GM Sues Over the California ARB Electric Vehicle Mandate

February 25, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

General Motors Corp. (GM, Detroit, MI) and three of its California dealers have filed suit in the California Superior Court seeking review of the state's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate. GM filed the action in Contra Costa County after being informed that the California Air Resources Board (ARB) had denied GM's petition for a hearing, contending that the ARB has violated California laws by overlooking the effects of the regulation and declining to consider better alternatives. GM says that the pollution reductions generated by the ZEV requirements will be about 150 times more expensive than any other ARB rule.

“While a lawsuit is not the means by which we would prefer to resolve the serious issues posed by the mandate, CARB's denial of our petition for a hearing left us no other venue to resolve our concerns," stated Dennis R. Minano, vice president of GM's environment and energy division. “There's no problem with technically being able to meet California's clean air goals," he added. “This is not about whether we will meet the goals, but how we should meet them."

ARB spokesman Jerry Martin commented that GM's “plan was to sue us all along. They never intended to try to meet the requirements of the rule or discuss with us any options that were viable." Martin said other automakers, such as Ford Motor Co., have indicated willingness to comply. The mandate requires automakers to sell about 5,000 ZEVs per year beginning in 2003. Friday, January 23, 2001, was the last day revisions to the mandate could be legally contested.