DOE: Electric-Vehicle Infrastructure Catching On Across The U.S.


As a result of the Obama administration's efforts to encourage electric-vehicle (EV) manufacturing and infrastructure, more than 1,800 EV chargers have been installed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and that number is set to skyrocket over the next two years, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu has announced.

Since 2009, the DOE has invested more than $5 billion in grants and loans to spur the growth of the U.S.' electric-vehicle and advanced battery manufacturing industry. Under the Transportation Electrification Initiative (TEI), which received $400 million under ARRA, companies – led by Coulomb Technologies, ECOtality and General Motors – are developing, deploying and analyzing EVs and EV infrastructure, and educating the public to help accelerate the market adoption of advanced electric vehicles.

The eight projects under the TEI will result in the deployment of over 13,000 grid-connected vehicles and over 22,000 charging points in residential, commercial, and public locations nationwide by December 2013. Through these cost-shared projects, the DOE will collect information about how consumers use and charge electric vehicles, which will be critical to informing the broader rollout of electric vehicles and chargers nationwide.

Coulomb's project includes the deployment of electric vehicles, as well as establishing 4,600 EV charging locations nationwide. The vehicles and charging infrastructure will be deployed in residential, workplace and public locations in Austin, Texas; Los Angeles; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Redmond, Wash.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Francisco; southern Michigan; and Washington, D.C. In addition to the DOE's investment, Coulomb is providing $22.9 million in cost share, for a total project value of $37.9 million.

The DOE also recently announced the availability of $5 million in EV funding for local governments and private companies to continue to accelerate the installation of EV charging stations and infrastructure. Communities will work to develop plans and strategies for EV deployment, update their EV permitting processes and develop incentive programs.

In addition, the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory is partnering with Google Inc. and various industry leaders to provide consumers with consistent, up-to-date information about the EV charging stations in communities nationwide. Drawing on Google Maps, this new collaboration will coordinate an online network of all U.S. charging stations and will serve as the primary data source for GPS and mapping services tracking EV charging locations.

‘President Obama has set an ambitious goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015,” says Chu. “Investing in the U.S. electric-vehicle industry will help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs for U.S. workers, and provide American families and businesses with alternatives to protect them from future spikes in gas prices. Building energy-saving electric cars and trucks, and the infrastructure to power them, will help Americans save money at the pump and improve the nation's energy security.’

Photo credit: Coulomb Technologies

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