Eight-state panel sets deadline to increase zero-emission vehicle use

Connecticut and seven other states today announced an action plan to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

The joint plan for California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont is a guide to collaborate development of the infrastructure, policies, codes, standards and consumer market for clean-fuel cars and reduce greenhouse gas and smog-causing emissions. Together the eight states account for about one quarter of the nation’s new car sales.

“This plan is a triple win for participating states because it brings energy, environmental and economic benefits,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a news release. “Under the blueprint provided in this plan, we will continue with our efforts to provide a convenient network of charging stations for electric vehicles, add EVs and fuel cell vehicles to the state’s fleet, and build out the hydrogen infrastructure needed for fuel cell vehicles expected to be available for the 2015 model year.”

The governors of the eight states began this latest collaboration with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in October. Since the MOU signing, state regulators, the auto industry and infrastructure developers and other stakeholders have shared information and best practices to help move this effort forward.

Zero-emission vehicles include plug-in hybrids, battery electric and hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles. To date, manufacturers have rolled out more than two dozen models in these categories and they have developed a solid foothold in the automobile market, according to the news release As of April there are nearly 200,000 nationwide. Sales have doubled over the past year alone, with more than half of those sales occurring in the eight states, the release said.

The plan lays out steps to build the market, including promoting the availability of zero-emission vehicles; encouraging their use in private fleets; promoting planning and investment for infrastructure; and increasing their numbers in government vehicle fleets. It also would set consistent codes, standards and tracking in the states, remove barriers to charging station installation, establish uniform signage and track and report progress toward the 3.3-million vehicle goal. The plan would promote workplace charging, provide consumer incentives for purchase, remove barriers to the retail sale of electricity as a vehicle fuel and promote access and compatibility for charging networks.

The plan also includes steps individual states may take, as well as examples of successful existing state programs, to improve the experience of drivers and owners.

The plan can be found at www.nescaum.org/topics/zero-emission-vehicles. The eight-state Memorandum of Understanding can be found at www.nescaum.org/documents/zev-mou-8-governors-signed-20131024.pdf.

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