Each two years, a review was held by CARB of the ZEV mandate, and auto makers' progress toward their ZEV targets. Instead of progress, auto and oil industry groups testified that the goal was unreachable, impossible, and that no one wanted an Electric car like the EV1.
In 1994, they engaged a public relations firm run by Joe Cerrell to fight the ZEV mandate. A letter writing campaign, bused-in retirees, focus groups, and other tricks were used to try to derail the ZEV mandate.
After years of acrimony, CARB and the AMA reached, in 1996, a Memorandum of Agreement ("MOA") which seemed to be an amicable solution. Unfortunately, this MOA was kept secret from the public, which was unable to review it. CARB is still allowing the AAM to scam the public by keeping exact ZEV numbers and status secret, to this day.
As events proved, the AAM had a couple of nasty surprises in store for CARB. First, one ploy to weaken the Mandate was the idea of trading off pure ZEV production for hybrids, and giving "PZEV" (partial ZEV credit) for better gas mileage. This led to an injunction since it infringes on the federal government's sole power to regulate MPG and CAFE standards. In the aftermath, auto makers used the hiatus to dismantle their battery ZEV programs and crush the EVs. Thus, CARB should have resisted AAM pressures, and stuck to requiring ZEV production. Their conciliation proved a weakness. The second shock was revealed at the CARB 2000 ZEV review: the MOA, contrary to the ideas of CARB, did not commit the AAM to a "good faith effort" to build a market. Rather, it only committed them to put out a certain number of ZEV cars for a certain number of years. The fate of the ZEV was not spelled out in the MOA:
CARB staff thought the ZEV program would expand, and ZEV numbers on the road would increase; while
AAM intended, and the MOA text permitted, the ZEV to be taken back and crushed after the demonstration period ended.
This is why GM, Honda, Ford, Nissan and, for a while, Toyota were able to keep control of the ZEV and not sell to the public (their worst nightmare!) and were able to get away with never offering their ZEV for sale. It was only Toyota, from Mar. to Nov. 2002, which offered the last 328 Toyota RAV4-EV for sale to the general public.
GM VOLT: a plug-in, but not an EV.
Engine comes on to turn wheels, like a Prius. Nissan Leaf: A real EV, uses no oil or gas while running.
No tailpipe! Can be fueled by your rooftop solar system, a rooftop system of only 6 to 12 square yards, 1.3 kw (cost: $8000 before rebate or tax credit) is enough to drive 1000 miles per month.
Battery pack is located above the center of gravity, and between the seats: meaning only a 4-seater, and with a less than stable feeling on turns. Battery is located on the undercarriage, like the Toyota RAV4-EV, giving it stability and making it a 5-seater with more room in the cabin.
Drives and feels like an oil-fired car, not an EV Feels and drives like a real EV, peppy and smooth around corners
Battery is too large (16 kWh) for the amount you are allowed to use (8 kWh) because it's designed like a Prius, putting the gas engine prior to the electric drive, so you can only use half the battery. Designed like a real EV, 24 kWh which are 80% accessible. This lowers the wear-and-tear on the battery and gives more range.
3900 lbs, much too heavy (heavier than the larger Toyota RAV4-EV) because it has the wrong battery and the wrong design. 3500 lbs., with a 660 lb. battery pack. Still the wrong battery, since it only has a lifespan of 5 to 10 years and 80,000 to 100,000 miles.
Nickel is cheaper and longer-lasting, and less heavy in practice. A 30 kWh NiMH pack weighs 1000 lbs., the 20 kWh you can access in the LEAF weighs about the same per kWh (30 lbs. per kWh) but costs more and doesn't last as long.
The wrong battery. ironically, the 400 lbs. of Lithium in the VOLT yield only 8 kWh (40 lbs. per kWh) while 400 lbs. of Nickel batteries would yield 12 kWh (33 lbs. per kWh) Nissan plans to recycle used batteries into new batteries, enabling lower cost and eliminating the need for new mining of the metals in the battery.
Supposedly a car for all missions: but if you drive it long-distance, you will pay 35 to 50 cents per mile in over-mileage charges, meaning it's too expensive for long-distance. Those wanting to travel long-distance should analyze WHY: if it's to save money, take a TRAIN. If it's to see the USA, take an RV. The idea of driving cars or trucks long-distance on cheap subsidized oil is PAST HISTORY.