Power industry group, U.S. teaming up to push electric vehicles

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) said Monday that it is forming a new private-public partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to push electric vehicles.

Officials hope the collaboration will boost interest in and increase the sales of electric vehicles in the United States.

"The electric power industry is a tremendous leader in moving the electric transportation market forward, and we are excited to work with our federal partners to bring about the economic, environmental, and security benefits of transportation electrification," EEI President Tom Kuhn said. "Transportation electrification benefits electric utility customers while also bolstering America's energy security and sustainability. These are priorities our industry shares with our government partners."

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Kuhn signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue several joint ventures, among them research, infrastructure and outreach programs, all with the goal of accelerating the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, at the EEI convention in New Orleans.

"The U.S. transportation system produces a third of the country's carbon emissions, making it essential that we improve plug-in electric vehicle technology and increase their numbers on the road," Moniz said. "Today's announcement enhances the kinds of private-public partnerships needed to remain at the forefront of advanced vehicle technologies that reduce our emissions and provide safe, reliable transport for the American people."

Federal Chief Sustainability Officer of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Kate Brandt said it is estimated that by 2025, half of all new passenger vehicle purchases will be zero-emission or plug-in hybrid vehicles.

EEI's fleet electrification initiative has exceeded the anticipated $50 million annual industry commitment and is expected to top $90 million by the end of 2015.

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