Monday, 9 June 2014

US to have 3.3 million ZEVs by 2025?

Eight US states have just released a Multi-State Action Plan to guide efforts to put 3.3 million zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) on their roads by 2025.

Last October, governors from eight states – California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont – announced their “ground-breaking” initiative to put over three million zero-emission vehicles on the roads in their states within a dozen years.

The governors joined forces in a bid to “to revolutionize the automobile market by promoting zero-emission vehicles”. Now they have put forward their action plan.

“Use of these clean vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and public health, enhance energy diversity, save consumers money, and promote economic growth,” their statement said.

Zero-emission vehicles include battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel-cell-electric vehicles. These technologies can be used in passenger cars, trucks and transit buses, the governors add.

This multi-state effort is intended to expand consumer awareness and demand for zero-emission vehicles. As a first step in this plan, the governors have identified specific actions they will promote within their states and joint cooperative actions the states will take to help build “a robust national market” for electric and hydrogen-powered cars. 

They agreed to pursue the following efforts:
  • Harmonize building codes to make it easier to construct new electric car charging stations
  • Lead by example by including zero emission vehicles in their public fleets
  • Evaluate and establish, where appropriate, financial and other incentives to promote zero emission vehicles
  • Consider establishing favourable electricity rates for home charging systems; and
  • Develop common standards for roadway signs and charging networks.
The eight states are among a group of states which have adopted rules requiring about 15 per cent of new vehicles sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2025.

Collectively, the eight signatory states represent more than 23 percent of the US car market. 

Market demand created by these state programmes can help lower zero-emission vehicle costs through economies of scale and expand the range of product lines available to consumers, it has been stated. 

US electric car sales in 2013 totalled about 96,000 vehicles, not quite double the 2012 total of about 52,000, itself up from 17,000 in 2011. 

It is expected that ZEVs in California alone will rise from 60,000 in 2018 to 230,000 in 2025. 

There are currently 16 zero-emission vehicle models available from eight automotive manufacturers; nine run completely on batteries, two on hydrogen fuel cells and five are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that can run on gasoline as well as battery power. The number of models is expected to increase for model year 2014 and beyond. Several electric vehicle models have won awards for safety, performance and customer satisfaction over the past couple of years, the eight governors noted.

There are over 6,700 charging stations open to the public in the signatory states. By 2015 nearly every major automaker will have zero emission vehicles available for sale or lease, and more than 200,000 zero-emission vehicles are expected to be on the road across the U.S.

Such clean vehicles will provide “a major foothold” in the battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their consequences, which include sea level rise, increases in extreme weather, and wildfire intensity, it has been stated. 

There are economic advantages as well, according to the governors of the eight US states.

Electricity is the most widely available source of power and, according their statement, typically costs about two-thirds less than gasoline on a per-mile basis. By 2025, the average zero-emission vehicle driver will save nearly US$6,000 in fuelling costs over the life of the car.

The drive for more plug-in electric vehicles however pushes the responsibility for emissions control to the source of the power, namely the power stations.

And hydrogen fuel cell vehicles ideally require a fuel supply infrastructure if owners of such vehicles wish to make extensive journeys without the risk of being stranded; and there additional implications in terms of educating drivers as to handling new types of fuel. 

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