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Injunction Holds Up ZEV Program

June 18, 2002

A federal judge has temporarily blocked California from moving ahead with plans to introduce zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). While the U.S. district court decision leaves intact the state’s zero emissions vehicle mandate, it sets aside key amendments that air quality officials approved last year.Those amendments granted the auto industry wide flexibility in choosing what types of cars to build. The amendments favored hybrid vehicles, fuel-cell engines, and super-clean gasoline models over battery-electric cars.However, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors sued California to overturn the amendments along with the entire ZEV program, saying that the Air Resources Board overstepped its authority in approving revisions to the 12-year-old program. In a ruling announced on June 14, 2002, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Coyle issued a temporary injunction until the lawsuit is decided, which could take many months.According to Michael P. Kenny, executive officer of the Air Resources Board, “This does not throw out the ZEV mandate, but we can no longer provide the same level of options and flexibility.”
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