White House designates 48 electric-car charging corridors on U.S. highways

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The White House, Washington, D.C.  [Creative Commons license by dcjohn]

The White House, Washington, D.C. [Creative Commons license by dcjohn]

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The White House today announced a range of actions intended to stimulate and speed up the deployment of zero-emission electric vehicles in the U.S.

It took these actions, it said, as part of its efforts to "combat climate change, increase access to clean-energy technologies, and reduce our dependence on oil."

Today's announcements are part of "a continued partnership between the Administration, states, localities, and the private sector" to achieve "shared goals" of electric-car deployment.

DON'T MISS: DC fast-charging in east, west coast corridors done, say VW, BMW

In a statement issued this morning, the Obama Administration listed several new and expanded efforts and programs:

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation will establish 48 electric-vehicle charging corridors along national highways that cross 35 states and cover almost 25,000 miles
  • A total of 28 states, electric utilities, carmakers, and other organizations have committed to accelerate charging infrastructure along these corridors
  • The Administration will partner with 24 state and local governments to add more plug-in electric vehicles to their fleets
  • Two separate Department of Energy studies are underway to determine optimal scenarios for deploying national electric-car charging infrastructure
  • The existing DoE Workplace Charging Challenge has gained 38 new members, among them businesses, universities, electric utilities, and nonprofit organizations

President Barack Obama sits in 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car at Detroit Auto Show, Jan 2016

President Barack Obama sits in 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car at Detroit Auto Show, Jan 2016

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The electric-vehicle charging corridors may be the most interesting development among this list.

The DoT's Federal Highway Administration today announced 55 Interstate highways that will be "alternative-fuel corridors," of which 48 will be designated electric-car corridors.

Existing or planned charging stations—presumably DC fast-charging for long trips—will be spaced at least every 50 miles.

CHECK OUT: Battle over VW's $2 billion fund for electric-car charging: sorting out the questions

And the states through which they pass will get access to standardized "signs developed by FHWA that identify electric-vehicle charging stations (and other alternative fuels,  along the highways similar to existing signage that alerts drivers to gas stations, food, and lodging."

How these efforts play out in practice, of course, will become more clear over the years to come.

But with Volkswagen having agreed to spend $2 billion over 10 years to assist deployment of zero-emission vehicle charging and fueling infrastructure, there's been much discussion over where and how that money will be spent.

The designation of federal EV corridors is likely to focus much of that effort, at least in DC fast-charging, along a common set of known routes.

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