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The Air Resources Board (the "Board" or "ARB") will conduct a public meeting at the time and place noted below to consider ARB staff's update on the status of the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program and technology. This item is informational only: no regulatory action will be taken on this item.

DATE: July 30, 1998
TIME: 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: Air Resources Board
Hearing Room. Lower Lever
2020 L Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

This item will be considered at a two-day meeting of the Board which will commence at 9:00 a.m., July 30, 1998, and will continue at 8:30 a.m., July 31, 1998. This item may not be considered until July 31, 1998. Please consult the agenda for the meeting which will be available at least 10 days before July 30, 1998, to determine the day on which this item will be considered.


In September 1990, ARB approved the Low-Emission Vehicle and Clean Fuels regulations. Included in these regulations was a requirement that the seven largest auto manufacturers produce ZEVs beginning in 1998. Specifically, manufacturers were required to produce ZEVs in quantities equal to two percent of the new vehicle fleet in model years 1998 to 2000, increasing to five percent in 2001 and 2002, and ten percent in 2003 and beyond.

In March 1996, due to the state of battery technology, ARB modified the regulations by eliminating the ZEV requirement during the 1998 to 2002 timeframe. The ten percent requirement for 2003 and beyond was maintained. At the same time, the seven largest auto manufacturers and ARB signed Memoranda of Agreements (MOAs) to accelerate the development of advancedbatteries. The MOAs commit auto manufacturers to:

  • offset the emission benefits lost due to the elimination of the ZEV requirements in model years 1998 to 2002 through panticipation in a national low-emission vehicle program or other program that would provide equivalent air quality benefits;
  • continue ZEV research and development through the placement of advanced battery-powered ZEVs in the marketplace;
  • participate in a market-based ZEV launch by offering ZEVs to consumers in accordance with market demand; and
  • annual and biennial reporting requirements.

ARB staff has evaluated the annual and biennial reports submitted by the auto manufacturers. Staff has also met with the auto manufacturers individually. Upon review of the information collected, staff has determined that all seven of the auto manufacturers are making progress toward meeting the MOA requirements.

To offset the emission benefits lost due to the elimination of the ZEV requirement in model years 1998 to 2002, all seven of the auto manufacturers opted in to the National Low-Emission Vehicle (NLEV) program beginning in 2001, three years earlier than could be required under federal law. The NLEV program will benefit California's air quality as cleaner out-of-state vehicles migrate into and through the state.

The auto manufacturer's commitment to continue ZEV research and development and to participate in a market-based launch is going according to schedule. Further details regarding the manufacturers progress toward the commercialization of ZEVs will be included in the Staff Report accompanying this notice.

The Memoranda of Agreement also include commitments from ARB to:

  • facilitate the purchase of ZEVs in state fleets;
  • work with other state agencies, local governments and private industry to address various infrastructure issues;
  • continue to work with emergency response officials to create a comprehensive emergency response training program; and
  • support reasonable incentive programs.

ARB, California Energy Commission and other state agencies and public industry groups have made progress towards all the MOA commitments. First, Master Service Agreements designed to greatly simplify the lease processes for public agencies have been executed with General Motors and Honda and are being developed with Ford and Toyota. ARB staff is currently working with senior managers at state agencies to encourage leasing of ZEVs by the agencies. Second, there are currently well over 500 EV recharging stations throughout California, and ARB continues to work with other state agencies, local governments and private industry to address infrastructure issues as they arise. Third, in cooperation with the California Energy Commission and other state and local agencies, a comprehensive safety training course has been developed and is currently being widely used. Finally, there are a number of incentives available and ARB continues to work with state and local government, auto manufacturers and other stakeholders to determine the most effective ways to support the introduction of ZEVs into the marketplace.

In addition to updating the Board on the status of the MOA commitments. ARB staff has evaluated the progress made in advanced battery development. ARB staff has evaluated the four most promising advanced battery technologies, nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH), sodium-nickel-chloride (NaNiCl), lithium-ion and lithium polymer. These battery technologies have the capability to provide the performance and range characteristics ARB staff believes will be necessary for electric vehicles to proliferate in the marketplace. Of these technologies, it is expected that NiMH and NaNiCl batteries will be available in production quantities by 2003. Lithium-ion batteries will likely be at or close to production by 2003 and the decision whether or not to continue working toward commercialization of lithium-polymer batteries for use in automobiles will be made in 2003.


The Board staff has prepared a Staff Report (WP6 - 231K) or (Acrobat - 156K) which includes summaries of progress made towards meeting the requirements of the MOAs by both the auto manufacturers and ARB. Additionally, the report includes a status report on advanced battery technology and staff predictions for model year 2003 regarding performance, life cycle and cost of advanced batteries. Copies of the Staff Report may be obtained from the Board's Public Information Office, 2020 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 322-2990.

Further inquiries regarding this matter should be directed to Eileen Tutt, Air Pollution Specialist, P.O. Box 2815, Sacramento CA 95812, (916) 445-8897.


The public may present comments relating to this matter orally or in writing. To be considered by the Board, written submissions must be addressed to and received by the Board Secretary, Air Resources Board, P.O. Box 2815, Sacramento, CA 95812, no later than 12:00 noon July 20, 1998 or received by the Board Secretary at the meeting. The Board requests but does not require that 20 copes of any written statements be filed at least ten days prior to the hearing. The Board encourages members of the public to bring to the attention of staff in advance of the hearing any suggestions or comments.

Michael P. Kenny
Executive Officer

Date: July 6, 1998

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