You would think that after the “Who Killed the Electric Car” debacle that the California Air Resources Board (CARB), one of the key conspirators, would want to reverse their image and do what is really in the public’s best interest. But, cutting tailpipe emissions on cars, may just be a smokescreen according to the East Bay Express.
Next week CARB is set to impose some heavy handed regulations in regard to plug-in hybrid vehicles that may put some of the small startup companies out of business. One such company is 3Prong Power that creates aftermarket plug-in hybrid systems for Toyota Prius vehicles.
The system integrates a bank of batteries in the trunk of the Prius with the rest of the vehicle allowing it to run on all electric power until the vehicle hits 34 mph when the gasoline engine kicks in. The plug-in capabilities of the vehicle also allow the Prius to get between 100 mpg and 150 mpg.
CARB is concerned about two issues, one related to air quality and the other related to consumer satisfaction. The air quality issue involves cold starts for the converted plug-in cars. The small startup plug-in hybrid aftermarket manufacturers already have a workaround for this problem, but not the $125,000 in testing that CARB may require.
The second issue involves the warranty on the batteries put into these vehicles. Note these batteries are in addition to the Prius batteries that are already installed and under warranty. Also note that this has nothing to do with air quality as it is a consumer satisfaction issue.
If CARB passes these mandates there will be little that the small startup companies can do except shut their doors. And, then we’ll all have to wait until 2010, when GM and Toyota bring their official plug-ins to marketplace without competition from the smaller companies.