Nebraska Clean Cities Coalition Webinar Features Nick Nigro, Electric Vehicle Infrastructure ExpertTweet
In November, the Nebraska Transportation Center hosted a teleconference and webinar presentation discussing electrified transportation, dealing specifically with research, exploration and potential participation in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and PEV charging stations in Nebraska. Conference speaker Nick Nigro is Manager of Transportation Initiatives at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).
C2ES convened the PEV Dialogue Group in early 2011 to create an Action Plan identifying the necessary steps for integrating PEVs into electrical grids nationwide.
At the NTC conference, Nigro presented an overview of the Action Plan for integrating PEVs and answered questions from conference participants. The Action Plan represents phase I of a larger initiative to pave the way for the adoption of PEVs nationwide, helping to level the playing field through the initiation of standard regulatory practices. Phase II aims to work with stakeholders “on the ground” to go about implementing the Action Plan with industry and political leaders across the country.
“If the states act [to create positive regulatory support], we’ll see the market for plug-in electric vehicles grow much quicker than otherwise,” Nigro said.
The Action Plan covers four major areas: (1) the creation of a consistent regulatory framework nationwide, (2) the optimization of public and private investments in charging stations for PEVs, (3) the facilitation of PEV rollout, and (4) the education of consumers. A consistent national regulatory framework for PEVs and PEV-related services is important in order to encourage car manufacturers wishing to develop vehicles that can be sold in all 50 states.
Nigro discussed opportunities to accelerate private investment and encourage innovative business models, while also acknowledging that PEVs warrant some public investment in infrastructure, such as charging stations or upgraded neighborhood electrical transformers to facilitate home charging. Before a consumer commits to purchasing a PEV, it is necessary that the purchase and home installation of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) be affordable. Connecting the stakeholders—in other words, distributors, manufacturers and maintenance firms—in this value chain will advance PEV rollout. The entire effort hinges on potential customers being aware of the product. Bridging the consumer information gap about PEV technology can be accomplished through a combination of cutting-edge online resources and traditional touch-and-feel experiences that can illustrate the joy of driving these cars.
Following the presentation, Nigro provided a web address where a free download of the Action Plan is available (c2es.org).
Attendees’ questions focused on what should be done in the Midwest, specifically in Nebraska. Nigro replied that because plug-in electric vehicles would be widely available within 10 years and represent a growing share of all new vehicle sales, PEVs warrant some amount of public investment. He suggested that in addition to setting up the regulatory framework for infrastructure, policy-makers at all levels of local government should commit time to researching and understanding PEVs to develop an understanding of how reforming the automobile market can happen for the benefit of their own municipalities and states.
“The states continue to be the incubator of new technologies,” Nigro said.
As noted in a recent article in the Lincoln Journal Star, cities in Nebraska are already implementing portions of the Action Plan as they gear up for electric cars. It has been reported that charging stations for electric cars either have been installed or will be installed soon in South Sioux City, Seward, Albion, Bellevue, Lexington, Nebraska City, Ogallala, and Kimball.
Electric vehicles and charging stations represent a growing demand for increased transportation options. Going forward, NTC remains committed to meeting that demand by exploring all avenues of research into building sustainable infrastructure in Nebraska.
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