes to the regulation based on information provided by the Panel and from comments provided by the general public and effected stakeholders.
The new concept paper is a starting point for further discussions regarding possible amendments. ARB staff identified a number of goals for potential changes to the regulations:
Maintain the pure ZEV requirement in order to achieve long term public health goals.
Maintain requirements that accelerate ZEV technology development and deployment.
Provide support for near-term ZEV demonstration projects.
Take full advantage of technology options that are available today, to achieve air quality improvement and provide a bridge to ZEV commercialization.
Provide manufacturers flexibility with respect to ZEV fuels, technologies, and compliance pathways.
The paper outlines 10 potential areas for modification. The ones that will likely generate the most discussion are the proposed reductions in the volume requirements and lengthening of the implementation times for fuel cell vehicles; putting full-function battery electric vehicles on a more equal footing with fuel cell vehicles; and devising additional incentives to foster the development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)—both blended and all-electric range (AER) models.
Following the meeting next week, ARB staff will develop its Initial Statement of Reasons for changes to regulations, which it will deliver to California’s Office of Administrative Law on 9 October. The Board will hold a hearing on the specific changes 6-7 December 2007.