The Washington D.C. metropolitan area is one of three key markets for the roll-out for the current wave of electric cars and yesterday residents of Maryland were given a whole new set of incentives to go electric.

Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley signed two historic bills into state law to give residents an additional $2,000 excise motor vehicle tax credit in addition to the $7,500 federal tax credit available to customers purchasing an electric car. The state incentive will commence in October 1 2010 and last until July 1, 2013.

In addition to knocking off a total of $9,500 in tax credits off the purchase of a new plug in electric car, a second law passed yesterday will enable any plug in electric vehicle to occupy High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle. This will also commence on October 1 2010, and last for three years.

The laws are of particular interest to Nissan and GM, both of whom will be commencing sales of their new plug in electric vehicles this year, the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2012 GM Volt.

While Maryland is one of the smaller states in the country, its residents have ranked number one for the highest median income for three years in a row, at $70,545.

Tom Stephens, Vice Chairman of GM Global Product Operations congratulated the state of Maryland for its forward thinking attitude to electric vehicles,

"Consumer incentives such as access to HOV lanes and tax credits make a real difference in the market place and can drive consumers to adopt new technologies. GM commends Governor O'Mally and the state of Maryland for recognizing the important role these new vehicle technologies and the Chevrolet Volt will play in addressing the energy and climate priorities of the state and our country."

Maryland already has an active electric vehicle community comprising of the Electric Vehicle Association of DC (EVA/DC), one of the more active electric vehicle organizations in the U.S.  The EVA/DC was formed in 1980 and is a non-profit (501 [c]3) organization dedicated to promoting the use of electric vehicles.  They hold regular meetings, assist local schools and universities in making electric cars and host the annual Power of DC EV drag racing weekend in Hagerstown, MD.