Ford Focus 2005

So props to the members of California Air resources board for being such stickers about, well, air. In the past 14 year the board has put the screw on the automakers, requiring them to sell more clean vehicles as part of the states zero-emission vehicle mandate

However, as it stands now, beginning in 2005, automakers can partially fulfill their rising quota of California-certified green vehicles with PZEV vehicles. PZEV stand for partial zero-emission vehicle and it is the highest standard for gasoline-engine vehicles.

To qualify as a PZEV, a vehicle must first meet the super-ultra-low-emission vehicle standard: 97 per cent fewer hydrocarbon emission, 76 per cent less carbon dioxide and 97 per cent less nitrogen oxide than the national Tier 1 emission standard.

A PZEV must also have no evaporative losses (gas fumes) from the fuel system. And the whole shebang - power train and fuel system has to be warranted to meet standards for 15 years or 150000 miles.

In some atmospheric condition – a brown day in southern California, for instance – PZEV vehicles actually clean the air, which is to say, their emission cleaner than the air sucked into the engine. Despite automakers long and litigious assertion to the contrary, they have been able to develop the compliant technologies. There are currently more than 30 PZEV vehicles on the market.

BMW’s 3-series cars and wagon, Honda’s Accord, Subaru’s suite of Legacy cars and wagons, and Volvo’s big V70 wagon.

 So let’s hear it from the big government. Had California not used its enormous leverage in the marketplace – the state is the biggest vehicle market in the United States – the automakers would not have been motivated to develop the engineering that will, now that it is available, become integrated into the large vehicle market. California’s zero emissions mandate has been adopted, with some variation, in the “green states” of Maine, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. Why, clean air is spreading like a prairie fire.
Breathing may yet make a comeback.

I spent a week recently with a PZEV – certified Ford Focus. The Focus has been lightly redesigned outside. The new cars are powered by next-generation Duratek engines in displacements of 2 and 2.3 liters. The PZEV cars employ the 20 E version of the 2 liter engine. (130 horsepower)

The new Focus is a nice little urbanity – I drove the workaday SES trim level – and Ford will be happy to power point you to the brink of insanity with charts showing improvements in Focus initial quality and customer satisfaction. The suspension has been beefed up, the brakes enlarged, and the exterior and interior styling have a finer, more formal line.

Ford Focus 2005

Ford Focus 2005

Ford Focus 2005 interior

Ford Focus 2005 side view