It may soon be a lot easier and cheaper to buy and own an electric vehicle. Eight governors signed a cooperative agreement Thursday to boost sales of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Their plan, which will be developed over the next six months, is expected to drastically increase the number of charging stations and offer new financial incentives for car buyers. The governors’ goal is to start increasing sales now and eventually have 3.3 million ZEVs on the road by 2025.
A number of initiatives are included in the agreement:
- Financial incentives: Offer monetary incentives to consumers to reduce the high upfront costs of purchasing a ZEV.
- More charging stations: Coordinate building codes and charging station standards.
- Common signage: Develop common road signs for charging stations so drivers know exactly where they can get their next power boost.
- Utilities: Work with utility companies to lower electricity rates during certain charging times (time-of-use rates).
- Preferential treatment: Let ZEVs bypass traffic by offering HOV lane access and preferential parking.
The eight states include California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. According to a press release from the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board (ARB), those eight states make up almost a quarter of the U.S. automotive market. ARB says in the statement, “The market demand created by these state programs can help lower zero-emission vehicle costs through economies of scale and expand the range of product lines available to consumers.”
The governors’ goal of 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025 is a lofty one. Less than 140,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have been sold in the last three years, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), an industry group based in Washington, D.C.
The numbers for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are negligible, with less than 500 vehicles sold last year, Fortune reports.
Still, financial incentives have been shown to work before. When Nissan dropped the price of the 2013 Leaf by more than $6,000, March 2013 sales jumped 286.2 percent compared with March 2012, according to the company.
There is no word yet on exact plans for implementation or funding, as the state governments will be hashing out details over the next six months.
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