Most electrics are just Compliance Cars
A host of electric cars are slated to release soon. These cars are the subject of regular headlines on automotive websites and in the press and are often the focus of manufacturer-organized events and presentations, but most are not really meant for mass production. Most exist only to make California regulators happy so the manufacturer in question can continue to sell cars in that state.
Before you begin sending me hate mail about being an EV hater or a Big Oil crony, realize that regulations play a very big part (for good or ill) in how carmakers run their production and public relations.
Before we get to naming names on which of the current and upcoming EVs are just compliance cars, let's define what that is and why it's come to being.
Last month, I explained what a PZEV is and mentioned California's Zero Emissions Vehicle law. The California Air Resources Board, an organization with a seemingly limitless budget, has mandated that auto makers larger than a certain size be required to sell a specific portion of their volume as zero-emission vehicles. Currently, the only sure way to do that is to make a battery electric or fuel cell electric vehicle. For now, the cheapest of those two options are batteries, but they have significant market disadvantages and a relatively low acceptance rate amongst the populace. The CARB rules do not allow plug-in hybrids or range-extended electrics to qualify as ZEVs.