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GM Seen to Drop Suits on Zero-Emission-Vehicle Mandate

August 12, 2003|Peter Pae | Times Staff Writer

General Motors Corp. is expected to announce today that it is dropping state and federal lawsuits it filed against California to block the state's zero-emission-vehicle mandate.

The decision comes three months after the California Air Resources Board revised its emission rules, prompting the automaker and state officials to begin settlement talks.

The state board had agreed to drop its order that automakers produce the battery-powered electric cars.

Automakers instead would be required to produce more fuel-cell electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles that use gasoline and electric motors.

The new rules will take effect with the 2005 model year, but the automakers had reportedly wanted assurances that the regulations would not change if the lawsuits were dropped.

GM, along with DaimlerChrysler and Isuzu Motors Ltd., filed the lawsuits last year, alleging that the 2001 ZEV mandate was an effort to force them to sell battery-powered electric vehicles that had no market.

GM, the world's largest carmaker, also said the mandate was a poorly disguised effort by the state to usurp the federal government's authority to regulate fuel-economy standards.

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