Blog Region to Benefit From $2.4 Billion Federal Program Bolstering Electric Cars

A rendering of an eTec fast-charge station. Source: Sustainable Industries
On Wednesday, President Obama announced a $2.4 billion grant program “for manufacturing advanced batteries and other components for electric cars,” according to the New York Times.

The money comes from the economic stimulus package and is intended to further several goals: cutting dependence on petroleum, reducing carbon emissions, creating jobs and giving the United States a better start on what is likely to be a competitive global industry as companies start bringing electric cars to market.

In the Cascadia Corridor, Seattle as well as Eugene, Corvallis, Salem and Portland, Ore., will benefit from a grant of just under $100 million and which was awarded to Phoenix-based eTec (Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation). Some of that grant will be used to facilitate the “installation of 2,250 charging systems for electric vehicles in the Seattle area, and about 10,000 more in other metropolitan areas,” according to industry publication Sustainable Industries.

In Seattle, eTec expects to install charging stations–which will work with any EV that uses an industry-standard connection–in the homes of EV owners at no cost and in office buildings and other public areas. eTec will also install 50 “fast-charge” systems around Seattle which can deliver a “meaningful charge” in about 15 minutes, according to Colin Read, vice president of corporate development for Ecotality, eTec’s parent company. Each charging station could cost between $1,500 and $2,500 to install, according to Fryer.

Cascadia Center has long articulated the need for building the infrastructure to facilitate the deployment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. We have argued that Seattle’s Eastside is prime territory to transform park-and-ride lots into high-tech hubs with plug-in electric vehicle stations, joint housing, retail services, technology-office clusters and many transportation choices.
Cascadia’s Depiction of the South Kirkland Transportation Hub
Cascadia Center’s depiction of what the park and rides of the future can look like is a model for which to strive. As Cascadia’s Bruce Agnew and Steve Marshall have argued, instead of “dead zones,” park and rides should become multi-modal hubs where cars can be charged and which connections to buses and commuter rail (such as that which could run on the Eastside corridor) could be made. Our South Kirkland Transportation Hub depiction (above) represents our vision for what is possible and one way that electric vehicles could fit into a broader system.
Wednesday’s grant announcement also includes, according to the New York Times, $22 million to Cascade Sierra Solutions for truck stop electrification, “to install electric outlets in truck stops and to help modify 5,450 trucks so that when drivers park, the cabs can be heated or cooled without idling their diesel engines.”
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