Governors from eight states signed an agreement October 24 to build a strong national market for zero-emission vehicles.
Collectively, these states – California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont – represent almost a quarter of the nation's automobile market. The states intend to build consumer demand, which will lower zero emission vehicle (ZEV) costs through economies of scale and expand the range of product lines available to consumers throughout the U.S.
The eight states have pledged to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlines joint and individual actions that states will take to reach their goal.
These actions include establishing ZEV purchase targets for government fleets; coordinating vehicle and fueling station equipment procurement within and across states; evaluating and establishing, where appropriate, financial and other incentives to promote zero emission vehicles; developing common standards for roadway signs and charging networks; promoting electric vehicle readiness through consistent building codes and other standards; considering establishing favorable electricity rates for home charging; and continuing to work with the public and private sector to raise consumer awareness and encourage ZEV market growth.
Signatory states will create and participate in a multi-state ZEV Program Implementation Task Force that will 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 ZEV regulations. Over the next six months, the states will develop an action plan that will include the above strategies and others.
Six of the eight states - Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont - already participate in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) and its Northeast Electric Vehicle Network. The agreement recognizes the TCI for its work on electric vehicles, and the importance of the group's work moving forward. Northeastern states will seek to build on the regional collaboration in order to meet the target of 3.3 million zero emission vehicles on the road by 2025.
States that have signed the MOU are part of a larger group of states that have adopted California’s Zero Emission Vehicle Program under Section 177 of the Clean Air Act. States that have adopted California’s ZEV program will require 15.4 percent of new vehicles sold within their state to be zero-emission vehicles by 2025. The MOU is designed to support and ensure the successful implementation of individual states’ ZEV programs.
New England governors and eastern Canadian premiers reached a new agreement September 9 to work cooperatively to support increased use of alternative fuel vehicles and networks within the region.
The group passed a resolution at its annual meeting that directs the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG-ECP) to work with organizations to compile an inventory of regional initiatives regarding electric and natural-gas-powered vehicles, propose actions aimed at facilitating the interoperability of electric vehicle charging and alternative fueling stations, and identify corridors where alternative fuel infrastructure could be established.
A related transportation resolution was also passed that directs NEG-ECP and its partners to work collaboratively towards achieving a regional five percent market share among vehicle fleets for alternative fuel vehicles by 2020 and to facilitate the availability of refueling stations to support those vehicles.
These measures were part of a series of resolutions adopted by the governors and premiers in which they pledged to work together on clean energy approaches such as hydropower, mitigating climate change, and transportation proposals.
The governors of the six New England states and five Canadian Premiers meet annually to discuss how they can work more efficiently on a regional basis. The New England states are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the participating provinces are Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The next NEG-ECP meeting will be held in New Hampshire in 2014.
The State of Hawaii launched a mobile app on July 12 that will help electric vehicle (EV) owners locate publicly available EV charging stations statewide. The app, “EV Stations Hawaii,” provides drivers with EV charging station locations and mapping directions, and allows users to search for EV stations across Hawaii or for EV stations closest to their current location.
The app is being managed by the Hawaii State Energy Office, and utilizes the office’s database of publicly available EV charging stations. The app is a partnership between the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Hawaii Information Consortium and Honolulu Clean Cities, and is part of the State Office of Information Management and Technology’s open data movement.
The app is free for download and is available for Apple and Android smartphones and mobile devises. To download the app, visit the Hawaii State Energy Office website here.
Connecticut launched an electric vehicle charging initiative on July 9 that will more than double the amount of charging stations available in the state by the end of 2013. The initiative is part of “EVConnecticut,” a program that seeks to support the integration of EVs into the market by expanding the availability of EV charging stations and providing resources for EV owners.
The charging station program was launched by Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Department of Transportation, and will provide $200,000 in funding for the installation of EV charging stations. Funding will be awarded to proposals that offer the most matching funding from the project host site and are most accessible to the general public, and that place stations in areas that are geographically diverse. Municipalities and private businesses throughout the state are encouraged to apply.
For more information about EV programs and resources in Connecticut, click here.
On June 18th, Governor Lincoln Chafee announced that Rhode Island plans to install 50 electric charging stations during the next three months. The Governor unveiled the first charging station at Roger Williams University in Bristol, and the others are scheduled to be installed throughout the state at locations including restaurants, state parks and beaches.
Rhode Island will also purchase electric vehicles for the state fleet, using federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars to make up the incremental cost between gasoline-powered vehicles and electric vehicles. This greening of the state fleet is already underway, as 20 gas-powered vehicles have been replaced with low-emission hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
ChargePoint was awarded a state contract to site and install the charging stations, and will work closely with National Grid on the project. The stations will have two charging spots, and state officials hope many of them will be free to use. Prior to the announcement, Rhode Island had 11 publicly available charging stations.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin announced on June 17th that Vermont is coordinating with the Canadian province of Quebec to complete an electric vehicle charging corridor between Burlington, VT and Montreal, Canada. The corridor will include 20 charging stations that are scheduled to open this fall.
The number of stations is expected to increase as new partners sign-on, and a second corridor is already planned between Sherbrooke-Magog, Quebec, and St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
The corridor grew out of discussions at a summer 2012 Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers. The initiative is being led by Drive Electric Vermont and the Electric Circuit in Quebec, with partners Green Mountain Power and Burlington Electric.
For a list of planned charging station locations along the Vermont-Montreal corridor, click here.
On June 10th, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released its new eGallon calculator, which allows electric vehicle drivers to see how much they can save on fuel by using electricity instead of gasoline.
The eGallon calculator takes the average miles-per-gallon of a new vehicle and calculates how much it would cost to drive an electric car the same distance. Since electricity and gasoline costs vary across the country, the tool shows users how much electricity costs in their home state, and compares it to the cost of gasoline.
For more information on the eGallon, click here.
Mayor Greg Ballard, the Bolloré Group, and business leaders in Indianapolis announced on June 10th, that the city will be home to the largest electric car-share program in the United States. This service will provide new transportation options to residents of Indianapolis, and will result in one of the densest electric vehicle charging station networks in the country.
French company Bolloré Group plans to invest $35 million in an electric vehicle system across the metro area, which will feature 500 electric vehicles and 1,200 charging stations clustered at 200 car-share locations. The new program is modeled after Bolloré’s Autolib’ car-share service in Paris, which has 37,000 members and features over 1,700 electric vehicles and 4,200 charging stations.
The system is designed to operate like personal transit, charging by shorter time intervals to encourage short one-way trips to any of the company’s charging stations across the city. Users will pay a membership fee and will be able to rent a vehicle by reserving a car on-line or at a dedicated car share kiosk, and will be able to drop the car at any of Bolloré’s charging stations. The charging stations may be used to charge private EVs as well, if their owners buy a separate membership.
Republican Indianapolis Governor Greg Ballard has long been a proponent of alternative fuels, and in December 2012 ordered the conversion of the city’s 3,100-vehicle fleet to electric, natural gas, or hybrid vehicles by 2025.
On November 15, 2012, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) voted to harmonize their greenhouse gas reduction standards for model year 2017-2015 vehicles with those from the federal government.
The California ARB will accept U.S. EPA's greenhouse gas standards, which EPA and the Department of Transportation finalized in August along with fuel economy standards of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. There are several slight differences between the state and federal rules, but California calculated the difference would be only a 4.5 percent loss in greenhouse gas reductions within the state.
The national standards will result in 569 million metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions by 2050, compared with 43 million metric tons if California conducted its program alone, according to California ARB projections. The California ARB also has separate standards covering conventional tailpipe pollutants and requirements for automakers to build a certain percentage of zero-emissions vehicles to sell in the state by 2025, but these are not duplicated at the federal level.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has clarified how federal highway funds may be used to respond to increasing threats from climate change impacts, including extreme weather.
FHWA authorized state Departments of Transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, local agencies, and federal land management agencies to use federal aid and the Federal Lands Highway funds to consider the potential impacts of climate change and extreme weather events and to apply strategies to adapt to those changes. Examples of eligible activities include:
- Vulnerability and risk assessments of federal-aid-eligible highways related to climate change and extreme weather events;
- Consideration of climate change and extreme weather events in highway project development, environmental review, and design work;
- Construction of projects or features in existing eligible assets to build resilience against impacts and damage associated with climate change and extreme weather events; and
- Evaluation of potential impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on asset management cycles, life cycle costs, etc.
FHWA clarified its position in a September 24, 2012 memo, entitled "Eligibility of Activities To Adapt To Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events Under the Federal-Aid and Federal Lands Highway Program." The memo was sent to the agency's field and division office personnel and clarifies how federal highway funds may be used to plan, design, and construct highways to adapt to current and future climate change impacts.
The memo responded to questions received from transportation agencies since last year and says, “...division offices and Federal Lands Highway Offices may allow state DOTs, metropolitan planning organizations, local agencies, and federal land management agencies to use federal aid and the Federal Lands Highway funds to consider the potential impacts of climate change and extreme weather events and apply adaptation strategies, both at the project and systems levels.”