Puget Sound Region Plugging In with Federal Dollars
The Puget Sound region is tapping federal money to lay the groundwork for a new crop of electric and plug-in hybrid cars expected to hit the market later this year.
The King County Council is due to vote on a proposal soon that would use federal dollars to build a network of up to 200 public charging stations at county park-and-ride, vanpool and van-share sites. At the same time, an electric vehicle program called the EV Project, supported by a $100 million Department of Energy stimulus grant, is moving ahead with plans to install 2,000 more charging outlets in homes, parking lots and public libraries in the Puget Sound region starting this fall.
The surge of planning reflects the growing excitement over electric vehicles, which produce few or no emissions linked to global warming. Most of the major automakers plan to roll out new mass-market electric or plug-in hybrid cars over the next several years. (Plug-in hybrids have a battery and a gasoline engine.) The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are due to hit the market in late 2010. Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford also are planning new electric cars.
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