Clean Cities Can Help Local Governments Pave the Way for Electric Vehicles

May 16, 2011
by Julie Sutor 

As communities throughout the country grapple with rising gas prices, electric vehicles and hybrids are getting more attention than ever. And municipalities are playing key roles in realizing the promise these vehicles hold for improving the nation's energy security. The U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities initiative offers local governments valuable tools and resources for successful deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure. 

Located in nearly 100 communities across the country, Clean Cities Coalitions are but one important resource to help municipalities get started with electric vehicles. 

Coalitions offer technical assistance, networking opportunities with key stakeholders and training and workshops, and help with project proposals to public and private fleet managers who want to reduce petroleum consumption. 

Financial resources available through Clean Cities also help prepare local governments for EV deployment. 
Just last month, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the availability of $5 million in Clean Cities funding for community-based efforts to deploy electric vehicle infrastructure and charging stations. 

Local governments and private companies can partner to apply for funding to develop plans and strategies for deployment, update permitting processes, develop incentive programs, or launch other local or regional initiatives that help bring these vehicles into the marketplace. 

More information, including application instructions and deadlines, is available at www.fedconnect.net under the title "DE-FOA-0000451 Clean Cities FY 2011 FOA." 

To help cities learn more about the wide range of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles, Clean Cities stocks its Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) website (www.afdc.energy.gov) with the most current technical and policy information. 

The AFDC's section on electric vehicles and hybrids features in-depth information about technology basics, available vehicle models, charging equipment, maintenance and safety. It also contains a tool that calculates average well-to-wheels emissions of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) based on the sources of electricity in a given geographic location. 

"This collection of information will be extremely valuable to cities and regions that are getting ready for EVs and PHEVs," Clean Cities Co-Director Linda Bluestein said. "They can take advantage of the work already done by early leaders, so no one will have to reinvent the electrically powered wheel." 

Through an online collection of case studies in electric vehicle deployment, including four U.S. locations on the leading edge of home-charging implementation, the AFDC provides public officials with a blueprint for permitting procedures, tax incentives, regulatory mechanisms, technical guidelines, equipment inspection requirements and more. The case studies can be found at www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/EV_case_studies

Finally, as the successful deployment of EVs and PHEVs will largely hinge on drivers' ability to charge their vehicles quickly and conveniently the AFDC provides consumers and fleets with location information for more than 600 charging stations through the Alternative Fueling Station Locator. To access the Station Locator, visit www.afdc.energy.gov/stations

Details: Electric vehicles have been identified as a priority issue by NLC's Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources (EENR) Policy Committee this year. To learn more about EENR's work on this issue, contact Carolyn Berndt at berndt@nlc.org. To learn more about NLC's work on sustainability contact sustainability@nlc.org

Julie Sutor works in the Communications Office at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which supports the Clean Cities Program. Clean Cities advances the country's energy, economic and environmental security by supporting local decisions to reduce petroleum consumption in transportation. For more information about Clean Cities, visitwww.cleancities.energy.gov.