WASHINGTON -- Automakers want states with zero-emission vehicle sales targets to put more resources behind the clean-air mandates.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has written nine governors whose states follow California's ZEV program asking for tangible steps to help increase sales, including more investments in EV charging infrastructure, expanded consumer incentives such as tax credits, and a commitment to buy more ZEVs for state and local government vehicle fleets.
The alliance, which represents a dozen U.S. and foreign automakers, says California has implemented programs to support its ZEV mandate and that Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, should follow its lead to jump-start the market.
Automakers have invested heavily in plug-in electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles and need to increase sales outside California. The state has been the epicenter for EV sales in the U.S. Under the state's ZEV program, automakers could count a sale in California toward its target quota in other states, but that accounting benefit expires this year and is forcing companies to sell clean cars elsewhere.
Several states targeted by the Alliance are already making more commitments to promote the use of EVs. A dozen East Coast states recently agreed to a joint strategy for expanding vehicle charging infrastructure so drivers can refuel. New York plans to invest $4.2 million to install high-speed EV charging states along the New York State Thruway. Several states are also in the processing of allowing public utilities to invest in car charging networks.
State officials say automakers also need to do a better job promoting EVs and fuel cell models.
Seven states have teamed up with the auto industry on an education campaign to spread the word about the availability of EVs, their benefits and various purchasing incentives.
As of June 11, there are 58 ZEV models on sale, including 34 plug-in hybrids, 21 battery electric, and three hydrogen fuel cells, according to the Department of Energy.
Low-emission vehicles, including hybrids, accounted for 3.2 percent of new-vehicle sales in 2017, or just over 560,000 vehicles, up 12 percent from 2015, according to Edmunds.