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FW: **Don't Unplug The Electric Car **

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  • Paul Scott
    Great read! Paul SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE **Don t Unplug The Electric Car ** By Bev Sanders More than 10 years ago, the California Air Resources Board took the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 7, 2003
      Great read!

      Paul

      SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
      **Don't Unplug The Electric Car **
      By Bev Sanders
      More than 10 years ago, the California Air Resources Board took the
      courageous action of demanding that automakers produce cars that
      did not pollute California's air. No other state could make such a demand.
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/04/06
      /ED284881.DTL


      Don't unplug the electric car

      Bev Sanders Sunday, April 6, 2003

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      More than 10 years ago, the California Air Resources Board took the
      courageous action of demanding that automakers produce cars that did not
      pollute California's air. No other state could make such a demand.

      Actually, very few countries have the bargaining power of California when it
      comes to negotiating with General Motors et al. California, one of the
      largest car markets in the world, told the world's largest carmakers that if
      they wanted to sell their cars in this state, they better get on the trail
      to pollution elimination. Thus the "zero-emissions mandate" was born,
      requiring automakers to develop and mass-market electric vehicles.

      As a resident of a Bay Area refinery town, I was inspired to lease a GM EV-
      1 electric car and become one of the first test drivers in California. As my
      neighborhood's Jane Jetson, I found myself behind the wheel of the most
      progressive transportation experiment since the horseless carriage. With a
      top speed of 180 mph and 0-60 mph acceleration of less than eight seconds,
      this marvel has far exceeded my expectations.

      My EV-1 stores its power in a battery that can be recharged over and over,
      not a gas tank. It draws its energy late at night when the power companies
      have a surplus, or it can be successfully powered up with solar panels
      during the day. It's been using about $8 a month for electricity while I
      enjoy the convenience of having a full tank every morning. A quick plug-in
      when I get home enables me to zip the 100-mile round trip to San Francisco
      easily without a charge. And no more oil changes, smog checks or stops at
      the gas station -- ever.

      Although I love this car, come May 25 it will be taken away, at the end of
      its nonrenewable lease. The mandate responsible for this car's existence is
      in danger of expiring, too, spurred on by automakers and oil companies. Why?
      The carmakers claim that people don't want electric cars.

      The "people don't want electric cars" myth -- perpetuated by the barrage of
      prime-time gasoline-powered car ads -- results from the resistance of an
      auto industry fearful of anything challenging the paradigm or distracted by
      technologies like fuel cells.

      "Drivers didn't want electric cars" because they never knew there were
      electric cars. Instead, they've been sold the concept of hybrids and fuel
      cells. The electric car I drive offsets our increasing energy consumption by
      offering a clean, efficient vehicle today. Hybrid cars, no matter how
      efficient, still depend on oil imports and still pollute far more than my
      car, but don't perform nearly as well. Fuel cells mean more dependence on
      the same fossil fuels we're trying to free ourselves from.

      It's hard to gage whether the California Air Resources Board had a vision of
      what the world would look like today. Could it have known that just 13 years
      later we'd be straining the relationships with our international friends and
      attacking oil-rich nations to keep the pumps pumping? That the petroleum age
      was going to have a prolonged and bloody ending? How successful their
      industry-prodding would be, to the point of causing the auto and oil
      industries to spend more money covering up their electric car success than
      promoting it?

      Waves of people could be driving zero-emission vehicles in a matter of a few
      years. Is that what the car companies and oil industry are afraid of? The
      rare visionaries at CARB knew that we had to get off oil and knew that with
      moderate and reasonable prodding, the engineers and suppliers could meet the
      challenge, despite the shortsighted goals of their auto/oil executives. They
      were right. And they were right at the right time. If our world could ever
      use a monumental shift from a precarious, dirty business to a clean and
      efficient future, it's now.

      The electric car was an experiment. It's not any more. It's proof. It's
      testimony to our resolve and innovation. It's hope for our future. It's the
      little spark. I thank the previous members of CARB who championed the
      mandate that revolutionized the way I travel. They offered me freedoms far
      beyond the rhetoric of the politicians. Their small action truly made a
      difference.



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      Express yourself
      Contact the California Air Resources Board to weigh in on the zero-
      emissions mandate and electric cars:

      -- Phone: (916) 322-5594

      Fax: (916) 322-3928

      Mail: Clerk of the board, CARB

      P.O. Box 2815

      Sacramento, CA 95812

      Web site: www.arb.ca.gov

      Bev Sanders is a Benicia businesswoman.
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