The Patrick Administration and state environmental officials are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, bolstering Massachusetts' energy independence and growing the Commonwealth's clean energy economy, and recent announcements have helped the Administration get closer to those ambitious goals.
The Commonwealth is among states leading the way with the adoption of zero-emission and alternative-technology vehicles and vehicle-charging infrastructure. Zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) include battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell-electric vehicles. These technologies can be used in passenger cars, trucks and transit buses.
A number of programs are now being implemented through the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
In October, governors from eight states, including Massachusetts, announced a ground-breaking initiative to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads in their states by 2025. These governors, including Gov. Patrick, joined forces to help revolutionize the automobile market by promoting zero-emissions vehicles (or ZEVs).
Massachusetts joined California, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont in the effort to expand consumer awareness and demand for ZEVs, and to identify specific actions they will promote to help build a robust national market for electric- and hydrogen-powered cars. Those efforts include making it easier to construct new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, putting more ZEVs in state fleets, and developing common standards for roadway signs and charging stations. For more information on this agreement, go to: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/news/releases/governors-initiative-to-put-3-3-m-zevs-on-road-by-2025.html .
U.S. electric cars sales in 2012 more than tripled to about 52,000 from 17,000 in 2011, and motorists bought more than 40,000 plug-in cars in the first and second quarters of 2013. In Massachusetts, there are nearly 3,000 EVs on the road, and the target by 2025 under this eight-state agreement is 307,000 vehicles.
In order to start meeting that ambitious goal, Massachusetts recently awarded grants and announced new investments in three programs to support alternative-fuel vehicles and related infrastructure.
The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) is making up to $2.5 million available in grants to offset the cost of acquiring battery-electric and plug-in hybrid EVs and dual-head charging stations. MassDEP recently awarded $555,000 in grants to 20 municipalities to acquire 47 EVs and install 17 electric charging stations, which will be available to the public. MassDEP also announced that up to $2 million is still available under MassEVIP round two, which will award grants to cities and towns, public colleges and universities, the state fleet and private car-sharing services (such as Zipcar) to assist with the purchase of EVs and charging station infrastructure. Those grants are expected to be awarded in the spring.
EEA and DOER also recently announced that up to $11.7 million is available through the Clean Vehicle Project to further promote the adoption of EVs, install more charging stations and replace or convert more than 200 public and private fleet vehicles currently powered by gasoline or diesel with vehicles fueled by natural gas, propane, electricity, solar-electric and hybrid technologies. The program is administered by DOER.
DOER is also providing an additional $1.8 million in grants for eight electric school buses with vehicle-to grid capability as part of the Clinton Global Initiative's EV V2G School Bus Demonstration project. Electric school buses have energy storage capability and can serve as back-up energy resources during natural disasters and similar events.
For more information on these three electric- and alt-vehicle programs, go to: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/news/releases/grants-in-alternative-fuel-vehicles-announced-.html .