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USA: New Electric Vehicle Consortium Packs a Powerful Punch

A new consortium of electric vehicle stakeholders has just launched a new EV demonstration project that promises to boost President Obama’s efforts to create a national EV infrastructure. Though consumer interest in EVs seems to surge with every spike in gas prices, a concerted public-private effort is needed in order to transform that desire into a workable mainstream alternative to fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

The public-private concept is nothing new, when you think of the public funds that generations of taxpayers have poured into creating our transportation infrastructure, which has long enabled the growth of private investment in automotive vehicles and in the fuels that propel them. The new Electrification Leadership Council includes both private sector industries and representatives from public sector agencies, so let’s see what it brings to the table in terms of broadening the reach of public transportation dollars beyond fossil fuels.

Heavy Hitters Go to Bat for Electric Vehicles

The kickoff membership of the Electrification Leadership Council is an interesting mix of some of America’s most familiar mainstream corporate and utility identities, along with some newcomers. The list includes FedEx, Hertz, Navistar, Azure Dynamics, A123 Systems, CODA Automotive, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, ECOtality, Automatiks, and GE Capital. In particular, FedEx’s participation will come as no surprise to regular readers of TriplePundit. The company has positioned itself as a sustainability leader with initiatives such as an EV “rolling laboratory,” a gigantic green roof at its O’Hare International Airport facility, and a high-visibility solar installation for the Washington Redskins’ FedEx Field.

A Focus on Sustainability, Macro and Micro

Though the broad mission of ELC is to propel the US into a transportation paradigm that addresses global warming and energy security issues over the long term, its immediate focus is on improving environmental quality in densely developed urban areas. This approach has the potential to yield tangible results in a relatively short period of time, not only on raw air quality data but on quality of life impacts that a person-on-the-street could observe, namely a marked reduction in the noise and smells emitting from neighborhood traffic.


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