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Western governors plan electric-vehicle corridor

Seven western states have announced a plan to develop an electric vehicle corridor for the region. The governors of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming on Oct. 4 signed a memorandum of understanding to provide a framework for creating the Intermountain West Electric Vehicle Corridor "that will make it possible to seamlessly drive an electric vehicle" across the states' major transportation corridors.

The proposed corridor would span more than 5,000 miles of highway across east-west interstates 10, 40, 70, 76, 80, 84, 86, 90 and 94 and north-south interstates 15 and 25, a press release from the governors said.

More than 20,000 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are already on the roads in western states, and electrification of the major corridors is expected to reduce range anxiety and fuel more adoption of electric vehicles, or EVs. It could also transform the market to allow smaller communities to plug in to the regional system, the governors said.

The MOU calls for a coordination group to go through a series of steps that includes creating best practices and procedures to enhance EV adoption by promoting EV consumer acceptance and awareness and coordinating on EV charging station locations. The group also plans to create voluntary minimum standards for EV charging stations, including standards for administration, interoperability, operations and management, and to identify and develop opportunities to incorporate EV charging station infrastructure into planning and development processes like building codes, electricity metering policies and renewable energy generation projects.

Another step is to encourage EV manufacturers to stock and market a wide variety of EVs within the seven states. An update of progress on the effort will be given by April 1, 2018.