GM, Honda endorse policy accord for EV infrastructure

General Motors and Honda Motor Co. have endorsed principles meant to guide local, state and federal policymakers on how to develop energy infrastructure for electrified vehicles.

The Transportation Electrification Accord was also signed by dozens of other vehicle manufacturers, utilities, smart-grid application providers, labor groups, consumer advocates and environmental organizations that want utility regulators to set rules that help overcome barriers to electrification and encourage their customers to go electric.

Such rules would create certainty for electric transportation investors, the groups say.

“We envision a world with zero emissions,” said Britta Gross, director, GM’s advanced vehicle commercialization policy, in a statement Tuesday. “That’s the future and the accord lays out the essential building blocks for a compelling energy infrastructure that we can all rely on for decades to come. Innovations in transportation electrification will benefit society as a whole — and cross-industry, multi-stakeholder cooperation is key.”

Many public utility commissions are beginning to consider rate adjustments and other incentives to enable utilities to encourate off-peak EV charging and support deployment of charging stations at multi-residential dwellings, fuel retailers, highway rest stops and other locations. The accord, which is open for other groups and businesses to sign, outlines how transportation electrification can be advanced in a way that benefits utility customers and users of all forms of transportation.

The nation’s first multisector accord on electrification is the latest initiative this year to pump up the electric vehicle market. Plug-in EVs accounted for only 1.1 percent of U.S. sales last year, according to IHS Markit, and they are forecast to be less than 5 percent of the domestic market through 2021.

Last month, a dozen East Coast states signed onto a regional strategy for deploying charging stations. Earlier, several states with mandates for zero-emission vehicles partnered with automakers on an education campaign to raise awareness among consumers about the availability of new EV models, their potential benefits and how to take advantage of government purchase incentives. Automakers are also pressing ZEV states to do more to encourage EV adoption, including through infrastructure investment.

“It’s the Wild West out there,” Jack Gillis, incoming executive director at the Consumer Federation of America, said. “Transportation electrification is new to consumers, society and many policymakers. The accord gets us all on the same page about what we want the future of transportation electrification to look like and help ensure that this growing trend benefits all consumers.”

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