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California ARB 2013 research project to characterize ZEV market; assessing future market potential

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) 2013 research plan includes a project that will comprehensively characterize the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) market, with the ultimate goal of increasing consumer purchases of ZEVs.

The proposed project will investigate the factors that influence sales of ZEVs in California (e.g., price, vehicle range, infrastructure). The project is intended to support the planned upcoming mid-term review of California’s Advanced Clean Cars program (earlier post), coordinated with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To support that mid-term review and Executive Order B-16-2012, which establishes goals to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by improving Californians’ access to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, ARB has already initiated research that will quantify the electricity-powered miles driven by advanced technology vehicles; analyze the charging behavior of electric vehicle drivers; explore how new car buyers’ perceptions of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) influence their vehicle purchase decisions; develop methods for measurement of low levels of particulate matter emissions so that compliance can be reliably determined; and quantify the potential emission benefits of vehicle load reduction. Research in these areas will also be coordinated with US EPA and NHTSA.

“Although the ZEV-owning population is currently relatively small, evaluating recent ZEV purchases will help us understand the future market.”
—ARB FY2013-2014 Research Plan

ARB notes that while the California Energy Commission has conducted several studies in the past on consumer response to alternatively fueled vehicles and incentives, these have relied on stated preference responses to hypothetical future vehicles.

Additionally, research from the EV Project and the California Center for Sustainable Energy (administrator of the State’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program) has been able to evaluate real-world consumer response.

However, these studies have been limited in geographic scope, vehicle types, and/or sample size. ARB’s existing research project on consumer valuation of ZEVs focuses on the general new car buyer’s perception, not only owners of ZEVs. This project would complement these existing efforts by evaluating the ZEV market in detail from a more holistic perspective and provide a measure of the representativeness of survey and interview respondents to the overall ZEV buying population.

—ARB FY 2013-2014 Research Plan

In the proposed project, researchers will merge monthly ZEV registration data with census tract data in order to correlate the factors that influence ZEV sales across California using econometric methods. The study will consider:

  • Policy-driven factors such as purchase rebate levels and access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes;

  • Market conditions, such as gasoline and electricity prices and the attributes and diversity of vehicle offerings;

  • Geographic factors, such as proximity and availability of electric chargers, local built environments, and neighbors purchasing similar vehicles, and demographic characteristics; and

  • The attributes and diversity of vehicle offerings.

ARB will use the results to describe the current ZEV market and to refine future estimates of ZEV market potential in California.Proposed funding for the project is $265,000.

Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The research plan also proposes two projects to address several key research issues related to low carbon fuels:

  • The future of drop-in fuels: life cycle, costs and environmental impacts of bio-based hydrocarbon fuel pathways.

  • Feasibility of renewable natural gas as a large scale, low-carbon substitute.



I am sure the response to EVs would be much better if the car companies were actually selling them for a fair price, rather than holding the price up to prove that consumers don't want them. It's a bit like a republican in government. They say government can't work, and they work to make sure it doesn't. The car companies say the consumer doesn't want EVs and they make sure by having the price so high that no one can afford it. But we know that they don't cost as much as the car companies claim they do.


I didn't realize until after I got one, that an HOV lane sticker is actually pretty handy. It didn't enter into my buying decision because I didn't understand. So, there's room for public education on that front.
As to price, car companies can't be expected to sell cars below cost--that's why we need the federal and state rebates and tax credits. The price I paid for my Leaf was painful, but at least I got 20% back from state and federal sources. The good news is that costs are coming down.


I take it that you approve of taxing money from some poor hamburger flipper that makes minimum wage, to support your purchase of an EV.

I don't know why the CARB of all people are looking at the sacred EV. Their proposed and adopted, Lev III SuLEV II emission regulation will make every car sold, gasoline, or fuel oil powered, the same as an electric EV.

After all, that was why that level of emiossions was originally created, thye wanted to show how clean an EV was.

Detroit has already beaten them to tthe punch and 25% of the Cars on the road in California are ALREADY EV emissions compliant.

But then again the holy druid high priest greens think the lack of pollution from EVs, is better somehow than teh same lack of pollution from a comaplant SULEV II ICE auto.

They will all be ZEVs.

I take it that you approve of taxing money from some poor hamburger flipper that makes minimum wage, to support your purchase of an EV.

After the EITC, a burger-flipper also claiming head of household gets net money from the taxpayer.  At least the EV buyer is doing something to clean up the environment and reduce dependency on imported petroleum, which is a serious national and economic security issue.



Surely you are not one of those greens that think a CO2 molecule exhaled by an earnest Sierra Club environmentalist, is somehow greener than a CO2 molecule produced by an ICE. They are indistinguishable; and the "good" carbon atoms are not painted green.

The point was that the CARB has passed a LEV III SULEV II (T2 Bin2) emission requirement for all vehicles that matches the emissions of any EV. That is precisely why they set that as the emissions target.

There is no longer any distinction between an ICE ZEV, and an EV ZEV. All vehicles are the same ZEVs. But EV ZEVs don't cleanse the Air, while ICE ZEVs pump large volumes of Air through them and clean it so they do so.

I concur in your opinion about the political ramifications of relying on imported petroleum. But that is yesterday's news. The US is set to become a net petroleum exporter once again, and will likely remain so for the next century or two.

Even as it has reduced it CO2 emission from Man and Nature combined, to below Zero. North (and South) America is a NET Carbon dioxide Sink, emitting none on net, and absorbing and sequestering good amounts from Eurasia.

It seems to me that the CARBite true believers have nothing to base their desires on any longer, other than pure arbitrary wishes that they desire EVS. They are intrenched, have the power, and want to impose EVs on everyone. Irrespective of whether or not the technology is mature enough to do so.

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