Two auto industry lobbying groups, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, have petitioned the EPA to reconsider California’s Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) requirements, Automotive News reported.
The new rules, most of which begin to take effect in 2018, would require automakers to sell an estimated 1.4 million EVs, PHEVs and/or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in California by 2025. Nine other states are expected to adopt similar standards.
Companies that fail to sell the required number of ZEVs can purchase credits from those with excess sales. In practice, this seems to mean Nissan (which announced in May 2012 that it had credits to sell), and possibly Tesla. The impending regulations have inspired several other automakers to produce “compliance cars,” but so far, these models have seen little marketing and few sales.
“It is impossible to predict today whether infrastructural developments, oil prices, consumer confidence and other factors will converge such that automakers will be able to persuade buyers to choose [ZEVs],” says the lobby groups’ petition. “Current data and trends suggest that it is highly unlikely that the industry will be able to meet that mandate.”
“If California were to require that one-half of an auto manufacturer’s sales in the state consist of two-door subcompact hatchbacks with 4-speed manual transmissions by 2018,” the petition says, “that standard would not be feasible because the motoring public will not purchase that many vehicles with those characteristics.”