SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

October 25, 2013

Mass., seven other states join forces to promote clean cars

SAN FRANCISCO — Eight states, including Massachusetts, California and New York, pledged yesterday to work together to dramatically multiply the number of zero-emission cars on the nation’s roads by speeding the construction of charging stations and other infrastructure.

The goal is to put 3.3 million battery-powered cars, plug-in hybrids and other clean-burning vehicles on the roads in those states by 2025. That’s more than 15 times as many zero-emission vehicles projected to be in use in the entire U.S. by 2015.

Auto dealers say networks of charging stations and other conveniences are crucial to winning over drivers who are accustomed to pulling up to the gas pump and fear getting stranded by a dead battery.

The other states in the pact are Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont. The eight states together represent about 23 percent of the U.S. auto market.

The agreement signed yesterday requires no specific financial commitment from each state. But each has already launched incentive programs and other policies meant to increase sales of zero-emission vehicles.

For example, California offers up to $2,500 in buyer rebates. The state leads the nation in zero emission vehicle sales, with more than 33,000 sold through June 30, and has set aside an additional $59.55 million for some 29,000 rebates through mid-2014. The state has also dedicated $20 million annually through 2024 or until 100 hydrogen stations are built, whichever comes first.

Massachusetts pays incentives of up to $7,500 per vehicle to cities that buy electric models, and up to $15,000 for each charging station built. New York has set its own goal of adding a network of up to 3,000 charging stations over the next five years.

Industry data projects more than 200,000 zero-emissions vehicles on the nation’s roads by 2015. That’s out of more than 250 million registered vehicles in the U.S.

There are 16 zero-emission models from eight manufacturers on the market — nine that run on batteries alone, two hydrogen fuel cell cars and five plug-in hybrid models, which can run on battery alone or gasoline.

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