Eight Northeastern and Pacific coast states have signed on to the Multi-State Zero-Emission Vehicles Action Plan with a goal of encouraging consumers to embrace alternative energy vehicles. Representing approximately 23% of the U.S. auto market, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Oregon have set a goal of 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025.
To achieve this goal, the states have agreed to take steps designed to expand the infrastructure needed to support the use of plug-in hybrids, battery powered cars and other types of green vehicles.
Greater accessibility to public and workplace charging stations is key to getting consumers comfortable with the idea of owning alternative energy vehicles; however, the private sector has been hesitant to invest in ZEV infrastructure due to the historically low demand for Green automobiles.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “The coalition of states participating in the multistate ZEV Action Plan is vital to creating the infrastructure needed for our nation to achieve energy diversity, reduce pollution and create jobs.”
Automakers have commended lawmakers, including Governor Cuomo, for their actions, but point out that their 3.3 million AEV goal would represent less than one percent of annual U.S. auto sales.
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers vice president Gloria Bergquist says the stakes are high for automakers. “Automakers have invested billions of dollars in these technologies, so we have a huge stake in selling as many as possible,” says Bergquist. “We still have a steep climb,” she admits, “but we’re increasingly headed in the right direction.”
California’s Air Resources Board chairwoman Mary Nichols says that the unified approach will make AEVs more user-friendly. “One thing you find when you drive an EV as I do is that there are a lot of different signs telling people where there’s charging stations,” says Nichols. She believes that better signage will “help smooth the way” for AEV owners.
Another hurdle for AEVs is their higher-than-average purchase price, but recent advances in Lithium-ion automotive battery technology could help to bring those prices down in the near future.
In 2011, President Obama set a goal of one million electric cars on American roads by 2015. According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, zero-emission vehicles accounted for about 96,000 of the 15.5 million autos sold in the U.S. in 2013.