Saving the Plug-In Hybrid, Part II

he California Air Resources Board gave the nascent plug-in-hybrid-car industry a reprieve when it rejected a proposal that would have put small conversion companies out of business. The board voted 6-2 on Thursday to allow small companies, such as 3 Prong Power of Berkeley, to convert up to fifty Toyota Priuses into plug-in hybrids before having to undergo expensive emissions testing. The board’s staff had recommended that small companies such as 3 Prong Power could only convert ten cars to plug-ins before having to pay for the tests, which can cost up to $200,000. But the board rejected that proposal out of hand after hearing testimony from business owners who said it would bankrupt them, because it wouldn’t give them enough time to raise money for the tests. “Overall, we were impressed that we actually made a difference and people saw our side,” said Paul Guzyk, co-founder of 3 Prong Power. “It could have been a lot worse, and probably couldn’t have gone much better.”

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