May 29, 2014 at 11:25 am

8 states tout plans to boost EVs by 2025

Washington — The California Air Resources Board and eight states will update its progress in meeting a goal of getting 3.3 million zero emission vehicles the road by 2025 — in releasing its “action plan.”

California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont have signed on to regulations requiring automakers to build a rising number of electric vehicles and other zero emission vehicles like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Automakers are grudgingly building cars to meet the requirements, but argue demand isn’t there for the higher priced vehicles.

The board said the plan will be the first “formal document delivered by the group of East Coast and West Coast states since signing a memorandum of understanding to undertake this effort. The Multi-State Action Plan describes efforts the states can undertake collaboratively and individually to ensure the success of this groundbreaking effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles,” the board said.

Last fall, automakers and the states met in Washington to discuss the efforts.

In November, governors from the eight states signed a cooperative agreement in an effort to get 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads by 2025. California previously announced it wants to require 1.5 million EVs, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles on its roads by 2025

The governors vowed to work together to harmonize building codes to make it easier to construct new electric car charging stations; buy more zero-emission vehicles for government fleets; consider state incentives to boost zero-emission vehicles; look at ways to make home-recharging cheaper; and develop common standards for roadway signs and charging networks.

Those states have adopted rules requiring about 15 percent of new vehicles sold to produce no emissions by 2025. Collectively, the eight states represent more than 23 percent of the U.S. car market.

Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — the group representing Detroit's Big Three automakers and others — said states can help boost sales of electric cars.

"Automakers have a big stake in selling our electric vehicles in large numbers, and state incentives and investments in infrastructure can be the difference between a vehicle sitting on a dealer lot or being purchased," Berquist said in 2013.

She noted that California's sales rate of electric cars was seven times higher than the average rate in the northeast: "California has made tremendous commitments to support (zero-emission vehicles), from incentives to infrastructure investments and more."

Connecticut launched a grant program to speed construction of 200 publicly available electric vehicle charging stations by 2014, while Maryland and other East Coast states are working to develop a charging station network along the Interstate 95 corridor that will permit long-distance travel in electric cars throughout the region. New York is creating a statewide network of 3,000 charging stations by 2018.

The original "zero emission" mandate, set in 1990 by California, would have required the six largest automakers to produce 10 percent of their combined fleet as zero-emission vehicles by 2003, but that was scrapped after automakers fought it. The board has repeatedly revised the mandate.