Category: National News

Washington, DC - The Obama Administration is committed to taking responsible steps to combat climate change and reduce our dependence on oil. That is why today, the White House and the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned electric utilities, are announcing new commitments by more than 120 businesses, non-profits, and schools, including more than 70 Edison Electric Institute utility companies, to purchase electric vehicles and technologies and to install workplace charging stations.

Today’s commitments demonstrate that businesses across the U.S. are investing in the technology that will enhance our energy security by reducing our dependence on oil, promoting measures to cut fuel costs for American families and businesses, and helping the U.S. continue to cut carbon pollution. In fact, electric vehicles can actually get cleaner as they get older, because the grid they are plugged into can be powered by cleaner energy over time. Today’s announcements include:

The commitments made today will create new demand, bringing the U.S. one step further to achieving the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge President Obama launched in March 2012. The goal of the challenge is to become the first nation in the world to produce plug-in electric vehicles that are as affordable for the average American family as gasoline-powered vehicles. Since 2009, the cost of battery technology has already come down by more than 60 percent.  As costs have fallen and vehicle choice has grown, plug-in electric vehicle sales continue to grow rapidly.  Sales in the first ten months of 2014 were nearly 25 percent higher than during the same period in 2013. Today, 13 manufacturers offer 19 electric vehicle models, presenting consumers with real choices as they look to adopt new technology, enhancing the competitive position of U.S. industry, and driving job creation through American innovation.

Electric Utilities Leading By Example: More than 70 electric utility companies today announced a commitment to devote at least 5 percent of their annual fleet acquisition budgets to purchasing plug-in electric vehicles and technologies, totaling investments of approximately $50 million per year. The companies will meet the 5 percent commitment by purchasing a variety of technologies, from electric passenger cars to medium- and heavy-duty work trucks with electric Power Take Off (ePTO) systems that power the trucks at worksites without the need to run the engine. Deploying plug-in vehicles in utility fleets carries a powerful message to the community about the capabilities of plug-in technology. By adopting plug-in technologies in their own fleets, utilities will be better equipped to enable their customers – including commercial fleets – to follow suit. This is an unprecedented effort by the electric utility industry to lead by example, and drive the electric vehicle market. Examples of companies making the commitment today include:

Leading U.S. Organizations Stepping Up To The Workplace Charging Challenge: The Energy Department’s Workplace Charging Challenge encourages America’s employers to commit to providing EV charging access for their workforce.  After the home, the workplace is the most likely place a vehicle will spend time parked – a significant opportunity to expand our nation’s charging infrastructure. In fact, the ability to charge at work can potentially double a PEV driver's all-electric daily commuting range. The Workplace Charging Challenge has grown to 150 members since its launch in January 2013 with 13 founding members.  Today, 61 new businesses, non-profits, and universities are joining the challenge:

Enhancing Aggregated Purchasing To Simplify EV Adoption: The U.S. Department of Energy is also announcing a Notice of Intent to support new, competitively-awarded projects of up to $2 million, to enable aggregated purchases of EVs and other advanced technology vehicles. Aggregated purchasing maximizes customers’ collective buying power by taking advantage of volume pricing and helps provide manufacturers with an assured sales base. Often when attempting to assemble themselves into groups to aggregate purchasing power, companies run into hurdles that inhibit their ability to coordinate—for example the lack of innovative financing mechanisms that allow a diverse group of companies to participate. This funding would help pay for that coordination function and create additional models of successful aggregate purchases that could be applied by other groups. Aggregated purchasing provides an opportunity for manufacturers and suppliers to lower costs through assured purchases and for fleet operators and other customers to benefit from more favorable pricing. 

Today’s actions build on substantial progress.  Since President Obama took office, the number of Federal fleet EVs in operation has grown significantly from only 57 in FY 2009 to nearly 4,000 in FY 2013, and the number of hybrid electric vehicles in the Federal fleet has grown significantly from fewer than 1,800 in FY 2008 to nearly 16,000 in FY 2013.  Just last week, the Los Angeles Air Force Base became the first Federal facility to replace 100 percent of its general purpose vehicle fleet with plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). With 42 vehicles and charging stations, LA Air Force Base represents the largest PEV vehicle fleet on a federal facility -- and the largest Vehicle to Grid (V2G) demonstration in the world. Eight states have also committed to putting 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025, in part by including them in their own public fleets.