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ARB Staff Posts Expert Review Reports of the ZEV Technical Analysis

The staff of the California Air Resources Board has posted the expert review reports of the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) technical analysis. Four external experts—Dr. Menahem Anderman, President, Advanced Automotive Batteries; Dr. David Greene, Corporate Fellow, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Dr. Joan Ogden, Professor and Research Director, University of California, Davis; and Dr. Giorgio Rizzoni, Professor and Research Director, Ohio State University—were invited to provide independent scientific advice on the ZEV documents released by staff on 25 November 2009. (Earlier post.)

ARB staff then published a white paper summarizing possible changes to the ZEV regulation along with attachments on ZEV technology status; a 2050 GHG analysis; and complimentary policies. Very broadly, ARB staff is making a number of major recommendation to the Board in reworking the ZEV regulation, including focusing it to address GHG emission reductions as well as criteria pollutants emission reductions. An important new goal for the ZEV program should be to help assure the transformation to very low carbon-emitting vehicles occurs in the timeframe necessary to meet the Governor’s 2050 target of an 80% reduction in GHGs compared to 1990 levels, ARB staff proposed.

The basic goal of the revised ZEV program should be to help demonstration-stage, low-GHG emitting technologies to commercialization, include fuel cell vehicles (FCVs); battery-electric vehicles (BEVs); and Enhanced AT PZEVs, which currently include plug-in HEVs (PHEV) and hydrogen internal combustion engine (HICE) vehicles, according to ARB staff.

Dr. Anderman, who recently visited the technology groups of nearly all the major automakers and foremost advanced battery developers in the six countries with the largest automotive industries as part of a multi-client study, concluded that “the report is an excellent document that provides a realistic assessment of a very complex subject.” Anderman made several recommendations at the end of his review, including:

  • ARB should increase the requirements for new-vehicle fuel efficiency by about 4% per year, starting at the earliest feasible date and continuing indefinitely.

  • ARB should initiate a drive to increase gasoline taxes nationally, in collaboration with interested political and environmental lobbying groups.

  • ARB should enact policies to accelerate the “greening” of California’s electrical transmission grids.

  • ARB should provide some incentives for the early introduction of EVs and FC vehicles provided they are matched with measurable progress in drastically reducing the carbon footprint of the energy source (electricity or hydrogen).

Dr. Greene also found that ARB staff had “correctly identified significant changes in policy objectives, technologies, and the marketplace that call for a reconsideration of the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program in order to, 1) make reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from light duty vehicles a central focus and, 2) simplify the regulatory framework.

Noting that the ARB documents correctly recognize that both vehicle and infrastructure must be addressed and that several policies will be needed, Greene pointed out the need for an overall policy framework that addresses how the full cost of a transition to ZEVs will be paid and how the evolution of the vehicle stock and energy infrastructure will be coordinated. This is not surprising, he wrote, given that such a framework has yet to be developed, and that the analysis of such large scale energy transitions is still a new field.

Two important energy issues are largely ignored in these reports: 1) energy security and oil dependence and, 2) sustainable energy for transportation. These should not be part of the central focus of this effort, of course, yet they represent important co-benefits of ZEVs that should always be mentioned.

—David Greene

Dr. Ogden likewise found the report “well done” and the analytical approach “sound”. Commenting on two key questions in the ARB conclusion—the cumulative ZEVs necessary by 2050 to help the LDV sector achieve an 80% GHG reduction, and the annual ZEV sales required between 2015 and 2025 to initiate these fleet volumes—Ogden noted that:

I’m not sure that cumulative ZEVs by 2050 is the right metric. Instead don’t we want to know what percentage of the on-road fleet are ZEVs in 2050, as this will help determine the GHG emissions?

The annual ZEV sales between 2015 and 2025 required to get on a “very fast” (scen 2) or “fast” (scen 1) trajectory are listed on p. 26. Are you recommending that scenario 2 is required to meet the 80% reduction goal? (25,000/y is needed by 2020 and 435,000 by 2025?) If so, this tracks fairly well with the most aggressive DOE and NRC (2008) cases for FCV commercialization, assuming strong policy support.

—Joan Ogden

Dr. G. Rizzoni, along with his colleague Dr. Vincenzo Marano, were more cautious in their comments.

The scenarios presented in the white paper need to be carefully evaluated with respect to market dynamics, technologies improvements/barriers, required infrastructure, etc. – in order to assess the feasibility of the projections. A risk analysis based on various scenarios is recommended. The background presented in the white paper does not seem to consider any alternative paths should some of the assumptions/projects made not materialize.

It is clear that the analysis presented in the white paper shows what is needed to meet the 80% reduction of GHG emissions, but a complete analysis should include sensitivity analysis based on less aggressive ZEV sales projection sales, and also considering what may happen if other energy sectors do not meet their share of GHG reductions. We are especially concerned about the ability of the electric power sector to achieve “zero-carbon” electricity.

—Rizzoni and Marano

Rizzoni and Marano note that early markets take time and are very slow to grow initially—e.g., 10 years for hybrids to reach only 4% of the new vehicle market in California.

BEVs, and FCVs present significantly greater uncertainty than HEVs in consumer expectations, creating equally large market uncertainties. Among the proposed technologies, PHEVs have gained most interest over the past decade for several reasons, including potential environmental benefits, reduced use of imported petroleum and ease of recharging. Bust, most important, today PHEVs represent the most cost-effective solution to replacing the use of petroleum based fuels with electricity.

—Rizzoni and Marano

To ensure a successful introduction of ZEVs and subsequent thriving market, several pressing issues need to be addressed, they wrote:

  • Infrastructure: most potential EV owners currently have an accessible charging outlet in their garage or carport. However, most major cities are not yet equipped with the necessary charging stations in work locations or shopping areas to accommodate charging during the day. Even more attention need to be addressed to hydrogen generation/distribution infrastructure for FCVs.

  • Policies and Regulations: Similar to the introduction of HEVs, policies that offer financial incentives to potential ZEVs owners to significantly boost market penetration. Favorable ZEVs policies would include tax credits to owners/drivers, incentives for battery/fuel cell manufacturers to produce domestically, and rebates to utilities that fuel ZEVs with electricity/hydrogen at lower rates.

  • Collaboration between automotive OEMs and utilities: the concept of grid-connected vehicles has introduced the unconventional need for utilities and auto manufacturers to work together. Both entities have a mutual goal of designing BEVs that exhibit optimal interaction with the grid, ultimately resulting in benefits to all consumers.




Lower cost BYD's E-6 (BEV) crossover with 205 miles per charge from its 60 Kwh battery pack should arrive in USA (starting in California?) latter this year.

It looks very American and should pass all crash tests as well as locally produced units.

This first generation BEV crossover should sell for about $40K and will certainly find many takers.

The second generation E-6 may have twice the e-range and cost even less due much lower cost more efficient batteries in 3 or 4 years.

Interesting decade ahead.

Henry Gibson

Hydrogen from any source is very inefficient for automotive use. Since people exhale CO2 there is no reason that automobiles cannot do the same. Very complicated computer controlled exhaust cleanup systems can make the exhaust air cleaner than the input air on the freeway except for the very natural product CO2. Capstone turbine already makes a machine that does this. Horses should be forbidden in CARBon land which permits large houses large subburbs and large automobiles. Horses have high CO2 per passenger mile; Henry Ford did this analysis when he started building tractors a century ago. Sled dogs will also have to go.

CO2 and H20 can be captured and recyled into liquid fuels with heat from run-away-safe, pebble bed, high temperature reactors long ago developed and tested. They can be built in a few months. The amount of fissioned fuel products to be produced in a year is less than the volume of the fuel used on CARBon's roads in a minute. Since there are already billions of tons of natural long lived radioactive materials in most all of the CARBon lands, the long life of many such materials does not have the very great importance that people think it does because the people who always bring up the issue do not mention that that all live things have always had such materials built in. Look up potassium with a two billion year half life isotope. All soils must contain potassium and they also contain uranium and radium and thorium. The uranium and thorium present in coal is just dumped on the ground as ashes. The Radon in natural gas is just released into the air or the house by the burner.

Ultra-low CO2 ultra compact fission energy for CARBon land. ..HG..


Methane can be stored 3.2 times more densely than hydrogen. That means that a FCV needs to be 3 times more efficient than a NG vehicle to have the same range. That's not feasible.

Hydrogen can even be reacted with CO2 (pulled from the ambient air) to produce synthetic methane, which has no-net carbon footprint. This would be a far superior fuel for vehicles compared with hydrogen. And it enjoys an extant energy infrastructure in the form of our natural gas pipelines.

By continuing to advocate FCVs, CARB is not part of the solution.

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