Only the seven largest automobile sellers in California are required to produce these vehicles, at a penalty of $5000 per vehicle that isn't produced. They are allowed to purchase ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) credits from companies unaffected by the regulations, such as ZENN the electric vehicle manufacturer in Quebec, or other companies that buy Gliders (new cars without combustion engines and transmissions) or smaller automakers. The reason being that they face subsidy of up to $4999 for the credit that they could sell.
Unfortunately this is costing a lot of money to failing US car manufacturers, and is making California a much more profitable place to sell these vehicles. On the other hand, electricity rates are roughly 50% lower in BC, Quebec, and Manitoba compared to California (BC Hydro) ($.06-$.07 per KWH vs. $.143 per KWH (Energy Information Administration)). These three provinces have the lowest electricity costs in the continent, a competitive advantage for Canada having electric cars over California.
Based on a few assumptions we can pretty accurately compare the running costs of battery, hydrogen, and gasoline powered vehicles. These assumptions are independent of maintenance costs. For some people, the calculations may seem cumbersome; they can't be in miles per gallon, only dollars per mile. All of the numbers necessary for this calculation are readily available online. Assuming gasoline is $1 per liter (~$3.78 per Gal), electricity costs $.07 per KWH, and a hypothetical individual drives 40 miles a day in the city, 5 days a week, 52 weeks per year, running costs would be ….
ZENN (neighborhood vehicle) – $87
Chevy Volt (plug in hybrid)- $291
Honda FCX Clarity (hydrogen fuel cell) – $411 to $457**
Toyota Prius – $665
Honda Civic – $1364
Ford F1-50 2×4 – $2484
** based on hydrogen electrolysis price estimates
This information changes daily as the price of gasoline fluctuates, and geographically with the price of electricity. But in some places, nighttime energy costs can be even lower. Canada, with its electricity costs seems like a perfect place for these cars to be sold. Unfortunately the Californian regulations give price incentives to the manufacturer to sell the cars in that market, where those incentives do not exist elsewhere.
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