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California Drops Electric Cars From Latest Zero Emissions Proposal

March 6, 2003

California is seeking to compromise with car makers by dropping a requirement that they sell electric cars, the state's latest attempt to persuade carmakers to end their opposition to the program, Bloomberg News reported.According to the news agency, citing spokesman Dimitri Stanich, the California Air Resources Board outlined proposed changes to the zero-emission vehicle program that would let companies sell more gasoline-electric hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell cars instead of battery-powered cars starting with 2005 models.Bloomberg News noted that, last year, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, joined by the Justice Department, won a federal injunction temporarily blocking the board from enforcing the program which requires that 10 percent of cars sold in the state by the six biggest car makers emit almost no pollution. A district court in San Francisco is expected to rule on the suit this month."We're encouraged that with these proposed revisions CARB is working toward improving California's air quality while allowing manufacturers to use different technologies to meet the state's goals," Chrysler spokeswoman Kathy Graham, said, according to Bloomberg News.Bloomberg said the companies would be expected to sell 250 zero-emission vehicles by 2008 that could be powered either by batteries or fuel cells. Bloomberg News said the board will seek approval of the revisions at a meeting in Sacramento later this month. In January the agency proposed easing the mandate by delaying its start until 2005 from 2003, halving the required number of battery or fuel-cell vehicles, and encouraging companies to comply by selling more hybrids.
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