ARB Certifies First Detroit Produced Electric Vehicle
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today certified for mass production the first electric vehicle produced by a major manufacturer to meet its 1998 Zero Emission Vehicle rule.
Chrysler Corporation's Dodge Caravan, certified for sale as a 1994 model, is powered by 30, six-volt batteries, either nickel-iron or nickel-cadmium, both of which have life expectancies of 100,000 miles and an operating range of up to 80 miles between charges.
The 5900 pound, five passenger can also has an added load capacity for 75 pounds of cargo and is equipped with air conditioning and heating systems, in addition to a regenerative braking system, which helps recharge the batteries when the brakes are engaged. The Caravan has a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour and accelerates from 0-50 miles per hour in 27 seconds.
James D. Boyd, Air Resources Board executive officer said, "While the Caravan has some drawbacks, it still represents a significant step toward the realization of the ARB's vision of reducing California's air pollution problems with pollution-free electric vehicles.
"The executive order for this vehicle was especially pleasurable to sign," he added, referring to the documentation of the Board's decision, "because the date on this order is four years ahead of the schedule the ARB called for when we adopted the standard in 1990, when many people were saying that an electric vehicle couldn't be built even in eight years."
In 1990, the ARB adopted the world's only zero emission standard for new cars as part of its Low Emission Vehicle program, which will reduce emissions of all other cars by 50 to 85 percent by 1998.
The ARB expects that as many as 40,000 new electric vehicles will be sold in 1998, when two percent of each major manufacturer's California production is required to be zero-polluting. That percentage rises to five percent of all new cars sold in the state in 2000 and ten percent by 2003.
California, with the worst air quality in the nation, is the only state with its own emission standards for new model cars, which typically require the world's lowest polluting models. The ARB has estimated that, throughout a 100,000 mile road life, an electric car is 200 times less polluting than the cleanest models running on any other fuel, when power plant emissions are considered. As a result, even a small number of electric cars contribute more to clean air than the small number of them would suggest.
While the Caravan represents the first Detroit-produced electric vehicle to be approved in California, the ARB has certified one other ground-up electric design; the Kewet El-jet commute car, and has also approved aftermarket electric conversion from nine different manufacturers.