The EV and FCV Markets are Being Led by CARB
Battery electric vehicles (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCV) are types of vehicles that feel like a passing fad to many of us who drive on a daily basis. Currently it takes many hours to recharge even the most efficient BEV and FCV models can only be refueled at some hydrogen refueling stations, for which there’s no real infrastructure right now. While this may seem like a hopeless venture when considering the number of gas stations around the country and the range offered by simply filling up on gas one organization has put its foot down to ensure the success of BEV and FCV models.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is the only entity that supersedes the EPA when it comes to emissions standards. This may seem backwards, but CARB was in place originally and has helped to clean up air in many states, making it stricter and recognized as the organization to lead the way. CARB has created regulations in California that many other states have followed, which requires automakers to sell a specific percentage of Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) or face penalties in the form of a $5,000 fine per vehicle that wasn’t sold to meet the requirements.
Interestingly no automaker has had to pay fines yet, but CARB is changing the requirement to make stricter policies and higher percentage needs by 2018 to increase the numbers and continue to build upon what they already have worked toward. This is all part of the goal that the state has created to have nothing but ZEVs on the roads in California by 2050. CARB feels they need to be aggressive to reach this goal and have the air cleaned up while offering vehicles that can still perform in some way that we need.
Currently there are only a few automakers that make FCVs, but more are coming in the near future. One issue with these models is a lack of refueling stations with only twenty public stations in the Southern California area, but this may be the technology that leads the way over BEV until battery technology is much better. Refueling an FCV is comparable to refueling a gasoline powered vehicle with similar looking pumps and a comparable time for the task. This convenience and familiarity certainly could play to the success of FCV models if the infrastructure were to be put in place.
Of course there are some companies, with more coming, that only sell BEV models. Tesla only sells BEVs and the newcomer, Faraday Futures will do the same although we don’t know when Faraday will make it to market. Which type of ZEV will be used more in the future? The answer to this does depend upon the infrastructure and whether or not FCVs will be able to be supported more widely. Until we have an answer to this, it may be interesting to learn more about how strict CARB is being on automakers to ensure their numbers increase regarding ZEVs.