October 25, 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown talks to the media Monday at the National Governors Association's winter meeting in Washington, D.C.
Gov. Jerry Brown and governors of seven other states today
announced an initiative that aims to put 3.3 million zero-emission
vehicles on the roadways within a dozen years.
effort dovetails with California’s previously stated goal of putting 1.5
million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.
initiative takes the form of a memorandum of understanding signed by the
governors of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Officials said those states comprise nearly 25 percent of the U.S. vehicle market.
“Today’s announcement shows commitment from these states to support a
successful and growing market for electric vehicles, a key solution for
tackling climate change
and cutting our nation’s projected oil use in half over the next 20
years,” said David Reichmuth, senior engineer with the clean vehicles
program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “ ... Auto manufacturers,
lawmakers and citizens need to work together so that we can enjoy
cleaner vehicles across the United States. Today’s agreement, signed by
eight states representing a quarter of all new vehicles sales, is an
important step toward ensuring that the market for electric vehicles
continues to expand.”
The agreement spells out cooperative measures promoting zero-emission vehicles – or ZEVs – with goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and public health, fostering energy diversity, creating consumer savings and promoting economic growth.
ZEVs include battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid-electric
vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles. Increasing the number
of EV charging stations is a major component of the agreement.
called the initiative “not just an agreement, but a serious and
profoundly important commitment. From coast to coast, we’re charging
ahead to get millions of the world’s cleanest vehicles on our roads.”
York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he believes the effort 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
In Sacramento, a formal announcement of the
program will be made at 8:30 a.m. today at the California Environmental
Protection Agency building at 1001 I St. Various officials of the states
are scheduled to be on hand, along with representatives of the American
Lung Association and Consumer Federation of America. The Sacramento
announcement is being coordinated by the California Air Resources Board.
of the cooperative measures agreed to by the governors include:
harmonizing building codes to make it easier to construct new electric
vehicle charging stations, including ZEVs in public vehicle fleets,
establishing financial and other incentives to promote ZEVs, and
developing common standards for roadway signs and charging networks. The
governors also said they would consider establishing favorable
electricity rates for home-charging systems.
Officials said California and the other seven states will develop an action plan over the next six months.
all states, California has been the leader in sales of gas-electric
hybrids, electric vehicles and ZEVs. In recent years, automakers have
increased output of electric vehicles that, by technical definition,
have no harmful emissions. Recent, technology-laden model introductions
also include the all-electric Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt, a
passenger car that can run solely via a battery charged in a common home
electrical outlet, then continue via a charging process handled by an
on-board, standard-fuel engine.
Officials said there are currently 16 zero-emission vehicle models
available from eight automotive manufacturers. Hydrogen fuel cell
vehicle development is still in the early stages, but Toyota will unveil
its upcoming concept next month at the Tokyo Motor Show. Toyota aims to
sell the hydrogen fuel cell cars in the United States, Europe and Japan
by 2015. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from Hyundai, Honda and
Mercedes-Benz are also in the pipeline.
The biggest obstacle to
the proliferation of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has been a lack of
hydrogen fueling stations, but California could eventually lead that
effort with Brown’s recent signing of Assembly Bill 8. It extends, until
Jan. 1, 2024, existing fees on motor vehicles, boat registrations and
new tires. The fees fund programs to accelerate the turnover of older
vehicles and development of advanced, environmentally friendly
Officials at the West Sacramento-based California
Fuel Cell Partnership said the measure provides funding for at least 100
hydrogen stations with a commitment of up to $20 million a year from
the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and
Vehicle Technology Program. Last year, the partnership released “A
California Road Map” recommending 68 stations in strategic locations to
launch the commercial market and at least 100 stations to sustain it.