On October 17, the governors of eight states—California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont—pledged to increase the number of electric vehicles on U.S. roadways and to develop the nation’s charging infrastructure.

Ultimately, the initiative is aiming to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2025.

In order to qualify as a zero-emission vehicle, a vehicle must emit zero tailpipe emissions from its onboard source of power.

Both battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles qualify as zero-emission vehicles. Hydrogen-powered vehicles are also sometimes considered zero-emission vehicles, although they do emit water vapor and small amounts of oxides of nitrogen.

Leaf zero-e badge

Eight states have pledged to work together to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the nation’s roads by 2025. Pictured above is a 2012 Nissan LEAF, an all-electric, zero-emission vehicle. Credit: NAFTC.

The initiative consists of five major goals:
• Expediting the installation of new EV charging stations across each state
• Encouraging the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
• Increasing the number of ZEVs used in government fleets
• Establishing favorable electricity rates for residential EV charging stations
• Developing consumer acceptance of EVs by encouraging common payment methods, common incentives like HOV lane access and preferential parking, and standardized signs at EV charging stations, across all eight states

“Reducing barriers to electric vehicle adoption through incentives and support for refueling infrastructure will provide more choices for consumers, lower fuel costs, and reduce pollution,” said David Reichmuth, senior engineer with the union’s Clean Vehicles program.

“The idea is to make it easier for customers to operate and use zero-emission vehicles. This in turn will help pave the way for [the] success of the auto industry,” said Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board.
Although every state in the coalition has previously adopted regulations to encourage EV use, the initiative will help to coordinate efforts among the coalition members. For example, incentives and zoning laws can be adopted across the entire coalition of states, helping to accelerate (and standardize) the whole process.

“This is not just an agreement, but a serious and profoundly important commitment,” said California Governor Jerry Brown. “From coast to coast, we’re charging ahead to get millions of the world’s cleanest vehicles on our roads.”
California aims to have 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles on the state’s roads by 2025—making up 15.4% of their total automobile market. Currently, plug-in and electric vehicles make up a fraction of that amount (commanding less than 2% of the market), but the market for electric and hybrid vehicles is growing steadily.

For example, according to the coalition, the nation’s EV sales nearly tripled between 2011 and 2012. In 2011, approximately 17,000 EVs were sold; in 2012, that number had multiplied to 52,000.

Currently, there are 165,000 zero-emission vehicles on U.S. roads1 and eleven different types of ZEVs now available on the market, including nine battery electric vehicles and two hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.2 The initiative should help to increase those numbers and drive forward positive environmental change.

“This agreement is a major step forward to reducing the emissions that are causing our climate to change and unleashing the extreme weather that we are experiencing with increased frequency,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

1 According to CleanTechnia
2 According to CBS

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