1-Year Electric Mini Lease Exploits CARB Loophole, Says Plug In America

bmw mini-e electric car photo

Photo: Michael Graham Richard
This Loophole Seriously Reduces Incentives for Production Electric Cars
Plug In America (we recently wrote about their EV & plug in hybrid tracker) is asking the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to modify its regulations concerning zero emission vehicles in California. The problem is that their requirement that automakers put 7,500 ZEVs on the roads of California doesn't specify a minimum timeframe for compliance. This means that BMW is getting the same credit for converting 500 MINIs into EVs and leasing them (for $850/month!) for a year as another automaker would get for actually selling production electric cars. This could also lead to a repeat of the EV1 story... And we know how that ended.
bmw mini-e electric car photo

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

Indeed, if the cars are only leased, BMW can take them back and do whatever it pleases with them. I'm not saying they would necessarily do what GM did with the EV1 and just crush them, but it's certainly not the same as people owning them.

There's also been a pretty big SNAFU that has kept people from actually using the electric MINIs fully. Plug In America writes:

BMW's poor planning has caused a host of problems. The first Mini Es were delivered in late May, some six months after BMW's stated delivery date. This delay caused a large percentage of people to drop out of the program. Furthermore, BMW did not have enough proper charging cables manufactured, leaving up to 300 lessees with a minimum 23-hour recharging time. As a result, many drivers are not able to use the vehicle daily.

Meanwhile, in order to meet today's (6/30) deadline for maximum CARB credit, BMW has been dumping dozens of cars into municipal fleets to be leased for only $10 a month, most recently pulling some of those vehicles from retail consumers who had been willing to pay full price and complied with the nearly 8-month process required to get one of the cars.

Electric Car Incentives
I don't know about you, but this doesn't feel to me like it should deserve the same credit as a company who created a production electric car (not just a conversion -- Nissan, for example, is working on dedicated electric cars) and sold it, or at least leased it for longer periods. That's what's going to make a difference and get the ball rolling.

As long as this loophole isn't closed, the incentive is for all automakers to do what BMW is doing. They'll get the same amount of credit as they would if they went through the much bigger effort of creating a commercially viable electric car.

Let Your Voice Be Heard!
I support Plug In America's effort to get CARB to close this loophole, and if you do too, you can take action here to tell CARB what you think.

Via Plug In America
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