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Valley Voice: Is there an electric vehicle in your future?

With the high price of fossil fuels and the growing investment in electricity from renewable sources, more people are thinking about buying electric vehicles. And that is a good thing.

About two-thirds of the air pollution in our valley comes from vehicle emissions. Cleaner vehicles mean cleaner air, less incidence of asthma and, of course, better views of our gorgeous mountains. Moreover, reducing our dependence on foreign oil improves our domestic economy, deprives revenue to unfriendly regimes and can help soothe global instability in the future.

The governor’s office has set a goal of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025 and has put together an action plan to help achieve that goal. While gasoline prices in California have hovered around $4 per gallon in recent months and most experts anticipate modest increases in the near-term future, utilities like Southern California Edison have electricity rates as low as $0.11/kWh for electric vehicle charging. That’s about $1 per gallon.

On the vehicle side, automobile manufacturers have made significant strides in deploying battery electric vehicle technology. For instance, Nissan recently announced that it was reducing the price of its battery electric LEAF to $28,800. After federal and state incentives, the LEAF is now available for purchase in California for just $18,800.

Apart from the LEAF, there are options like Chevrolet Volt, Ford Focus EV, Ford C-MAX Energi, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Toyota RAV4 EV, Honda Fit EV, Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid, and Tesla’s high-end Model S. In other words, electric vehicle sales are poised to multiply rapidly over the next five years, especially here in California and the Coachella Valley.

We want the Coachella Valley to be ready to accommodate the cleanest cars available on the market. A world-class resort area like ours deserves a state-of-the-art transportation system with the latest electric vehicle technology and benefits of electricity as a transportation fuel. To accommodate the anticipated increase in electric vehicles on the road, our community will need to expand the opportunities for drivers to charge their vehicles. Although most drivers will likely charge their vehicles at home, it will be important for drivers to have the opportunity to charge when they are commuting or running errands around town.
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