Forget President Obama’s infamous goal of 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 – how about 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025?
It may sound unlikely considering just 165,000 ZEVs are currently on US roads, but today the governors of eight states signed an agreement to do just that, putting the pedal to the metal in America’s acceleration toward a clean transportation future.
Their plan centers on alleviating range anxiety for electric vehicles by building out charging stations and educating consumers about the technology while driving costs down through fleet purchases and favorable utility rates for EV charging. If successful, ZEVs would jump to 15% of new vehicle sales in the signatory states.
Policy Shift Puts Electric Vehicles In The Fast Lane
The eight states – California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont – know a thing or two about clean transportation policy. They’re already among America’s top clean tech markets, have some of the highest EV penetration rates in the US, are home to 6,700 public EV charging stations, and represent 23% of the US car market.
“This is not just an agreement, but a serious and profoundly important commitment,” said California Governor Jerry Brown. “From coast to coast, we’re charging ahead to get millions of the world’s cleanest vehicles on our roads.”
Five specific policy steps form the backbone of today’s announcement:
- Harmonizing building codes to expedite installation of new EV charging stations
- Assess and develop deployment strategies and requirements to commercialize hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
- Set ZEV purchase targets for government fleets and report back on acquisitions against those targets
- Establish favorable electricity rates for residential EV charging systems
- Develop uniform consumer acceptance and awareness tactics like universal signage, interoperability and common payment methods for EV charging, preferential parking, and HOV lane access
The ZEV goal includes battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles; and will be applied to passenger cars, trucks, and mass transit buses.
American Consumer And Automaker Benefits
Today’s announcement was backed up by a Consumer Federation of America (CFA) white paper, which asserted the collective policy actions would tap consumer demand to put millions of cleaner cars on US roads while boosting American economic competitiveness.
CFA’s white paper focuses on the fast growth of EV sales compared to the initial deployment of hybrids, and the number of available EV models and consumer acceptance are both higher than when hybrids made their debut.
Considering US EV sales tripled from 2011 to 2012 while the global EV market is projected to grow 10 times as quickly as the total light-duty vehicle market over the next decade, CFA says investing in the EV market is an economic imperative for US automakers.
“US automakers failed to ride the wave of the hybrid revolution in the 1990s and that failure proved to be a costly one,” said Mark Cooper of CFA. “Americans want cars that protect their pocketbooks from volatile gasoline costs – ZEVs do just that and this ZEV program will give US automakers a leg up in their most important market.”
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