The governors of Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide a framework for creating a regional electric vehicle plan for the West. The plan was announced Oct. 4 at an energy conference hosted by the National Governors Association in Salt Lake City.
The plan spans more than 5,000 miles of highway across east-west Interstates 10, 40, 70, 76, 80, 84, 86, 90 and 94, and north-south Interstates 15 and 25.
With more than 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids already on the roads in Western states, the electrification of these major corridors “is expected to reduce range anxiety and drive further adoption of EVs, while transforming the market to allow smaller communities to plug into the regional system,” said a news release from the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development.
“Upon signing this memorandum, any future additional signatory state may propose to include additional interstates within their boundaries,” said the memorandum of understanding, or MOU.
The MOU calls for a coordination group to undertake the following actions:
• Create best practices and procedures that will enhance EV adoption by promoting EV consumer acceptance and awareness by addressing range anxiety;
• Coordinate on the locations of EV charging stations, minimize inconsistencies between charging infrastructure in each state, and leverage economies of scale;
• Create voluntary minimum standards for EV charging stations, including standards for administration, interoperability, operations, and management;
• Identify and develop opportunities to incorporate EV charging station infrastructure into planning and development processes, such as building codes, metering policies, and renewable energy generation projects;
• Encourage EV manufacturers to stock and market a wide variety of EVs within the signatory states; and
• Identify, respond to, and where possible collaborate on funding opportunities to support the development of the Regional Electric Vehicle West EV Corridor.
States said to have significant EV market potential
Last December, the governors of Colorado, Utah and Nevada said they would work together over the next year to develop complementary plans for building an electric vehicle charging network across key highways in their states.
Colorado, Utah and Nevada each has significant EV electric vehicle market potential, according to a news release posted on Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's website.
Specifically, Colorado offers a $5,000 tax credit on EV purchases, which the news release described as one of the best incentives in the country.
Utah currently ranks seventh in the U.S. for electric vehicle adoption, according to the news release. The state also recently unveiled its "Mighty Five Corridor" initiative, which will make EV transportation to its national parks possible through the installation of DC fast-charging stations along interstates.
Nevada is ranked 13th in the nation for electric vehicles, with 2,104 electric vehicles and 31,937 hybrid vehicles registered in that state.
In July 2016, the American Public Power Association and the Department of Energy said that they would pursue collaborative efforts to advance EV adoption and charging infrastructure construction in public power communities across the United States.
In signing a memorandum of understanding, APPA President and CEO Sue Kelly and David Friedman, DOE’s acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, said they would both work to develop information and resources to increase education and awareness about the benefits of EVs to public power utilities and local officials in a partnership called "EV Everywhere — Public Power Charged."
A year ago, a federal judge approved a partial settlement with Volkswagen in the VW emissions-cheating scandal that will cost the car manufacturer $14.7 billion over 10 years.
As part of that settlement, Volkswagen will have to invest $2 billion over the next decade in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and in the promotion of zero-emission electric vehicles. The settlement also includes $2.7 billion over three years for an environmental trust to remediate the illegal levels of nitrogen oxides emitted by the VW vehicles.
EVs are part of DOT's alternative fuel corridors
Last November, the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration unveiled 55 routes that will serve as the basis for a national network of alternative fuel corridors cutting across 35 states.
The announcement included designating 48 out of the 55 routes electric vehicle charging corridors, totaling almost 25,000 miles of electric vehicle routes in the 35 states, the White House said.