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ELECTRIC VEHICLES: COMING OR GOING?

 DETROIT, Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Attempts to resurrect the electric car haven't worked in the past; but the '90s will be make-it or break-it time. Electric Vehicles: Deadline 1998, a just-released research report from Ward's Communications, looks at the situation from both angles.
 On the promising side, EVs now have the law behind them. California law requires that a percentage of new vehicles sold in that state beginning in 1998 emit no pollutants (currently only EVs qualify). New York, Massachusetts and Maine have voted to adopt the California law, and several other states are considering following suit.
 In addition, the U.S. Big Three automakers are working together to develop batteries, propulsion systems and other EV components. Joint production of entire vehicles also could be in the cards. The Japanese also are said to be forming similar alliances. Proponents say this kind of cooperation could lead to major breakthroughs in EV technology.
 But it also could strengthen the case against EVs. The automakers' stance is that battery-powered vehicles are nowhere near being competitive in price, range or performance with their internal- combustion-engine counterparts. Development costs are prohibitive; and the bottom line is automakers don't think the public will buy EVs.
 Although automakers appear to have accepted the possibility of having to meet California's mandate, they'll fight to halt its spread to other states. They won the first round in late January when a federal court judge ruled in favor of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association and Association of Import Automobile Manufacturers in their lawsuit against New York state's adoption of the California emissions law. New York plans to appeal the case. If the decision is upheld, other states may repeal or decline to adopt the legislation. Otherwise, additional lawsuits are likely.
 If the Big Three combined show that they cannot produce a viable, marketable EV, then even California may be forced to rethink its zero- emissions ruling. There also is the possibility that breakthroughs will be made in alternative non-emitting power sources, such as hydrogen, making the EV issue moot.
 This 150-page report looks at EV product development in the U.S., Japan and Europe, and probes all aspects of the EV issue: legislation, powertrains, materials, manufacturing processes, suppliers, infrastructure, marketing and history.
 -0- 2/9/93
 /NOTE: For more information or to purchase the report, CONTACT: Becky Hughes of Ward's, 313-962-4433 or (fax) 313-962-4456/


CO: Ward's Communications ST: Michigan, California IN: AUT SU:

SM -- DE019 -- 4609 02/09/93 11:13 EST
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Date:Feb 9, 1993
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