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Snapshot of the California Zero Emission Vehicle program credit balances

Automakers’ California ZEV credit balances as of 1 October 2011. Thanks to the Prius (AT PZEV category), Toyota has a large credit bank. Data: ARB. Click to enlarge.

As part of a Board-directed effort to provide greater transparency to interested stakeholders, the staff of the California Air Resources Board has posted production data from large- and intermediate-volume automakers beginning in model year 2009 and their Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) credit balances in 2010 on its website.

As of 1 October 2011, all vehicle manufacturers subject to the ZEV regulation are in compliance through model year 2010, and are carrying a positive ZEV credit balance—i.e., over-compliance with the ZEV regulation. The ZEV credits have been generated since the start of the ZEV regulation in 1990. Manufacturers can use these balances to provide flexibility in the timing and production of bringing new clean cars to the market to meet upcoming ZEV requirements.

A vehicle manufacturer’s ZEV requirement is based on a percentage of all passenger cars and light-duty trucks up to 8,500 lbs, delivered for sale in California. In complying with the ZEV regulation, manufacturers operate vehicles in California which generate varying credits, expressed in units of grams per mile Non-Methane Organic Gases (g/mi NMOG).

ZEV credit balances. Source: ARB. Click to enlarge.

Credits are based on vehicle type: full zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), excluding low-speed, neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs); NEVs; Enhanced AT PZEVs (e.g., plug-in hybrids); AT PZEVs (e.g., hybrids); and PZEVs (low-emission conventional vehicles).

There are also other parties generating credits that do not have ZEV requirements (credits can be traded). The posted table lists the credit balances as of 30 September 2011.

According to the ARB, the ZEV regulations have resulted in the deployment of more than 2 million vehicles in the state—including approximately 350 fuel cell vehicles; 5,250 battery electrics; 28,800 NEVs; 380,000 clean hybrids; and 1,750,000 clean gasoline vehicles. These numbers represent vehicles through model year 2010.

The California ZEV program supports three broad statewide policy goals: reduce criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions; reduce gasoline and diesel fuel demand; and maintain leadership in environmental technology policy and foster job growth. The ZEV mandate requires that large volume manufacturers produce and offer for sale in California a specified number of ZEVs. The existing ZEV program requirements are primarily expressed in terms of the number of vehicles that must be offered for sale, with adjustments for different types of vehicles.

According to a report published earlier this year by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the ZEV mandate remains an indispensable driver of electric vehicle policies worldwide, unique in its ability to foster technology-neutral research and development. (Earlier post.)

ARB will propose a suite of regulations—collectively called the Advanced Clean Cars Program—in November 2011 that will affect new cars sold between 2017 and 2025. These regulations will combine what were previously independent regulations, including modifications to the ZEV program.

ARB is combining the control of smog-causing pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions into a single coordinated package of standards known as LEVIII, currently under development. The new approach also includes efforts under the ZEV Program to support and accelerate the numbers of plug-in hybrids and zero-emission vehicles in California.



Toyota did as much as all others put together. A record to be proud of?

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