The US has announced a major new push to expand America's alternative fuels and vehicle charging network, unveiling plans for electric, hydrogen and other refuelling stations on 55 routes across US highways.
The ambitious national network – spanning 35 states (see map) – covers nearly 85,000 miles, and allows electric car owners to travel across America from the east to west coast.
The route will be ‘sign-ready’ - featuring new signs alerting drivers where they can find fuel for their alternative fuel vehicles. The signs are similar to existing signs alerting drivers to petrol stations, food and accommodation.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: ‘Alternative fuels and electric vehicles will play an integral part in the future of America’s transportation system.’
The network is considered a framework on which to expand the alternative fuel network (AFN) as additional refuelling stations are built.
In 2015, the United States pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% or more by 2050. It is hoped the alternative fuel corridors will help to spur uptake of low emission vehicles and reduce transportation emissions, the greatest source of US greenhouse gas emissions.
According to new FHWA data, US drivers consumed nearly 72 billion gallons of gasoline in the first half of 2016 – a 3% increase over the same period in 2015 and the largest percentage increase in nearly two decades. They drove more than 3.15 trillion miles last year.
‘Identifying where alternative fuelling stations can be found will help the public in many ways,’ said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. ‘This initial designation sets the stage for the next round of nominations early next year and begins a conversation with stakeholders about developing and implementing a vision to enable coast to coast travel using alternative fuels.’
If alternative fuel vehicle use were to grow in the US, this could lead to greater economies of scale, reductions to battery costs, and, ultimately, cheaper vehicles in Europe. The initiative also reflects Toyota's new plans for mass production of long-range electric vehicles from 2020.
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