The Northwest will soon see a growing number of plug-in cars along with the public charging stations that Alan Mulally, President and CEO of Ford, emphasizes are key. Tesla, Nissan, Chevy, Fisker, Toyota, among others, have all committed to producing plug-in vehicles. This transformative technology forms a foundation for the Sustainable Communities Initiative recently launched by the U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Northwest has received several competitive federal grant awards that will help establish the charging and information infrastructure for plug-in cars. Our conference will explore how these grants will be implemented.This year the U.S. Department of Energy announced $2.4 billion in grants for plug-in technologies. Nissan and eTec received a $100 million federal grant with help from Idaho National Laboratory to install charging stations for owners of the all-electric Nissan Leaf in several regions, including Seattle, Portland and the Willamette Valley. The Puget Sound region also received a grant of $15 million for the Clean Cities petroleum-reduction project. These and other competitive federal grant awards will help establish the charging and information infrastructure for plug-in cars.
This year’s Cascadia Center TransTech Energy conference, to be held at Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., campus will be hosted with co-sponsors Microsoft, Clean Cities, Ford and Idaho National Laboratory. This will be the sixth conference focusing on the combination of transportation, technology and energy. Three years ago, Cascadia Center hosted a pioneering session to examine the potential of plug-in electric vehicles, and the conferences have continued to grow in scope and influence. On the first morning of this year’s conference Clean Cities will host panels with biofuel and electricity experts to discuss the future of local, sustainable alternative fuel in our region in the context of a “100 Mile Fuel Diet.” Sessions this year will also cover upcoming legislation and the potential impact to fleets in Washington State, and an introduction to the Evergreen Fleets certification program to help reach emission reduction goals.