Calif.'s leadership is bold, vital
To the Editor:
California's zero-emission vehicle program is already showing signs of success.
The policy has helped make California the leading U.S. market for hybrid and electric vehicles. And the state's leadership on electric cars -- including plug-in hybrids -- goes well beyond establishing minimum targets for automakers to produce vehicles with little to no tailpipe emissions ("ZEV 'straitjacket'? Automakers are quietly wary of California's emissions mandate," Jan. 7).
California also has been investing in charging infrastructure for electric cars, providing rebates to consumers in addition to federal tax credits and offering access to carpool lanes -- all helping to propel the adoption of electric cars by California consumers.
The long-term success of electric cars will require serious investment and commitment from automakers, government and consumers. The benefit is a vehicle technology that can cut global warming emissions dramatically, help us cut our projected oil use in half in 20 years and establish the United States as a global leader in clean transportation technology.
The early introduction of hybrid technology, which helped automakers such as Toyota meet California standards, also was met with skepticism. Today, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. says, hybrid vehicles account for about 15 percent of its U.S. sales.
As noted in your story, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, U.S. sales of plug-in hybrids and EVs nearly tripled in the first 11 months of 2012 compared with the same period of 2011.
And, according to our own analysis, in their second model year, U.S. sales of plug-ins are outperforming the sales of hybrids during their own second model year, back in 2001.
The evolution of electric cars will be a marathon, not a sprint. But thanks in part to California's bold leadership, the race is off to a strong start.