Yesterday the Obama administration announced “an unprecedented set of actions” to grow the U.S. plug-in electrified vehicle market.
The initiative represents a broad collaboration between federal agencies, state governments, major automakers, utilities, and others to aid the ongoing push to make electric cars viable alternatives to the internal combustion variety.
Perhaps chief in a laundry list of public and private sector agreements is up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for commercial scale charging – including fast charging – to create a nationwide network.
As a manufacturer, Tesla has nearly gone it alone with its Supercharger network. Nissan has provided level 3 chargers as well, but the new initiative is being signed onto by Tesla, Nissan along with other major manufacturers. These include General Motors, Ford, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz USA.
The Obama administration said the plan comes “on the heels” of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sustainable Transportation Summitry earlier this month.
Despite only making it 40-percent of the way toward a goal of one-million plug-in electrified vehicles by December 2015, the administration says much progress has happened.
“In fact, in the past eight years the number of plug-in electric [including plug-in hybrid and battery electric] vehicle models increased from one to more than 20, battery costs have decreased 70 percent, and we have increased the number of electric vehicle charging stations from less than 500 in 2008 to more than 16,000 today – a 40 fold increase,” said the administration.
To kick things to the next level, more is needed and the broad PEV market stimulus plan includes the following:
• Unlocking up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees and inviting applications to support the commercial-scale deployment of innovative electric vehicle charging facilities;
• Launching the FAST Act process to identify zero emission and alternative fuel corridors, including for electric vehicle charging across the country, and standing up an effort to develop a 2020 vision for a national network of electric vehicle fast charging stations that will help determine where along the corridors it makes the most sense to locate the fast charging infrastructure;
• Announcing a call for state, county, and municipal governments to partner with the Federal government to procure electric vehicle fleets at a discounted value;
• Leveraging the power of data and hosting an ‘Electric Vehicle Hackathon’ to discover insights and develop new solutions for electric vehicle charging;
• Publishing a guide to Federal funding, financing, and technical assistance for electric vehicles and charging stations; and
• 35 new businesses, non-profits, universities, and utilities signing on to DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge and committing to provide electric vehicle charging access for their workforce.
“Today, in collaboration with the Administration, nearly 50 industry members are signing on to the following Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure,” said a White House fact sheet of an “unprecedented” electrified vehicle coalition being “forged.”
The plan builds on existing work and public-private cooperative partnerships.
Speaking for all, the Obama administration said “we endorse the following guiding principles to enhance electric vehicle use and create a national, household, workplace, and urban charging infrastructure that is available to all Americans:”
• Drive the market transformation to electric vehicles by making it easy for consumers to charge their vehicles with grid-connected infrastructure that is accessible, affordable, available and reliable, and interconnected with other low-carbon transportation options where feasible.
• Promote electric vehicle adoption by increasing access to charging infrastructure and supporting the development of plug-in electric vehicles that are as accessible, available, and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles.
• Promote a robust market for vehicle manufacturers, utilities, equipment service providers, and support industries that ensures a consistent user experience, customer choice, and allows for a streamlined permitting process.
• Enhance American manufacturing competitiveness, innovation, and the development of advanced technology.
• Attract and leverage private, State, and Federal investment in electric vehicle deployment, infrastructure, research and development, and education and outreach.
Enable smart charging and vehicle grid integration through solutions such as demand response, and other energy storage and load management strategies.
Further details can be seen in the Fact Sheet posted by the White House.