2013 Chevy Volt Front Three Quarter

In January, legislation requiring automakers to sell 1.4 million plug-in hybrid, all-electric, and fuel cell vehicles by 2025 passed in California. Now, automakers are voicing their concerns with a petition urging the EPA to revise the requirements, according to Automotive News.

A petition was filed Monday by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, the two largest automaker lobbying organizations. Though the groups support the 2025 CAFE standard of 54.5 mpg, the petition states the industry will fight California over the recent zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate, which would start taking effect in 2018.

Nine other states are expected to follow California’s example, which means automakers would need to sell roughly 600,000 of the total 1.4 million ZEVs nationwide by the time 2025 rolls around. The groups aren’t saying they can’t build that many vehicles, but rather they don’t believe customers will buy them.

According to the petition, the automaker groups believe there’s no way of predicting whether future infrastructure development, oil prices, and other factors will be able to persuade customers to buy electric vehicles and plug-ins in the numbers the plan calls for. “Current data and trends suggest it is highly unlikely that the industry will be able to meet that mandate,” the groups state in the petition.

The petition uses a humorous, but perhaps point-proving, hypothetical example: “If California were to require one-half of an auto manufacturer’s sales in the state consist of two-door subcompact hatchbacks with four-speed manual transmissions by 2018…that standard would not be feasible because the motoring public will not purchase that many vehicles with those characteristics.”

What do you think? Should the EPA rethink its zero-emission mandate for California?

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

By Alex Nishimoto