Release 98-68
November 3, 1998 
CONTACT:  Jerry Martin
(916) 322-2990 
Richard Varenchik
(626) 575-6730


Air Board to Consider New Vehicle Emission Standards
Board Also to Receive Ballard Fuel Cell Demonstrator Unit

        SACRAMENTO   New, more stringent emission standards for minivans, passenger cars, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are scheduled to be voted on Thursday during a meeting of the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (ARB) at ARB's southern California headquarters, 9530 Telstar Ave., in El Monte.

        Preceding the meeting, the Board will formally receive a 100 watt portable fuel cell demonstrator unit manufactured by Ballard Power Systems of Burnaby, Canada. Firoz Rasul, President and CEO of Ballard, will present the unit, about the size of a large tissue box.  It will be on display outside the meeting room where it can be seen powering a TV/VCR combo.  ARB will host the unit for six months as a means of learning about the energy potential offered by fuel cells in the future   in mobile, stationary and portable applications.



Thursday, November 5, 1998
8:45 a.m.- Pre-meeting Fuel Cell Power System On Display
9:00 a.m.- Meeting Begins with Public Presentations, including the Fuel Cell demonstrator unit
9:30 a.m.- Staff Presentation of Vehicle Emissions Proposal

  Please Note:  This is the only item on the agenda, and is expected to take all day to complete

WHERE:  ARB southern California headquarters -- El Monte 9530 Telstar Ave. (just south of I-10, between Rosemead Blvd. and Flair Dr.)

On-site contacts: Rich Varenchik (626) 575-6730 and Jerry Martin (916) 322-2990.


        The new, Low-Emission Vehicle standards, known as LEV II, will run from 2004 through 2010, following the current LEV standards which run from 1994 through 2003.  LEV II would tighten the existing LEV standards in a number of areas as a way to advance the state's clean air goals and meet federally-mandated reductions in air emissions by the year 2010.

Among the LEV II standards proposed are:

        As the state's passenger vehicle fleet continues to grow, more SUVs and pickup trucks are being used as passenger cars.  Mini vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs now account for nearly 50 percent of new car sales in California.  The new, more stringent LEV II standards are necessary for California to meet federally-mandated clean air goals.  As currently proposed, the LEV II rules, when fully implemented in 2010, would mean an estimated reduction of smog-forming emissions in the Los Angeles area by 57 tons per day; while the statewide reduction would be 155 tons per day.

        The LEV II rules will apply only to new cars sold starting in 2004 and will not require any retroactive repairs or modifications to vehicles sold before 2004.


        The 100 Watt Portable Fuel Cell Demonstrator is a fully automated power system which converts hydrogen and oxygen from air directly into DC electricity.  Water vapor is the only by-product of the reaction.  These "ambient" fuel cell systems, which operate at low pressures, provide reliable, clean, quiet and efficient power.  They are small and rugged enough to be carried or transported wherever power is needed to provide multiple opportunities and applications.  The 100 Watt Ballard Fuel Cell generator has been demonstrated in powering applications such as a TV/VCR combo, laptop computer, lamp, stereo, etc.

        The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency.  ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.  The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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