Energy Secretary Steven Chu rolled out a plan for an additional $5 million in federal funding to install more electric vehicle chargers in cities and a partnership with Google Inc. to make EV chargers easier to find.
The effort is aimed at helping to achieve President Obama's goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
"The initiatives announced today are just the latest steps in our broader efforts to reduce America's dependence on oil, improve our energy security, and save families and businesses money," Chu said Tuesday in a media conference call with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The $5 million will allow local governments and private companies to form partnerships and apply for grants. The money will go toward installation of charging stations and development of EV infrastructure at the local level. Participating communities must develop their own plans and apply through the Department of Transportation's Web site.
The funding is separate from money the administration has already pledged. As many as 30 communities across the country can receive as much as a $10 million grant each. The money would go toward public charging stations, electrified parking space access and municipal fleet conversions.
At the same time, the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory will work with Google and 80 industry partners to provide up-to-date information about EV charging stations in communities. The collaborators will create an online network of all U.S. charging stations using Google Maps to track charging availability for individuals.
On the automobile front, LaHood said DOT has been partnering with automakers and industry players to encourage EV production and higher fuel economy in the coming years.
Corporate average fuel economy standards rise to 35.5 miles per gallon by the 2016 model year.