Mailout #MSC 99-33


TO: ZEV Implementation Advisory Committee (Committee)
FROM: Robert H. Cross, Chief
Mobile Source Control Division
DATE: November 9, 1999

The following minutes are from the July 29, 1999 meeting of the Zero-Emission Vehicle Implementation Advisory Committee (Committee). The meeting was held at the Burbank Hilton in Burbank, California from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Following introductions, the Committee heard presentations and discussed the issues presented below. Contact Tom Evashenk at to obtain copies of the presentations summarized below.

Robert Bienenfeld, Honda Motor Company

Honda announced in April of 1999 that the company is near the end of production of the Honda EV Plus. Honda will continue to lease vehicles as they become available due to termination of the current three-year leases. Honda’s efforts in the electric vehicle market have now shifted to assessing the technology in real-world applications and consumer research. This research work will progress over the next five years.

Honda also announced the introduction of the two-door, two-seat "Insight." The Insight is a parallel hybrid electric vehicle that uses technology and experience from the EV Plus. Equipped with a 1-liter engine, the vehicle will be introduced in late 1999 for less than $20,000. The Insight will be certified to the ARB’s Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle standard and have a fuel economy of approximately 70 miles per gallon.

Nissan Altra EV Presentation: Mark Perry and Lance Atkins

Nissan first introduced the Altra EV in December of 1998. The Altra is a 4-door passenger vehicle built with the retail customer in mind. To date, thirty vehicles have been leased in California to Nissan employees and utilities for $250 per month. Nissan will lease 98 more vehicles by the end of 2000 to satisfy the requirements of the Memorandum of Agreement with the ARB. Model year 2000 vehicles are scheduled to begin introduction in October 1999.

The Altra EV has a real world range of approximately 80 miles per charge by employing a lithium-ion battery pack weighing 800 pounds. Total vehicle weight is nearly 3,700 pounds. Nissan is working with a new battery manufacturer in an effort to reduce battery cost.

Nissan has identified municipalities, airport rentals, utilities and parks and recreation as potential customers for the product. Nissan’s plan to increase public awareness has included outreach efforts at public exhibits, industry and academic conferences, test drives, and school visits. Research completed to date on the vehicle includes information from 130,000 total miles, enough data to fill 10 CD-ROMs, one formal survey and 60 GSFUDS battery tests. The topics of current research include analysis of driving range, temperature effects, speed/torque maps, vehicle efficiency variations, battery life and performance.

Nissan also has plans to introduce a gasoline vehicle meeting the ARB’s super ultra-low emission vehicle (SULEV) standard within the next couple of years. Currently, Nissan has 20 hybrid electric vehicles in Japan and expects to introduce a similar hybrid in the United States in year 2000. Other research and development efforts include fuel-cell vehicles, studies on compressed natural gas, and small electric vehicles. A "hypermini" vehicle is currently being tested in Japan for possible application in the United States.

Conductive Charging Status: Robert Bienenfeld and Craig Toepfer for EVC3

Robert Bienenfeld of Honda and Craig Toepfer of Ford represented the EVC3 and provided a comparison of inductive and conductive charging. According to the EVC3, the advantages of conductive charging include global compatibility, higher efficiency, lower societal costs and environmental impacts. Research recently conducted demonstrates that customers want public infrastructure at convenient locations (such as work, airports, and shopping malls, etc.). Of those EV users polled, 30% are very satisfied and 60% are satisfied with current infrastructure. Moreover, customers are very satisfied with charging equipment now available.

California Incentives: Dave Ashuckian, California Energy Commission

Mr. Ashuckian provided a review of vehicle, infrastructure, and license fee incentives that are in place to facilitate the early market for EVs. The CEC has partnered with six California local air districts to provide $5,000 in buy-down incentives per car ($2,500 from CEC and $2,500 from the air district). To be eligible for the incentive, the vehicles must be certified to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards and EV America performance criteria. The incentive must also reduce price to the consumer or fleet entity. 

Mr. Ashuckian also discussed locally funded incentive programs that include:

  • a $5,000 buy-down fleet EV program funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District,
  • a Bay Area Vehicle Incentive Program which provides $8,000 per EV for public agencies, and
  • a program administered by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District for vehicles meeting the ULEV, SULEV, and ZEV standards.

Pertaining to state infrastructure incentives, the CEC provides up to $500 for the installation of charging infrastructure when matched by automaker incentives. In the SCAQMD, the District provides an additional $250 bringing the total incentive to a maximum of $1,250. For the entire program, a total of $520,000 in public funds is available ($270,000 from CEC, $250,000 from SCAQMD). Additional local infrastructure incentives include:

  • EV Charge in the SCAQMD which provides up to 90% of installation cost ($3 million available), and
  • "Charge!" a program in the BAAQMD that provides up to 40% of the cost for public charging ($350,000 available)

State government has recently reduced the license fee for alternatively fueled vehicles purchased between January 1, 1999 and January 1, 2003. Under this legislation, license fees are reduced by not including the incremental cost of the vehicle in the fee calculation. The program currently includes 17 qualified vehicles having incremental costs ranging from $2,600 to $36,400. This provides savings between $50 to $650 per year depending on the vehicle.

EV1 Driver Experiences: Bill Mason

Bill Mason, formally of General Motors and Volvo Car Corporation presented a review of his experiences in the GM EV1. Since August of 1997, Mr. Mason has driven his leased EV1 over 22,000 miles, averaging nearly 900 miles per month. During this time, the vehicle’s average projected range has been consistently between 45 and 50 miles with a monthly average energy consumption of nearly 350 watt-hours per mile. The vehicle’s cost of electricity based on home recharging rates has averaged just under 2 cents per mile.

As a result of his time in the EV1, Mr. Mason concludes that:

  • currently available EVs using lead-acid technology perform far better than the car industry and press would have the public believe
  • government-sponsored outreach to the public is sorely needed
  • lead-acid batteries provide performance sufficient for average daily driving requirements
  • excess energy capacity through the use of advanced batteries is too expensive, and
  • as a result of their environmental benefits, EVs should be subsidized by conventional vehicles

2000 Biennial Review: Chuck Shulock, ARB

Mr. Shulock summarized ARB staff’s plan for conducting the next review of the ZEV program in September 2000. Staff work is underway, with workshops tentatively scheduled for March and May of 2000. The staff report, to be released in July, will examine the current state of ZEV technology, the status of manufacturer compliance with the Memoranda of Agreement, and current projections regarding cost and emission benefits for the ZEV requirements.

Subtasks of note include:

  • A review by an outside panel of battery experts, with particular attention to manufacturing cost issues
  • Visits to Detroit and Japan to meet with the manufacturers regarding their research efforts and their plans for meeting the 2003 requirement, and
  • Contract studies looking at the full fuel cycle emissions and energy efficiency of various technologies.

Future Meetings/Agenda Items

The next meeting of the ZEV IAC committee will be held in early 2000 in Sacramento. Agenda items will include an update on the ARB review of the ZEV program and plans for 2000. Committee members are encouraged to contact Tom Evashenk with additional agenda items at (916) 445-8811, or


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