Texas, already the nation's leader in wind power, is poised to become a leader in electric vehicles:
Vehicles powered by internal combustion engines are a major source of emissions in Texas, significantly contributing to smog (ozone) and other greenhouse gases. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) estimates that roughly 46 percent of all NOx emissions in Texas can be attributed to mobile sources.
A 2007 study conducted by Electric Power Research Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that widespread use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles could dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve ambient air quality.
The report also found that by using electricity produced from diverse domestic resources, plug-in cars can reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil. The study (www.epri-reports.org) measured the impact of increasing numbers of plug-in hybrid vehicles over the next 40 years, including the environmental benefits of using large vehicle fleets powered by electricity from the grid as their primary fuel source.
Among the EPRI study's key findings:
While it is difficult to predict just how many jobs will be created from the mass production of vehicles and components powered by electricity, there is enormous potential for economic development in this emerging industry. A new study released by the Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at the University of California, Berkeley, estimates up to 350,000 new jobs may be created from the mass-market adoption of electric vehicles by 2030.
Last December, several U.S. battery companies formed a consortium to spur innovation of the next generation of plug-in vehicles batteries domestically. Growth in this industry is expected to not only put downward pressure on the cost of the batteries, but create new jobs for scientists, engineers, designers and others. In Texas, several technology companies and investors have signaled interest in building manufacturing facilities that could create thousands of new jobs. The construction of an infrastructure needed to support plug-in vehicles, including public and private re-charging stations, also should stimulate economic activity and add new jobs.
The Obama Administration has indicated strong support for measures intended to create new “green,” including jobs specifically associated to the manufacture of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. In fact, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka, the stimulus package) specifically sets aside funds designed to promote plug-ins:
The new tax credits will range from between $2,500 to $7,500, depending on the plug-in vehicle’s battery capacity and other factors. For example, the Chevrolet Volt, due out in late 2010, has sufficient capacity to be eligible for the maximum credit of $7,500.
Austin Energy’s Plug-In Austin Initiative
The Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technologies (CCET)
Central Texas Clean Cities – Electric Vehicle Incentives
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/cleancities/electricvehiclerebate.htm City of Houston: Power of the Plug-In http://www.houstontx.gov/plugin/index.html
Electric Drive Transportation Association
Environment Texas study Plug-in Cars: Powering America Toward a Cleaner Future
Environmental Defense Fund Green Jobs Guidebook
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) Clean Cities/Alternative Energy Program
Project Get Ready, an RMI Smart Garage Initiative – Partner City: Houston
The Pecan Street Project – An Austin community smart grid project