Mail Out #MSC 99-07


TO: ZEV Implementation Advisory Committee (Committee)
FROM: Robert H. Cross, Chief
Mobile Source Control Division
DATE: April 14, 1999

Following are the minutes from the January 19, 1999, meeting of the Zero-Emission Vehicle Implementation Advisory Committee (Committee). The meeting was held at the Air Resources Board (ARB) Hearing Room in Sacramento from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Following introductions and approval of the last meeting minutes, the Committee heard presentations and discussed issues presented below.

Brief Updates From Automakers on Recent Activities and MOA Status:

Representatives from General Motors, Honda, Ford, Toyota, and Nissan made brief presentations which covered recent activities related to their electric vehicle programs and status of Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) obligations.

  • GM publicly announced the availability of the EV1 with nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries last December. The lease price is $499/month, and the range is approximately 140 miles. The EV1 with advanced lead acid batteries is also available for $429/month; this version provides a 20% increase in range over the current lead acid model. The electric S-10 truck has also been upgraded, and is now available with NiMH batteries.

  • Honda stated that the lease price of the EV Plus is $455/month. They have executed 238 leases to date, far exceeding their 1998 MOA obligations. Fifty percent of these leases are with retail customers. The EV Plus is an excellent vehicle, and provides a "real-world" range of 60-80 miles. Honda's next steps are to continue technology development efforts (including hybrid vehicles and advanced batteries). Honda will also conduct studies of the vehicle users and applications. These studies will evaluate retail customers, fleets, and rental programs. Honda noted the unfairness to customers of recent legislation to reduce electric vehicle registration fees that overlooks existing lease customers.

  • Ford announced that the 1998 Ford Ranger (with lead acid batteries) is available nationwide; 251 were manufactured and 213 have been sold to date. The 1999 Ranger (with lead acid batteries) is available for lease for $349/month; the Ranger is also available with NiMH batteries in California for a lease price of $349. The NiMH Ranger is being used to meet both Mazda and Ford's MOA requirements. Ford is planning a 25 vehicle fast charge demonstration project for mid-1999; target production for Ranger's with fast charge capability is the 2000 model year.

  • Toyota announced that they will achieve full MOA compliance this year. Once their MOA commitment for placement of advanced battery vehicles is fulfilled, they will continue to sell and place vehicles in California. Marketing to fleet customers will continue, but they will expand current marketing efforts to include smaller private and commercial fleets (1-3 vehicles), as well as government fleets. Toyota believes they are close to finalizing the lease agreement with the State. All 1999 RAV4s are equipped with inductive chargers.

  • Nissan introduced the Altra EV in 1998. Thirty vehicles were placed. These include six in Pomona, four at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, three with San Diego Gas and Electric, two with Pacific Gas and Electric, and 15 with Nissan employees in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. The vehicles are powered by Sony lithium ion batteries. The lease price is $599/month; vehicles are leased without dealer involvement. The 1999 model will utilize a second generation battery; this battery uses manganese instead of cobalt. Nissan is delaying production until the beginning of 2000 due to battery unavailability.

There was general discussion during this session on the policy for implementing the $5000 buy-down incentives. The issue concerned the fairness of having the same electric vehicle sale or lease price, regardless of whether the $5000 buy-down incentive is available in an area. Automakers are approaching this issue differently, and the Committee agreed that the State should have a uniform policy. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has been working with stakeholders to develop a consistent approach. CEC staff will provide a detailed report regarding the status and resolution of this issue at the next Committee meeting.

Presentation on DiamlerChrysler's Electric Vehicle Program

Fred Maloney, Senior Manager of DiamlerChrysler's Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program, began the presentation by giving an overview of DiamlerChrysler's status regarding MOA requirements. DiamlerChrysler believes that they have met their 1998 requirements for demonstration of advanced battery vehicles through the placement of the EPIC minivan. Seventeen EPICs with advanced lead acid batteries were placed at military bases and utilities in 1997, and eighteen EPICs with nickel metal hydride batteries were recently delivered to California, (eleven to dealerships and seven set aside for service purposes). DiamlerChrysler invited the meeting participants to test drive the EPIC at the conclusion of the Committee meeting.

Jim Cerano, Engineering Program Manager for the EPIC, presented an overview of the EPIC's features. The EPIC is a Dodge Caravan mini-van which offers diversity to the electric vehicle market. The EPIC is a four door, five passenger vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 5800 pounds, and a payload of 925 pounds. The 1999 EPIC uses Saft nickel metal hydride batteries. The vehicle has a combined city/highway range of approximately 90 miles, accelerates to 60 miles per hour in 17 seconds, with a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour.

One of the EPIC's unique features is the off-vehicle conductive charging. The advantages of off-vehicle conductive charging include: (1) reduced vehicle weight, (2) improved charger reliability, (3) more efficient transfer of power through conductive coupling, (4) potential for higher capacity chargers, and (5) lower costs to the consumers. Although
the charger is not on the vehicle, a Lockheed-Martin charger is included with each EPIC lease. The time to fully charge the EPIC is approximately five to eight hours. The charger also has an A/C pass-through which allows it to be used by other vehicles with on-board conductive chargers.

Mike Clement, Director of Alternative Fuel Vehicle Sales and Marketing, passed out samples of DiamlerChrysler's outreach materials for the EPIC. They have launched a direct mail campaign; information is sent to those customers considered the best candidates for the vehicles (including public agencies and commercial fleets). One of the goals of the direct mail campaign is to interest potential customers sufficiently so that they will come to a dealership for a test drive. The EPIC can be leased through one of eleven dealerships in California; five are located in northern California and six in southern California.

Jerry Pierson, Manager of Service Support, discussed the service and technical support that is provided for the EPIC. All eleven DiamlerChrysler dealerships that market the EPIC also have two specialty technicians to service the vehicle. Technicians are certified as EPIC specialists after undergoing four days of specialized training. This training includes safety and service procedures and advanced service/diagnostics. DiamlerChrysler also provides engineering support, operates a fleet service "EPIC Hotline", and has loaner vehicles that can be used as a vehicle replacement during service and repairs. The loaner vehicles are also provided to potential customers on a trial basis.

Presentation on Inductive Charging

David Ouwerkerk, Magne Charge Program Manager for General Motors's Advanced Technology Vehicles, gave a presentation on the status and issues related to inductive charging. He began his presentation by stating that charging should be "non-competitive." That is, the most important area for automakers to compete with each other is the vehicles, and not the fueling system. He encouraged the industry to focus on promoting a single charging standard that is compatible world wide and capable of fueling all vehicles.

Mr. Ouwerkerk believes that inductive charging provides benefits comparable to, or better than, conductive charging. He compared inductive charging versus conductive systems against a number of requirements, which include: (1) low on-vehicle mass, (2) efficient transfer of energy, (3) low cost, (4) high durability, (5) safe and easy to use, and (6) compatibility with power and communication systems throughout the world. He believes inductive charging is better than conductive with regard to durability, ease of use, and perceived safety, and as comparable to conductive with regards to the other requirements.

The inductive system is now being redesigned to include a smaller "paddle" and charge port, and changes in the communication system to make it compliant worldwide. The modified paddle and charge port now under development will reduce costs significantly and make it more adaptable to varied vehicle sizes and types. The "communications system" is changed from one that relies on radiated frequencies (RF), to one that uses infrared (IR). IR has several advantages over RF, which include: lower cost, easier to implement, more robust, and lack of regulation. Because RF frequency allowances vary for each country, it is difficult to develop one standardized system. The redesign was started in May 1998, reliability testing is now being done, and the standard setting process is proceeding.

A complete conversion of existing charging infrastructure to the new inductive charging system will have to be completed by the end of 2003. This includes a conversion process for both the chargers and the vehicles. Charger retrofits will be produced at the Remanufacturing Center. The charger retrofit will include: (1) a circuit card replacement, (2) paddle and cable replacement, and (3) modifications so that chargers are both RF and IR compatible. U.S. distributors will be responsible for conducting on-site charger change out. Retrofits on vehicles will be conducted through local retailers or dealers. The vehicle retrofit includes charge port replacement (RF to IR), new output cables, and miscellaneous electrical components. Public charger conversion is scheduled for 2000-2001, vehicle conversions for 2002-2003; a schedule for fleet conversions has not yet been determined.

The presentation was concluded with a brief discussion of the High Power Charging System Demonstration Project now being conducted. This project is testing one 50kW High Power Inductive Charging System (Level III charging) on a fleet of four S-10 electric trucks (lead acid batteries). Data on the technical performance of Level III charging, impact on the utility grid, and daily fleet operations will be collected. The market potential for fast chargers will also be evaluated.

Presentation on SMUD's Battery Testing Laboratory

Ms. Ruth MacDougall, representing Sacramento Municipal Utility District's (SMUD) Electric Transportation Department, gave a presentation on SMUD's Battery Testing Laboratory and current testing projects. SMUD has extensive experience with electric vehicles, beginning with early conversions through the launch of the OEM vehicles. Their experience has taught them that the battery system is the most critical element related to vehicle performance and that there is a need for testing that focuses on the battery system, rather than the entire vehicle. Field testing can often give inconclusive results because of the large number of variables associated with vehicle operation.

SMUD had four goals in establishing their battery testing laboratory. These are: (1) increase the knowledge about battery system capabilities, (2) provide independent evaluation of battery systems at the pack level, (3) actively participate in electric vehicle research and development efforts, and (4) support the successful market launch of electric vehicles by offering battery pack and maintenance services to the auto manufacturers.

The laboratory has the ability to test battery systems and also has pack level testing capabilities. Tests can be done simulating real driving cycles. SMUD is able to provide independent evaluations that can be of great value when making policy and technical decisions related to electric vehicle programs. Current projects include participation in a Level III inductive charger demonstration program, characterizations of battery systems for hybrid electric vehicle projects (UC Davis), independent testing of nickel zinc battery packs, and characterization of plastic lithium ion battery packs.
Ms. MacDougall invited interested persons to contact her if they would like to tour the laboratory.

ARB Updates

Chuck Shulock, eV Loan Program Manager, gave a presentation on the status of the program. The goal of the eV Loan program is to encourage leasing of electric vehicles by public agencies. The program familiarizes senior officials with vehicle capabilities, publicizes availability of the vehicles, and provides a no risk opportunity for agency staff to see if the vehicles meet their agency's needs. The program sponsors are ARB, South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the Department of General Services.

Vehicles are loaned at no cost to participating public agencies and temporary chargers are installed, if needed. A toll free help line and customer support are also provided. Vehicles are currently available in Sacramento, South Coast, and the Bay Area; the San Diego area will be added shortly. The fleet includes the EV Plus, EV1, and Ford Ranger; the S10 and RAV4 will be available once the lease agreement with the State is executed.

The approach has been to emphasize the benefits of electric vehicles, target senior officials, involve dealerships in the program, and most importantly to keep the day to day operation as simple as possible. Outreach materials have been developed and are now being used to recruit interested agencies. The results achieved to date have been very encouraging. Twenty loans have been completed; six loans are now in progress, and thirty one agencies are waiting to participate. Ten leases have resulted from the first twenty completed loans, and four other agencies are now considering leases.

Jack Kitowski gave a brief update on LEV II, which was adopted by ARB in November 1998. He also discussed the Carl B. Moyer Air Quality Standards Program. The program provides $25 million dollars to support the early introduction of cleaner burning engine technologies. The money is used for grants that off-set the incremental cost of the cleaner technologies. The program is focused on heavy duty vehicles and off-road equipment. ARB staff has been working with stakeholders to develop program guidelines, which have been approved by the Air Resources Board at the February 1999 Air Resources Board Meeting.

Future Meetings/Agenda Items

The next meeting will be held in July 1999. Agenda items will include a presentation on conductive charging and a discussion related to the implementation of incentive programs in California. Committee members are encouraged to contact Gayle Sweigert with additional agenda items at (916) 322-6923, fax (916) 322-3923, or email:

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