Last week I talked about how California regulators (mainly CARB) may decide to kill the aftermarket for plug-in vehicles this week. In 2010, if this deadline holds up both GM and Toyota will rollout their first commercial plug-in hybrid vehicles. GM will rollout the Chevy Volt and Toyota a plug-in Prius.
But, where does this leave those who want to convert their plug-ins now? For instance, say you already have a Prius getting around 50 mpg but would like to upgrade right now to a plug-in Prius at get over 100 mpg. This may not be possible if the CARB agenda is carried out.
I’ve talked in the past about the Prius conversion kit from A123 Systems called the HyMotion. This system comes with a 3-year warranty, far less than the 10-year warranty that CARB is seeking. Then there are Prius plug-in hybrid systems like those from Jungle Motors that come with a 1-year warranty that also has no chance of passing CARBs consumer protection rules.
But, CARB does not stand for consumer protection. It stands for California Air Resources Board. The idea behind this government agency is protecting the air quality of the state’s residents. Why they have decided to mettle in the free market now is anyone’s guess.
If a number of small California businesses have to go under because they have been regulated out of business, the consumer still does have some options. One option is to wait until the large automakers come out with their vehicles. Another is the do-it-yourself approach supported by CalCars.org. And, yet another approach is to go all-electric and build your own.