Eight governors work on putting 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on roads by 2025

Governors from eight states, including Maryland, Oregon and Rhode Island, have teamed up to work on putting 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

The governors from the eight states, which also include California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont, have, as a first step, signed a cooperative agreement in which they identified actions they will promote within their states and joint cooperative actions the states will undertake to help build a robust national market for electric and hydrogen-powered cars, according to an Oct. 24 statement from Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Governors from Rhode Island and Oregon issued similar statements.

Zero-emission vehicles include battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell-electric vehicles, the statements noted, adding that those technologies can be used in passenger cars, trucks and transit buses.

“This effort complements work already underway through the Transportation Climate Initiative, in which Maryland and other East Coast states are working to develop a robust charging station network along the I-95 corridor that will permit long-distance travel in electric cars throughout the region,” O’Malley said in his statement. “The transition to these advanced technology vehicles will support our efforts to achieve our air quality and climate change goals, and will enhance energy security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. This is a critical part of our efforts to achieve Maryland’s long-term 2050 goal to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 90% from 2006 levels.”

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said in the statement that the state has already started taking steps, including the installation of charging stations throughout Rhode Island.

“Through the Zero Emission Vehicle [memorandum of understanding] we have created a vital partnership that will reduce our reliance on imported oil, boost our economy, and save money at the pump,” he said. “This is an important collaboration that works toward our common goal of protecting our environment.”

The governors agreed to harmonize building codes to make it easier to build new electric car charging stations; lead by example by including zero-emission vehicles in their public fleets; and evaluate and establish, where appropriate, financial and other incentives to promote zero-emission vehicles.

They also agreed to consider establishing favorable electricity rates for home charging systems and develop common standards for roadway signs and charging networks, the statements added.

Collectively, the eight signatory states represent more than 23% of the U.S. car market.

The statements also noted that U.S. electric car sales in 2012 more than tripled to about 52,000 from 17,000 in 2011, and motorists bought more than 40,000 plug-in cars in the first and second quarters of 2013.

Currently, there are 16 zero-emission vehicle models available from eight automotive manufacturers, with nine running completely on batteries and two on hydrogen fuel cells; five plug-in hybrid electric vehicles can run on gasoline as well as battery power, according to the statements.

According to the agreement, the signatory states agree to create and participate in a multi-state zero-emission vehicle program implementation task force to serve as a forum for coordination and collaboration on the full range of program support and implementation issues to promote effective and efficient implementation of zero-emission vehicle regulations. The task force will prepare, within six months of the agreement’s date, a plan of action to accomplish the goals identified in the agreement.

Among other things, the agreement also noted that the signatory states agree to evaluate the need for, and effectiveness of, monetary incentives to reduce the upfront purchase price of zero-emission vehicles and non-monetary incentives, such as HOV lane access, reduced tolls and preferential parking, and to pursue such incentives as appropriate.

“This initiative fulfills so many of Oregon’s goals and will spur the kind of innovation that supports a healthy and vibrant economy,” Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said in his Oct. 24 statement. “Not only will it help reduce transportation-related air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, it also enhances our state’s energy diversity, gives Oregon consumers more options, and helps move Oregon’s 10-year Energy Action Plan forward.”

As TransmissionHub reported in June, the states of Washington, Oregon and California as well as the province of British Columbia have teamed up to develop the West Coast Green Highway, a series of fast-charge stations along Interstate 5 from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. As of June, Washington had installed eight stations along I-5 between the Canadian and Oregon borders, as well as six others along other highways in the state.

More recently, New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers passed six resolutions including one that calls for them to work cooperatively to support the increased use of alternative fuel vehicles and networks within the region.

The leaders met over two days at the 37th Annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers to discuss themes of common interest regarding clean energy like hydropower, among other matters.

In the resolution on alternative fuel vehicles, the governors and premiers directed members of the Environment, Energy and Transportation and Air Quality Committees to work together, and with other regional organizations engaged in electric vehicle recharging and alternative refueling networks to compile an inventory of regional initiatives regarding electric and natural gas-powered vehicles; propose actions aimed at facilitating the interoperability of EV charging and alternative refueling infrastructure; and identify road corridors where this type of infrastructure could be deployed, with a view to promoting the use of electric and alternative fuel vehicles and facilitating travel throughout the region for the users of such vehicles.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3152 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.