The Electric Car Grows Up

Ed Wallace:

Twenty-two years ago the California Air Resource Board decided to enact a new mandate that would have required that a large percentage of any vehicles auto manufacturers sold in the Golden State have zero emissions at the tailpipe – and CARB officials were adamant that this would be accomplished in less than a decade. Every major manufacturer understood this to be a demand that they sell mostly electric cars out west. Only Honda took it to mean that, if its emissions could be reduced to nothing, a gasoline-powered car could be sold in California. Of course, just to hedge its bet, Honda delivered the EV-Plus electric car in order to meet the new rules.

The mandate in and of itself was something close to insanity. But it was also the start of the modern era of electric, series hybrid-electric and partial zero-emissions vehicles.