Public Power Association, Energy Department Get Electric Vehicles on the Grid

A new agreement between the American Public Power Association and the U.S. Department of Energy could help get the infrastructure behind electric cars where it needs to be for use on a wide scale.

Electric vehicles have long been full of future potential but have struggled with mainstream uptake (unless you happen to be in Norway).

But the American Public Power Association, working with the U.S. Department of Energy, are kicking things into overdrive. Last week, DOE entered into a partnership with APPA to help build out electric vehicle infrastructure around the country for an array of vehicle types, including private vehicles, public transit, and commercial fleets.

“Given our strong commitment to environmental stewardship, Public Power is honored to partner with the DOE to promote increased use of electric vehicles,” APPA President and CEO Sue Kelly said in a news release. “We want to be responsive to changing customer preferences and help our members prepare for the future of transportation.”

The effort complements a similar agreement announced last year between the Energy Department and the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned electric utility companies.

The announcement of the APPA-DOE partnership came a day after the White House outlined a broad set of actions—involving government, utilities, and manufacturers—to advance electric vehicle adoption. According to a White House news release, the initiative will leverage $4.5 billion in existing loan guarantees to help build out charging facilities for electric cars, pinpoint alternative fuel corridors to properly place charging stations, and encourage state and local governments to team with the federal government in procuring eco-friendly vehicles.

The White House doesn’t want people waiting around at these new charging stations, either: The government, which hopes to build a national network of fast-charging stations by 2020, is eyeing stations that eventually charge at rates as high as 350 kilowatts. That would be fast enough to charge a 200-mile-range electric vehicle in under 10 minutes, notes AutoBlog.

But perhaps the most exciting part of the endeavor that might be worth keeping an eye on is something being called an “Electric Vehicle Hackathon,” which will bring together smart people to help figure out smart charging solutions and innovations. The event will take place this fall.

David Friedman, the acting assistant secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, noted that APPA would play an important role in making this ambitious plan a reality.

“APPA has shown tremendous leadership in promoting EVs among its network of public utilities,” Friedman said in a news release, “and with this [memorandum of understanding], we are eager to work together to electrify transportation with clean and renewable power in our biggest cities and smallest towns, ensuring that EVs truly are everywhere.”

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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