In the race to save the environment, one of the most important things is reducing greenhouse gas emissions to lessen the global carbon footprint. One of the biggest ways to achieve this is to look for alternative options when it comes to transportation. Cars are required to get from one place to another, so the question is how to make them more environmentally friendly? Over the last few years, numerous research and development teams have worked side-by-side with car companies to develop electric vehicles to reduce carbon footprints. Now numerous countries around the world are setting up electric car initiatives to make them more accessible and widely available for use by the general public.
1) Germany’s Electric Car Initiative. The German government, in 2010, made a major push to increase electric mobility. The German Chancellor met with a number of officials within the government, science industry, and the energy and automobile energy to learn how to streamline current electric mobility efforts in the country. Because Germany was the first to build cars in the twentieth century, they feel the importance to be the leading nation in the electric car initiative. The government is funding $700 million into electric mobility test initiatives, including plans for the development of a charging station infrastructure. Daimler, one of the top automotive companies in Germany is not only creating hybrid cars, but also hydrogen fuel cells.
2) Washington D.C. Sponsored Electric Vehicle Initiative. At the 2010 Clean Energy Ministerial held in Washington D.C., the ministers continued to affirm their previously made commitment to deploying the Electric Vehicles Initiative, a forum for international cooperation on the development and the deployment of electric vehicles and increasing their commercial uptake. Countries participating agree to create pilot city programs for the promotion of electric vehicle demonstrations and dissemination of information regarding vehicle technology development and electric vehicle deployment targets.
3) United States - China Electric Vehicles Initiative. In 2009, the Chinese and American governments agreed at the Electric Vehicles Forum to increase and work upon the shared interest in amplifying the use of electric vehicles to eventually eliminate oil dependence as well as an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while, at the same time, promoting feasible economic growth. The joint Electric Vehicle Initiative includes within a joint development standard, a number of demonstration projects in a variety of cities in both the United States and China, technical road mapping, and projects to disseminate information to the general public.
4) Taiwan Electric Car Initiative. 2009 saw the Taiwanese Ministry of Economic Affairs make an announcement about the beginning of an electric car industry research consortium. While the country currently provides subsidies for those purchasing electric motorcycles, the government is set to create new policies to promote the purchase of electric cars in the near future. Because of Taiwan’s large electronics and information technology sectors, when mixed with the automobile industry, Taiwan could prove to be a leader in the electric car market.
5) United Kingdom Electric Car Initiative. Not to be outdone, the United Kingdom has come up with its own Electric Car Initiative. The United Kingdom-based initiative seeks to make electric cars not only more attractive but more affordable to drivers by providing incentives up to GBP 5000 toward the purchase of plug-in or electric hybrid vehicles. The government also included another GBP 20 million to go towards the creation of a network of charging stations and the establishment of “electric car cities” around the country. The cities selected will service as a focal point for low-carbon and electric car demonstration projects. Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said “The scale of incentives we’re announcing today will mean that an electric car is a real option for motorists as well as helping to make the UK a world leader in low carbon transport.”
6) Israeli Electric Car initiative. In Israel, California-based Better Place, has made one of their homes, supplying lithium-ion batteries for Renault-Nissan cars. Better Place will also be providing the necessary infrastructure for electric cars, including 500,000 charging stations and 200 batter-exchange centers. For its part, the Israeli government has decreases taxes on the purchase of electric cars in an effort to encourage citizens to make the switch. Because of Israel’s small size, with major urban centers a maximum of 150 kilometers apart, Israel is the perfect location for electric vehicles than countries with longer commutes.
7) Belfast Electric Vehicles Initiative. Belfast, Ireland, has come up with their own Electric Vehicles Initiative. The objectives of this plan are to look at a number of pilot studies of other electric car initiatives and see how they were carried out and the funding required. Then the initiative would organize the data to see what works and what doesn’t work and how to overcome obstructions for the use of electric vehicles in Belfast.
8 ) Australia Clean Driving Initiative. Clean Driving is a Canberra Region-based initiative to assist those looking for a transportation solution that has zero emissions, those wanting an electric vehicle, and of course, those looking to assist in creating a sustainable future. Clean Driving promotes the benefits of using electric vehicles, both in the wallet and for the environment. The objective is to promote education on sustainable options for transportation.
9) London Becomes International Electric Car Capital. London is quickly earning the title of International Electric Car Capital. Because of their large carbon footprint, London is introducing 100,000 electric cars, along with 25,000 charging stations in an effort to decrease their problems with carbon emissions. Though similar initiatives are occurring all over the world, this has so far been the largest. To further increase the city’s standing, a number of incentives have been provided for those who make the switch to electric vehicles. If this is implemented properly, it will address growing concerns over London’s low air quality, considered to be the worst throughout the European continent.
10) Canada Electric Car Initiative. Canada will admit that they have been slow onto the electric car initiative scene. The Canadian government has not only been slow, but slightly reluctant to promote the utilization of electric cars. The province of British Columbia was the first to start introducing the use of electric car use, especially within the city of Vancouver. The Vancouver Electric Car Association has been instrumental in increasing the use of electric vehicles to reduce carbon footprints. Now the rest of the country is following and the Council is beginning to make new laws, including amending bylaws to allow for low speed electric cars on city streets without getting in trouble.
Shawn Lesser is Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group - an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. . He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association “The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10? series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Taube currently serves as the Executive Director of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) which is a nonprofit headquartered in Atlanta, GA with a mission to deploy energy efficiency across 11 southeast States. The organization is comprised of public and private interests. Ben also serves as the Chair of the Global Cleantech Cluster Association. Mr. Taube has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Memphis and a Masters in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver.
Reprinted with permission from Cleantechies