Automaker Hosts Seminar to Explain California ZEV Requirements,
Details Plans for 90 New Scion iQ EV Battery Cars for Campus Trials
Major automakers face increasing requirements to field zero-emission vehicles in California and the states that follow California’s lead. And the new ZEV minimums are coming at a time when early enthusiasm for today’s electric vehicles is a showing signs of flagging due to high prices and the waning of initial enthusiasm and novelty.
Such were the views aired as Toyota hosted its 2012 Future Mobility Seminar in Denver and at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in nearby Golden, Colo.
The sessions at NREL continue today, including introduction of Toyota’s new Scion iQ EV city commuter.
“The old regulation sort of plodded along,” Analisa Bevan, chief of the sustainable transportation technology branch at the California Air Resources Board, said at the Toyota seminar on Tuesday. “The new regulation,” she said in Denver, “ramps up considerably” – beginning in earnest in 2018. Today’s conventional hybrids and PZEVs – partial zero emission vehicles – will no longer earn ZEV credits.
Better than Not Driving At All
California is seeking to reduce both health-threatening smog-forming emissions and, with an eye to climate change, its levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The big fear? “If we don’t achieve this through technology we will have to achieve it through more draconian measures,” Bevan said – perhaps going so far as to impose actual limitations on driving.
California’s goal is for 15.4% of new car sales in 2025 to be zero-emission cars. Looking toward mid-century, “We need to see zero-emission technology” – be it be battery cars, or plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells – “really dominating the market,” Bevan said.
CARB, she noted, expects hydrogen fuel cell cars to see a resurgence, as the agency believes that fuel cell costs are more likely to come down with increased volumes than battery costs.
‘The Vehicles Have to Be Competitive’
But the question with all the new ZEVs, she acknowledged, “is whether the consumer is ready to accept the technology.” CARB’s position, Bevan said, is that mandates force automakers to make satisfactory vehicles, with costs coming down with volumes, sooner.
“The vehicles have to be competitive on a cost-capital basis,” said Constantine Samaras, engineer and policy analyst and a professor at the Pardee Rand Graduate School in Pittsburgh. He said too, however, that by setting mandates (and providing incentives), “The government creates new knowledge.”
Bridging the gap between “market apathy” and the coming mandates is a key challenge, said Edmunds.com vice chairman Jeremy Anwyl. Many of today’s hybrid sales, he said, are examples of the “statement vehicle.”
For many of today’s buyers, “Fuel efficiency is more a cost than an attribute,” Anwyl said. It’s by no means certain that this will lead to significant sales volumes. And, he notes, it’s but no means certain that gasoline prices will continue to rise.
Enter the iQ EV
Toyota also said in Denver that it will bring approximately 90 new made-in-Japan pure battery electric Scion iQ EV cars to the U.S. for campus, car-sharing and other trials by year-end. The iQ EV is a four-place city commuter car designed for car-sharing programs in urban and campus environments.
The iQ EV features a new, Toyota-developed, 12-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack affording estimated single-charge range of up to 50 miles. The vehicle can be fully charged in approximately 3 hours at 240 volts.
A 78-inch wheel base and 13.5-foot turning radius “makes the iQ EV highly maneuverable in congested areas where streets are narrow and parking is at a premium,” Toyota said.
A City Commuter
“Toyota developed the iQ EV specifically as a city commuter, for use in an urban environment, where driving distances are likely to be short, charging opportunities numerous, and its compact proportions beneficial,” Toyota group VP for strategic planning Chris Hostetter said in a release.
“Toyota believes battery-electric vehicles have the potential to play a role in future mobility strategies,” he said.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels attendance at Toyota Future Mobility Seminar