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I recently got an "Action Gram" (below) from Chelsea Sexton at www.PluginAmerica.com . I have a little different take on it than her suggested text, namely I'm not afraid that the California Air Resources Board CARB) will be too easy on carmakers, I'm afraid they will make rulings that don't promote Series Hybrids like the Volt. Their decision could force GM to waste time on hydrogen cars or all electric cars, while cars like the Volt are affordable by the mass market and can cut fuel consumption (and every form of pollution associated with it) by 70%, which is the true job of the "Air Resources Board".

So from the pluginamerica website you can send a message to Gov Schwarzenegger and/or Mary Nichols, Chairman of the CARB. Here's what I said, if you agree go to www.pluginamerica.com and send something:

Subject: CARB decision and the GM-Volt Series Hybrid
Comment:

Dear Ms. Nichols,
I'm a member of the GM-Volt Nation interest group, and last
night I attended the "GM Volt Nation Townhall Meeting" at the New
York Auto Show where GM Vice Chairman for Product Development, Bob Lutz, made several statements like "the Chevy Volt and the Electrification of the auto industry is our best hope to break our dependence on foreign oil"; and "the Volt is a "game changer" and like the Model T, it will revolutionize transportation in America". More details on our website at www.freedomformula.org.

Ms Nichols, I'm afraid that at your upcoming session on March 27th the CARB may enact regulations that do not encourage the type of vehicle which is represented by the Chevy Volt (a gas-electric Plug-In Series Hybrid). This type of car can DELIVER A NET EFFECT OF
150 MILES PER GALLON when analyzed against the average
American's driving patterns. Please make sure the CARB doesn't
lose sight of their end goal, which is to reduce fuel consumption
and therefore EVERY form of pollutant and contaminant that comes out of an exhaust pipe.

So, let's cut to the core issue and encourage the CARB to get out
of the technology game and instead address the BOTTOM LINE, which
is the total fossil fuel impact of vehicles sold statewide by each
manufacturer. Simply stated, something like:

"The total emissions of all cars you sell in CA (in terms of
gallons of fuel consumed) must drop by 10% in 2012 (compared to
2007) and drop 10% per year after that, until there is a net reduction
of 60%. You can use any combination of technologies, various hybrids, smaller-lighter cars, battery-electric, fuel-cell, hydrogen etc,"

Since the CARB's interested is air quality, you may want to taper off or end this program at a point other than 60% and 10 years. The interest of my foundation is freedom from foreign oil, and an overall 60% reduction achieves this goal.

It's not the TECHNOLOGY, it's the EFFICIENCY that counts. I'd LOVE for Gov Schwarzenegger to adopt a twist on Bill Clinton's famous mantra, namely..."IT'S THE EFFICIENCY STUPID!" Can't you hear it; with the same accent and tempo as "I'll Be Back" (in the Terminator).

Physics dictates how much energy is required to accelerate a car
from 0 to V miles/hour (using the formula E = (1/2)mV2 ); so the
real question that CARB should regulate is "How much fuel did it
take to get you to V"? That figure (Energy / Amount of Fuel) is
called EFFICIENCY; thus "It's The Efficiency Stupid"; and a Series
Hybrid is typically two to three times more efficient than a conventional car. So let's ask a simple question of the Board:

"Is it better for the state of California if by 2015 :
1. 20% of the cars have reduced their fuel consumption by 50% or
2. 1% of the cars have reduced fuel consumption by 100%?

Answer: Option 1 is TEN TIMES BETTER !

So keep the formulas simple and keep focused on reducing fuel consumption and therefore EVERY form of pollution associated with it. And most of all, keep the potential solutions affordable for a large percentage of California's citizens; the $100,000 Tesla Roadster is not the solution for the masses.

Yours Truly,
Dr Mark
***************
Now From PluginAmerica.com
***************
Dear Mark,

We want zero emission electric cars on the road, and we want them NOW! Help PIA inspire Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and CARB Chair Mary Nichols to do the right thing by clicking here.

And get ready for a rousing Rally and Press Conference near the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Headquarters at the corner of I and 10th Streets in Sacramento on March 26th.

Now is your chance to join the action before CARB votes on a proposal that could keep zero emission electric cars out of consumers' hands for decades. Raise your voice at the March 26 rally alongside Plug in America, Tesla Motors, former CIA Director James Woolsey, Rainforest Action Network and others.

Please join us at 10:30 a.m. and bring your friends. No RSVP required. Tell both the Governor and Chair Nichols to support production of electric vehicles - the automotive technology that could work NOW to help clean our air and cut CO2 emissions. Click here and don't forget to forward this message far and wide to family, friends, interest groups and social networks like MySpace. If you can think of a way to spread the word, do it!

As gasoline prices lurch toward $4.00 per gallon, let's all work together to hasten the day when we can dump the pump and start driving clean, efficient electric cars.

Hope to see you in Sacramento on the 26th!

Chelsea Sexton
Plug in America

Again, Click here to send a message to Governor Schwarzenegger.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-558-3160

Click here to send a message to CARB Chair Mary Nichols.
http://www.arb.ca.gov/lispub/comm/bcsubform.php?listname=zev2008&comm_period=A

Please check our website often for campaign updates and send this Action Gram to everyone you know!
( see www.pluginamerica.com, and click Message to Gov Schwarzenegger to get the PIA "suggested text" )
 

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CARB should conform to the new federal CAFE standards, so that all automakers have a single target to achieve, and give consumers the best price for their more fuel efficient cars.
CARB and CAFE are two different things. CARB is about pollution or emissions standards for California effecting all kinds of industries and CAFE is federal corporate average fuel economy standards for car companies. Not at all the same thing, so they can't be a single target.
 

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CARB and CAFE are two different things. CARB is about pollution or emissions standards for California effecting all kinds of industries and CAFE is federal corporate average fuel economy standards for car companies. Not at all the same thing, so they can't be a single target.
I understand that CARB is the California Air Resources Board. I also understand that they are trying to impose tougher standards on automobiles than the recently approved CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy - read up if you like.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAFE

When it comes to air quality standards, as they relate to automobiles, CARB should mirror the new federal CAFE standard, so that all automakers are shooting at a single target for North America. If CARB fragments the market, then automakers will not be able to make the least expensive vehicle for the market, and consumers will NOT buy them - they will simply refurbish their existing vehicles.
 

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C.a.r.b.

"Is it better for the state of California if by 2015 :
1. 20% of the cars have reduced their fuel consumption by 50% or
2. 1% of the cars have reduced fuel consumption by 100%?

Answer: Option 1 is TEN TIMES BETTER !

So keep the formulas simple and keep focused on reducing fuel consumption and therefore EVERY form of pollution associated with it. And most of all, keep the potential solutions affordable for a large percentage of California's citizens; the $100,000 Tesla Roadster is not the solution for the masses.


Dr Mark, I agree with you. CARB should set standards and let business decide how to get there.

Incidently Tesla has a interesting white paper on batteries they submitted to CARB
http://www.teslamotors.com/display_data/Tesla_rebuttal_ZEV_expert_panel.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #6
CARB Meeting Wrapup

Pluginamerica.org has some reviews but it's mainly about their activites. Here is a better recap of what the CARB actually mandated:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-zev28mar28,0,5008191.story

As far as giving auto makers incentives to build something like the Volt, this looks pretty good. If GM had any influence to get it slanted that way, then good work guys! I really didn't want them to have to build All-Electric cars again. It's just a waste of energy to haul around a 200 mile battery pack when you almost never use it.

Dr Mark
 

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Based on how consumers have behaved before and how they are behaving now I have come to the conclusion that the only way to effectively control what people buy is through their pocket book. The standards will always be too watered down in order for them to get passed at a nation level.

Just look around the world and see how even our newest standards are a joke compared to other industrial nations. China, Europe, Japan, etc. already could pass what we just passed. Pathetic. Why? Because their fuel is taxed to the point that people feel the cost more and make purchasing decisions based on that. They take trains more, buy smaller cars, plan vacations and entertainment in different ways, live in cities and closer to the city so they can cut down on travel etc. Giving us cheap oil, in retrospect, did not bring us to a point where we are in the best competitive position. We are now caught between a rock and a hard place.

The funny thing is, we don't have to worry about setting CAFE anymore. More people are buying small cars than ever and as long as oil is priced as we have seen we will reduce energy demand all buy ourselves. Not really, we humans just follow the energy curve.

If the government wants to do us all a favor they will insure that non-renewable forms of energy are priced in a way that force us towards renewable technologies. It's that simple. I believe we are on an energy curve that will match or even rival that of the 1980's. You have all probably seen that huge dive in energy usage the US took when our oil was taken away by our OPEC buddies. Well, expect that to happen and probably more. The only difference is that I feel all the other growing economies of the world will take up what we release to the market and the price of oil will not drop as much as many economists are predicting.

I heard one scary trend the other day that the populations of major oil exporting countries are growing faster than ever and that the amount of oil available for export is decreasing at a rapid rate. I'm talking Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. This has been going on for a while but the difference is that OPEC countries are not increasing oil production as the same rate anymore. They say that Iran may need to get nuclear technology up and running (remember, it takes 10 years to get a reactor up and running) just to keep up with the energy demands of their population. Imagine that! If they don't, they will not have any oil to export and thus have no way to generate cash for foreign trade. Wow!)

As much as the current oil situation hurts you have to admit that it's causing people to act. It's much easier to rip off the band-aid when your arm is itching and feeling pain already. Getting approval for green energy projects just got a whole lot easier. From, "Well, I don't know... Maybe we should study the bat-death situation for 5 years before we make a decision." to "Holy #$%&! Let's get those wind turbines up as fast as we can!" The high price of oil and more importantly the instability of its pricing will make it very easy to sign off on renewable projects. From massive R&D to real-world projects.

Thus, I don't even worry about CAFE standards. Not only are they watered down and ineffective, people will just go out and buy what they can afford. I recommend getting a better handle on what the true cost of oil is (putting in everything from the health effects, environmental effects, economic instability and risk effects, Military costs, etc.) from an independent panel and NEVER let that price get below that point (adjusting for inflation). So even if the price of oil goes way down in the next few years because world demand drops more than the depletion of supply we will keep on the path to energy independence and sustainability. If we can keep working harder and smarter than our competition we should be better off in the long run. Sorry, I know I'm stating the obvious. Just ranting.
 

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The funny thing is, we don't have to worry about setting CAFE anymore. More people are buying small cars than ever and as long as oil is priced as we have seen we will reduce energy demand all buy ourselves.
You're overlooking the Fickle Factor. When oil was costly in the late 70's, people bought small cars. By the mid 80's they were 'buying big' again. Then mid-sized, as the Gulf War in Kuwait lead to fears of escalating fuel costs... followed by an era of lone commuters buying pickups, SUVs, and Hummers.

CARB is a good idea for pan-industry wide regulation of emissions based on California's concern about its air quality. Homogenizing with CAFE would mean it would have to water down its targets to accommodate mobile emissions only, meaning fixed emissions sources (power plants, factories, etc.) could get an undeserved break.

Because California is such a large market for cars and trucks, auto manufacturers have an incentive to meet the higher CARB targets - even in the 80's there were California-specific models with emissions controls that didn't exist on some of the cars sold in other parts of the country.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Chelsea and had many a phone conversation with her as well. She's extremely bright, resourceful, and informed and someone who has spent almost her entire adult life involved in low emissions vehicles, first as an EV-1 rep, then in her current role at PIA. This background not only adds weight to her concerns but also explains her hesitance to take CARB at their word since she's witnessed some of their back-pedaling before.
 
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