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Governors Pledge to Boost Electric Vehicles

Eight governors whose states collectively represent nearly a quarter of the U.S. car market announced last week that they’re taking steps to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the roads in their collective states by 2025. The governors hail from California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The eight participating governors signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging to reduce barriers to electric vehicle adoption through incentives and support for refueling infrastructure. Such measures will provide more choices for consumers, help lower zero-emission vehicle costs through economies of scale, lower fuel costs, and reduce pollution.

According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), U.S. electric car sales in 2012 more than tripled to about 52,000 from 17,000 in 2011. Motorists bought more than 40,000 plug-in cars in the first and second quarters of 2013.

There are currently 16 zero-emission vehicle models available from eight automotive manufacturers; nine run completely on batteries, two on hydrogen fuel cells, and five are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that can run on gasoline as well as battery power.

According to CARB, this multi-state effort is intended to expand consumer awareness and demand for zero-emission vehicles. In this agreement, the governors identify specific actions they will promote within their states and joint cooperative actions these states will undertake to help build a robust national market for electric and hydrogen-powered cars. For example, the governors agreed to pursue the following efforts:

  • Harmonize building codes to make it easier to construct new electric car charging stations
  • Lead by example by including zero emission vehicles in their public fleets
  • Evaluate and establish, where appropriate, financial and other incentives to promote zero emission vehicles
  • Consider establishing favorable electricity rates for home charging
  • Develop common standards for roadway signs and charging networks

The eight states will develop an action plan over the next six months that will include many of these strategies and others.

Photo credit: Matthew Staver / NREL