Honda's EV Pull-Out to be Examined by CARB?
From Calstart 04/29/1999
Sacramento, Calif. - After Honda Motor Corp. quietly quit building its 'EV Plus' battery-electric car to begin producing hybrid-electric 'V V' cars (News Notes 4/26/99*), a California Air Resources Board (CARB) official said the action could be a violation of Honda's compromise zero-emission-vehicle agreement, reports the Los Angeles Times. Tom Cackette, CARB's chief deputy director, said, 'We're highly disappointed in Honda. We are concerned that this violates their agreement with the board to continue to produce battery-electric vehicles if customer demand warrants it' - and said the board will investigate. Honda officials, in return, said they complied with 'both the letter and spirit of the agreement.' While Honda claims it was unsuccessful in developing demand for its EV Plus, some critics say the car was never seriously marketed, supplies to dealers were limited and harsh leasing requirements were imposed to restrict sales. Meanwhile, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, DaimlerChrysler and Nissan say they will continue developing battery-electric EVs while pursuing other technologies such as hybrids and fuel-cell hybrids.
          *04/26/1999 - Honda Drops 'EV Plus' to Start Building Hybrid EVs
Torrance, Calif. - Honda Motor Co. announced today it is ceasing production of its 'EV Plus' electric car and will begin building its hybrid-electric 'V V' passenger car that goes on sale in the U.S. later this year. Honda said it had already built and will deliver 300 EV Plus cars within the next few weeks - the number it agreed to in a compromise agreement with the California Air Resources Board when it postponed its 1998 zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) requirements to 2003. Following the 1996 agreement, CARB further relaxed its rules to grant ZEV credits for other types of electric vehicles, including hybrids (News Notes 7/7/98). Honda's 'V V' hybrid, expected to be the first hybrid-electric car offered in the U.S., reportedly incorporates second-generation electric drivetrain and battery-management technology developed with information gleaned from Honda's EV Plus test program. Of the 300 EV Plus vehicles, about half went to private individuals, the others to fleet and utility customers.