- California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont are signatories to a new pact.
- They want to make it easier for people to own and drive zero-emissions vehicles by promoting development of fueling and battery charging stations, eliminating regulatory obstacles and providing incentives.
- Their goal is to see 3.3 million emissions-free vehicles on the road by 2025.
SACRAMENTO, California — It's not always easy to own an electric car or other zero-emissions vehicles. Fueling and battery charging stations are often hard to find, some building codes prevent people from installing home or commercial fueling, and the purchase price can be prohibitive.
But eight states, led by California, have zero-emissions vehicle mandates on their books and they have banded together in an effort to overcome those obstacles.
The states have agreed to work together to promote ZEV ownership, in part by working with private industry to foster development of the necessary fueling stations — both electrical charging facilities for plug-in vehicles and hydrogen stations for the fuel-cell electric cars that will begin being offered for sale in parts of the U.S. by 2015.
Additionally, the eight states in the new coalition have agreed to harmonize their building codes to make it easier for individuals and commercial developers to install EV chargers and other types of fueling stations in private residences, apartment complexes and at commercial and retail sites as well as on major highway corridors.
Also on tap is development of a common type of signage to help motorists find publicly available fuel for ZEVs, which are defined as vehicles with no harmful tailpipe emissions. The coalition didn't address emissions from the production of the fuels needed by such vehicles.
The states — California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont — include a significant portion of the nation's population and represent a big slice of the national new-car market.
That gives them a lot of clout with automakers, and representatives of several of the states said they will be working closely with the auto industry to promote development of a wide range of zero-emissions vehicles.
Mary Nichols, chairwoman of California's powerful air quality regulatory board, said the eight-state agreement has been designed to help address "all of the practical considerations that make it difficult" for many consumers to consider purchase of an EV or fuel cell electric vehicle.
She said the states will be publishing an action plan by the middle of next year.
Edmunds says: Easing building codes and helping develop a fuel network will help, but automakers still have to build zero-emissions vehicles that people want and can afford. That's the bigger challenge.