WASHINGTON -- California, Connecticut and Maryland have demonstrated the greatest commitment toward developing an electric vehicle market among states that mandate automakers hit sales targets for zero-emission vehicles, according to a stakeholder group.
The Electrification Coalition, a nonprofit group of business leaders seeking to facilitate the deployment of EVs on a mass scale, ranked states based on an assessment of how they provide consumer incentives for purchasing EVs, make refueling infrastructure available and educate the public about the alternative drivetrains.
Coalition donors include Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn and Tony Posawatz, the former CEO of Fisker Automotive.
The rankings are intended as a guide to help policymakers and advocates spur adoption of electric vehicles.
California sets pace
California, using authority under federal law to set its own emissions standards and reduce harmful pollution levels, was first to require the sale of electric or hydrogen fuel car, with the exact number of EVs sold tied to an automaker's overall sales within the state. The ZEV program assigns each automaker credits based on the type of ZEV and its battery range and automakers must maintain ZEV credits equal to a set percentage of nonelectric sales. A plug-in hybrid, for example, gets fewer credits than a battery-electric vehicle. The required amount of credits rises through 2022.
Nine states have borrowed the California ZEV program.
Pure electric battery vehicles only represent about 1 percent of total new vehicle sales, with about 700,000 units on the road today, according to hybridcars.com. Automakers currently offer more than 50 hybrid and plug-in electric models, but most business has been in California because of its mature market, large eco-conscious population, optimal weather conditions for battery use and supportive policies.
The biggest barrier to the EV market is cost, according to experts.
The rankings coincide with recent automaker efforts to push states with ZEV mandates to do their share to encourage EV growth. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, for example, has written governors whose states have ZEV mandates asking for more investments in charging infrastructure, tax credits and other consumer incentives and fleet purchases of electric vehicles.
Other incentives options, proponents say, include access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes and preferred parking.
California ranks first in the inaugural ZEV State Policy Rankings because of strong purchase incentives, a vast network of existing and planned refueling infrastructure, and robust outreach programs.
Seven Northeast states have joined with automakers in Drive Change. Drive Electric, a campaign to increase consumer awareness about the growing availability of EVs, their virtues and incentives that make them more affordable. And a dozen states on the East Coast are coordinating their development of EV charging infrastructure.