Electric car advocates demand more cars

April 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Advocates are demanding more production of electric cars.

"The Air Resources Board is failing the people of California."

Environmentalists hope the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, listens to their pleas and saves the electric car.

The agency is set to vote on a plan Thursday that reduces the number of pure, zero-emissions electric vehicles carmakers have to sell over the next few years by 90-percent, from 25,000 to 2,500.

"They are, indeed, doing what automakers have asked for. Automakers have submitted a letter of their own, even asking for less than 10%, but certainly arguing that the fewer cars they're required to do the better," says Chelsea Sexton of Plug-In America.

The Air Resources Board already reduced the requirement once before because electric technology wasn't progressing as fast, particularly with the rise of hybrids.

If the Air Resources Board approves the reduction, it could hurt the new, all-electric roadster that went into production just this month.

The Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors has already pre-sold 1000 and wants CARB to keep other carmakers in the game.

The market will not grow as fast as we want it to grow. We seek competition. We're leaders in this space, and we can profit by greater competition," says Diarmuid O'Connell of Tesla Motors.

The Air Resources Board denies bowing to pressure from automakers. It just wants to leave room for other technologies like hydrogen and plug-in hybrids to develop, considering where pure electric vehicles are today.

"Frankly, we're finding that a lot of them aren't quite there yet. They're a little too expensive and we want to set realistic goals," Leo Kay of the California Air Resources Board

While a small electric SUV is in the $40,000 dollar range, the Tesla is nearly $100,000 dollars.


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