Governors from eight states including Oregon have announced a new initiative to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads within a dozen years. The eight states, which comprise nearly 25 percent of the American vehicle market, will promote the use of clean vehicles through a program designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and public health, enhance energy diversity, save consumers money, and promote economic growth.
“This initiative fulfills so many of Oregon’s goals and will spur the kind of innovation that supports a healthy and vibrant economy,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “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.”
This multi-state effort is intended to expand consumer awareness and demand for zero-emission vehicles, which include battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel-cell-electric vehicles. These technologies can be used in passenger cars, trucks and transit buses.
To kick off the plan, the governors of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont signed a cooperative agreement that identifies specific actions to help build a robust national market for electric and hydrogen-powered cars. Working together, the governors agreed to pursue the following efforts:
• Align building codes to make it easier to construct electric car charging stations
• Lead by example by including zero emission vehicles in public fleets
• Evaluate and establish, where appropriate, financial and other incentives to promote zero emission vehicles
• Consider establishing favorable electricity rates for home charging systems; and
• 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.
Creating a market
These states are among a group of states that have adopted rules requiring about 15 percent of new vehicles sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2025. Collectively, the eight signatory states represent more than 23 percent of the U.S. car market, and expect to have at least 3.3 million of these vehicles operating on their roadways by that time. The market demand created by state programs can help lower zero-emission vehicle costs through economies of scale and expand the range of product lines available to consumers.
These clean vehicles will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and there are economic advantages as well. Electricity is the most widely available source of power and typically costs about two-thirds less than gasoline on a per-mile basis. By 2025, the average zero-emission vehicle driver will save nearly $6,000 in fueling costs over the life of the car.
The cars are here now
U.S. electric car sales in 2012 more than tripled to about 52,000 from 17,000 in 2011. Consumers bought more than 40,000 plug-in cars in the first and second quarters of 2013. There are more than 3,000 electric vehicles registered in Oregon (pure electric and plug-in hybrid electrics) as of July 1, 2013.
Currently, 16 zero-emission vehicle models are 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 and battery power. The number of models is expected to increase for model year 2014 and beyond. Several electric vehicle models have won awards for safety, performance and customer satisfaction.
More than 6,700 charging stations are open to the public in the signatory states. By 2015, nearly every major automaker will have zero emission vehicles available for sale or lease, and more than 200,000 zero-emission vehicles are expected to be on the road across the U.S.
Oregon has 342 electric vehicle charging locations open to the public including 66 fast chargers (480 volt 3-phase). Oregon has more fast chargers than any other state, with charging stations located throughout the state.