Tucson closer to having network of electric-car chargers

March 5, 2009 Andrea Kelly

The Pima Association of Governments has voted to back creation of a network of electric-vehicle charging stations all around Tucson.

The plan, which is in its infancy and still has no financial backing, is tied to Nissan Motor Corp.'s making Tucson one of four cities in the country where it will unveil a new electric vehicle.

The PAG Regional Council voted Tuesday to sign a memorandum of understanding with the carmaker. On Friday PAG and Nissan plan to sign an official agreement as part of the kickoff for the association's weekend-long Clean Energy Expo.

The agreement says Nissan would be responsible for supplying electric vehicles to the region; providing information related to a battery-charging network; including incentives and public-education materials; and identifying groups to propose a plan for the electric infrastructure.

PAG would be responsible for working with Nissan's groups; considering incentives for electricity used in charging vehicles and incentives for putting in an electric-vehicle-charging network; organizing local groups and companies to work with the plans; and considering "the lease and/or purchase of vehicles from Nissan."

However, the agreement doesn't require PAG to purchase any electric vehicles, said Gary Hayes, PAG executive director. PAG is also not responsible for putting any direct funding into the program, only staff time, he said.

The document says PAG and Nissan agree "the implementation and expansion of electric vehicles ... is one of the best solutions to reduce CO2 emissions."

While electric vehicles themselves do not produce the emissions of a fossil-fuel-burning vehicle, electricity generation produces emissions. The Union of Concerned Scientists says coal is used to produce 54 percent of the nation's electricity "is the single biggest air polluter in the U.S."

Because PAG is a participant in the Clean Cities Coalition, it may qualify for one of two pools of money in the federal stimulus package, said Colleen Crowninshield, manager of the Clean Cities program.

In the stimulus, $300 million was set aside for Clean Cities programs to create infrastructure for alternative fuels. Another $400 million was set aside for "transportation electrification," Crowninshield said. There would be no local match requirement, she said.

If the agreement is signed Friday, PAG and Nissan will have 90 days to to come up with legally binding plans regarding what each will do "with respect to introduction and expansion of (electric vehicles) in the Tucson metro area."

"Everyone understands this could be a wonderful thing for the region," said Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup. "But if there are vehicles going to show up, they will only work if you can plug them in."

Officials here would like to get electric charging stations built into every parking garage, parking lot and street corner, Walkup said.

Nissan hopes to have its new electric vehicles on the road in Tucson in January 2010, Crowninshield said.

Nissan is planning to enter similar agreements in Sonoma, Calif., Portland, Ore., and in a Tennessee city, Crowninshield said. Nissan plans to do a "full vehicle launch" in these cities to introduce an electric vehicle.

"They feel we will be able to help them launch the new vehicle," Crowninshield said Tuesday.

The Regional Council voted 6-0 to approve the memorandum of understanding Tuesday.

(c) 2009 MCT

Explore further: Clean vehicle rebates benefit wealthy, white Californians, study finds

Related Stories

Toyota, Grenoble set stage for test in ride-sharing

September 14, 2014

Toyota is testing ride-sharing. As simple as that may sound, the experiment indicates an innovative model for the future of urban transportation. The Grenoble metro area could turn out to be the trial stage for a new city ...

Sparks Fly over Electric Car Funding

July 30, 2010

As the Senate struggles with energy legislation this week, one of the few fixes with bipartisan support is a bill that would invest billions in putting electric-powered cars and trucks on the road. But it’s not clear whether ...

Recommended for you

Samsung to disable Note 7 phones in recall effort

December 9, 2016

Samsung announced Friday it would disable its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in the US market to force remaining owners to stop using the devices, which were recalled for safety reasons.

Swiss unveil stratospheric solar plane

December 7, 2016

Just months after two Swiss pilots completed a historic round-the-world trip in a Sun-powered plane, another Swiss adventurer on Wednesday unveiled a solar plane aimed at reaching the stratosphere.

Solar panels repay their energy 'debt': study

December 6, 2016

The climate-friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them, a study said Tuesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.