Electric cars have been making headlines lately. Spurred by Volvo's decision to only introduce hybrid or battery powered models starting in 2019, media outlets have been speculating on the death knell of the internal combustion engine. While no one knows exactly when or if this will really happen, planners and transportation departments for state and local government understand that green cars are the future, and that necessary infrastructure needs to be established to support their use. Electrify America, from the auto manufacturer Volkswagen, may be one potential source of funding for advancing Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs).
The Electrify America Program
As a result of Volkswagen's "Dieselgate" settlement, they must contribute $2 billion for the promotion of zero emission transportation. Electrify America is the action plan to fulfill this requirement. Over the next 10 years, $800 million will be invested in California, a substantial market for ZEVs, and $1.2 billion will be invested in other states. Specific objectives include:
- Ensuring charging sites will be present in 38 states, along recently federally designated ZEV Charging Corridors, that will be on average 70 miles apart;
- Installing 300+ community-based charging stations outside of California in municipal lots, workplaces, retail and residential locations in eleven target metropolitan areas (Chicago, Denver, Houston, Boston, Miami, NY City, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle and DC);
- Installing ZEV infrastructure that will be compatible with vehicles from all major brand of autos sold in the U.S;
- Creating an educational campaign to educate the public on the benefits of ZEVs and to help consumers mitigate barriers to their use;
- Launching a Green City Initiative that hopes to make Sacramento a pilot for sustainable mobility, incorporating ZEV-based shuttle service, car-sharing programs and transit applications;
- Investing 35% of the program's resources in low-income communities.
Submitting a Proposal to Electrify America
Eligible applicants are Native American tribes, state and local governments, and the private sector. There was an initial submission period that ended on January 16, 2017, but proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis after that. Applicants not considered in the first cycle may be considered in subsequent cycles.
Eclectic Electric Car Tidbits
As electric vehicles (EVs) become more popular, it is natural to want to know more about them. Here are some surprising facts about EVs:
- The first electric car was pioneered by Scottish inventor Robert Anderson in 1832. By 1920, combustion engines were handily beating early design EVs to the finish line in the race to popularity.
- At one time, many of New York City's taxi-cabs were electric.
- The one hundred mile range for a fully charged battery (typical of many EVs) is enough for 90% of all U.S. noncommercial trips.
- The 100,000th U.S. plug-in car was sold some time in the spring of 2013.
- EVs can be charged by plugging them into a standard household 120-volt outlet. For those who do not want to wait overnight, faster charges require a dedicated 240-volt circuit and an electric car charging station.
- After the tsunami of 2011, Japanese auto makers released EV models with outlets that can serve as emergency power in case of an outage.
On Monday, July 24, eCivis and The Ferguson Group (TFG) co-hosted a webinar on how to prepare for three federal grant opportunities expected to be released in the coming months. The webinar also covered the importance of annually preparing a calendar of priority grants for your community and how planning ahead can boost your community's grants success.Grants covered were the: Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grants (TIGER), Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), and Brownfields Assessment Grants. A recording of the webinar can be accessed below: