The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a historic settlement with Hyundai and Kia on November 3, 2014 that will resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations by the automakers. The United States and the California Air Resources Board filed suit against Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motor Company (the Defendants) under Title II of the Clean Air Act for misrepresenting vehicle fuel efficiency standards and improperly claiming over four million greenhouse gas credits under EPA’s averaging, banking and trading program. The settlement described in the proposed consent decree would require the Defendants to pay a civil penalty of $100 million, take steps to prevent future violations, and forfeit 4.75 million greenhouse gas credits that were wrongfully claimed by the Defendants. The proposed $100 million civil penalty would be the largest in Clean Air Act history.
On December 8, the Georgetown Climate Center, in its role as facilitator of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, submitted comments on the proposed consent decree, recommending that the United States revise the settlement to require the Defendants to direct funds to state projects and programs that have demonstrated success in reducing transportation-sector emissions, with a particular focus on programs that support electric vehicles, and reduce the penalty commensurately. A copy of Georgetown Climate Center’s comments can be found here.
On November 18, the White House and the Edison Electric Institute announced new commitments made by electric utilities and other organizations to support the deployment of electric vehicles nationwide. 70 utilities committed to spend at least 5% of their annual fleet acquisition budgets on purchasing electric vehicles, and over 60 new businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations committed to install workplace charging stations for their employees. In addition, the White House announced that it intends to provide funding to help organizations coordinate their efforts to aggregate purchases of electric vehicles, in an effort to lower the price of alternative fuel vehicles through bulk orders.
These collective actions are in support of the Obama Administration’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. The goal of the challenge is for the U.S. to become the first nation in the world to produce electric vehicles that are as affordable for the average American consumer as gasoline powered vehicles.
On May 29, eight states released an action plan to develop infrastructure, coordinate policies, codes and standards, and help develop a consumer market to put 3.3 million zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2025.
The “Multi-State ZEV Action Plan” provides an overview of the current state of the market and identifies 11 key actions that can be taken by all of the partners to promote ZEV deployment. These actions include: promote the availability and effective marketing of ZEVs; provide consumer incentives to enhance the ZEV ownership experience; lead by example through increasing ZEVs in state, municipal and other public fleets; encourage private fleets to purchase, lease or rent ZEVs; promote workplace charging; promote ZEV infrastructure planning and investment by public and private entities; provide clear and accurate signage to direct ZEV users to charging and fueling stations and parking; remove barriers to ZEV charging and fueling station installations; promote access, compatibility, and interoperability of the plug-in electric vehicle charging network; remove barriers to retail sale of electricity and hydrogen as transportation fuels and promote competitive plug-in electric vehicle charging rates; and track and report progress toward meeting the goal of 3.3 million ZEVs on our roadways by 2025.
Governors from California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont signed a zero-emission vehicle memorandum of understanding in October 2013 that set the ambitious EV deployment goal, and the action plan is the first major milestone from the eight-state collaboration.
Additional information on the Multi-State ZEV Action Plan and the State Zero-Emission Vehicle Programs Memorandum of Understanding can be found here.
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.