Global environmental challenges
MINI leases not good enough for some electric car champions
An electric car advocacy group on Tuesday criticized California’s influential air quality regulator, the California Air Resources Board, for allowing BMW’s one-year pilot program of electric Mini Coopers to earn the same credit towards the state’s clean vehicle program as standard production cars.
California is requiring that automakers, collectively, put 7,500 zero-emissions vehicles, or ZEVs, on its roads.
But Plug In America on Tuesday said there is a “gaping loophole” in the program that “could deal a blow to the proliferation of plug-in vehicles.”
Specifically, the group targeted BMW’s leasing program of 500 electric Mini Coopers, which it calls MINI Es.
“CARB is allowing BMW to game the system by accruing the maximum number of ZEV credits with the least amount of effort,” Plug In America legislative director Jay Friedland said in a statement. “In order to receive full credit, these vehicles must be offered for sale.”
CARB plans to revisit the regulation next year and will be looking at ways to accelerate the commercialization of electric vehicles, according to spokesman Dimitri Stanich.
In the meantime, “we’ve urged BMW to consider extending that one-year lease,” Stanich said.
BMW officials were not available for comment.