Whenever you find the word compliance, usually suggests someone is doing something they didn't want to do because someone else made them do it.
In this case, the someone who did the telling was the state of California, which in 2012, told all the large and intermediate size car makers in the state, that a certain percentage of their annual sales had to be zero emissions vehicle.
That means, battery electric cars, or the even more rare, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
All of a sudden, oddities like Electric Fiats, and Smart Fortwo's and Honda Fit's and Rav 4's cropped up.
Car makers that failed to sell the minimum percentage of zero emissions vehicles, and this is figured out by a formula far to complex to relate here, Would then be subject to penalties that they could satisfy by buying expensive zero emission credits from companies that do sell more than their share of zero emissions vehicles.
For example, Tesla has made millions of dollars the last couple years by selling credits because all they make are zero emissions vehicles and they can sell them to car companies that make gas engine cars, and not enough that don't spew.
Not to say all zero emissions cars are compliance concession.
The all electric Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S are bona-fide sellers.
But those two cars make up 70% of the USEV market.
Leaving the rest of the list to be painted with the compliance car brush.
Here's where it gets tricky.
They use both emitting gas and zero-emissions electricity.
They can run some, all, or virtually none of their miles zero-emissions depending how the owner uses the car, not depending on the technology the automaker built in.
So it's not in the carmaker's control.
Now recently, those automakers in California have gone to the state and said, hey, give us a much bigger credit toward zero emission.
When we sell a plug-in hybrid because they're using studies now that show frequently when plug-in hybrids are used in the real world, they are in a zero-emission state.
It is closer to that of pure EDs and fuel cells.
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