No more emissions tests — ever

Picture of a piece of paper for an emissions testI took our 1992 Acura Integra (which I’ve owned for 17 years) in for its bi-annual emissions test on Sept. 9. As soon as I got to the emissions testing station, it occurred to me: I should have brought my camera.

I realized a trip to the emissions testing center would be a great blog entry and it would be great to have a photo alongside the entry.

Why is a trip to the emissions testing station a great SCD editor’s blog entry?

Because, with an EV you don’t need to go through this (bi)annual process.

There are no tailpipe emissions. None whatsoever. In fact, there is no tailpipe.

And, if you’re solar-charging you EV, there are no emissions on the front end (electricity production) or the back end (driving). None whatsoever.

I wondered what the registration process would be and the taxation process for an EV in Colorado. In this state, you can’t re-register your car unless it passes an emissions test every two years. I wondered if the state of Colorado is even set up for EVs in the sense that the bureaucracy would know what to do with a consumer who had an EV who has a car which doesn’t need emissions testing.

I’m assuming there are already a few – probably a very few – mainstream EVs on the road in Colorado (by mainstream, I mean EVs that can reach highway speeds). And that the state therefore already has a system in place for (re)registering EVs.

I also wondered about PHEVs. How would you test a PHEV for emissions? Would you have to drive it 40 miles first to make sure it’s in hybrid mode when it’s tested? Or maybe PHEVs will be exempt from emissions testing?

Or maybe if you drive it fast enough, say 80 miles per hour on the rollers at the emissions testing center, it would then kick into hybrid mode.

Of course, I don’t know how fast they can drive cars on those rollers.

Obviously, I need to some research on forthcoming PHEVs like the GM Volt, as it’s unclear to me whether they kick into hybrid mode at high speeds, or if they only kick into this mode after the battery pack has discharged to a certain point (I believe it’s the later).

It’s my understanding that custom PHEVs, for instance, a Toyota Prius that’s been specially modified into a PHEV will typically run in battery only mode only up to about 40 mph, at which point the hybrid motor kicks in.

Whether this will be the case will be for the GM Volt or not, I don’t know.

If it’s not the case — and I don’t think it is — back to the same question: Will you have to drive your Volt 40 miles before you go to the emissions testing station?

Or perhaps there’s a button in the Volt that allows you to immediately leap into hybrid mode.

I don’t know. But I’m going to check it out.

In the meantime, though, I’m going to dream about never having to go to the emissions testing station again.

In fact, it looks like emissions testing for PHEVs and other non-traditional vehicles is a complicated question that still very much needs to be answered, and is quite likely to be settled on a state-by-state basis.

For more, see this article at GreenCarCongress.Org —