"Our long-term goal is very simple," said California Gov. Gray Davis (D) outside the state capitol in Sacramento in April 1999. "Zero emissions in the air. Zero. Nada. Nothing. Zip." A crowd had gathered to hear Davis announce a major new state initiative, and to see the latest non-polluting automobiles to be unveiled by DaimlerChrysler and Ford. Running on electricity, the peppy performance of these cars dazzled the spectators. The two auto giants promised to have them in commercial production around 2003 or 2004. A new era of environmentally friendly transportation had begun.
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