Obama administration leaves behind incentives for electric car owners

Renault Zoe charging A Renault Zoe Charging at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Obama administration is leaving behind a little bit of cure for the range anxiety electric car owners in the United States experience when they fear their vehicles don’t have the charge to get there.

The administration said last week it will expand the charge infrastructure for electric cars by installing 48 new charging corridors. Those vehicle routes dotted with charging stations on the Department of Transportation map are intended to cover 25,000 miles of highway in 35 states.

The administration is sprinting to accelerate the move to clean energy, according to Roland Hwang, director of the energy and transportation program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“This is a better mousetrap when it comes to the environment,” Hwang told National Public Radio. “This is the future of clean transportation technology. We need this to get off of fossil fuel.”

The idea is to add thousands of electric charging stations around the country. In addition, states and local governments signed up to increase electric vehicles in their fleets.

The administration points to the example of California pledging to buy 150 zero-emissions vehicles (electric or fuel cell). It will also provide charging at a minimum of 5 percent of the state-owned parking places by 2020.

Obama’s administration spelled out its new initiatives in a release.

“For the first time, the United State Department of Transportation (DOT) is establishing 48 national electric vehicle charging corridors on our highways, these newly designated electric vehicle routes cover nearly 25,000 miles, in 35 state,” said the White House.

It said 28 states, utilities, vehicle manufactures, and change organizat”ions are committing to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure on the DOT’s corridors, adding that “”24 state and local governments are committing to partner with the Administration and increase the procurement of electric vehicles in their fleets.”

It summarize that the US Department of Energy is conducting two studies to evaluate the optimal national electric vehicle charging deployment scenarios, including along DOT’s designated fueling corridors.

It also said that, “38 new businesses, non-profits, universities, and utilities are signing on to DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge and committing to provide EV charging access for their workforce.”

Hwang said that while electric cars have failed to take hold in the U.S., that’s not the case in Europe or China. He pointed out that the biggest seller of electric passenger vehicles is not Tesla but the Chinese company BYD.

Hwang said that as a result of its diesel scandal that Volkswagen will now be investing in electric cars, which may give them more of a toehold in the US economy.

Charles Digges

charles@bellona.no