Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Is CARB Putting the Brakes on Hybrid Coversions?

At its meeting this week CARB is expected to adopt new regulations that could make it tough to do business for a lot companies that specialize in converting traditional hybrid vehicles to plug-in-hybrid vehicles. At issue are emissions relating to cold-start and gasoline evaporation, and CARB wants more tests before it blesses the retrofits which typically cost between $7,000-$10,000.

According to hybridcars.com:

"Air resources board engineers are recommending that plug-in hybrids undergo extensive cold-start emissions and gasoline-evaporation testing. According to agency documents, the tests could cost between $20,000 and $125,000 depending on the number of vehicles that CARB requests be tested by each company. The board's staff also wants to require the new companies to provide consumers with warranties for the changes they make to hybrids for up to ten years or 150,000 miles—despite the willingness of consumers to pay for conversions without the warranty."

The post notes further:

"As currently constructed, hybrids rely on the gasoline engine running for emissions-reducing components, such as the catalytic converter, to fully clean up the tailpipe emissions and burn off vapors from unused gasoline in the tank."

Hybrid Conversions [hybridcars.com]