When it comes to electric vehicles, you can find issues preventing mass adoption pretty much anywhere. Which is why you can then also look for solutions pretty much anywhere. That's the method the Obama Administration announced yesterday and it involves everything from shorter charging times to more public chargers, from bigger government fleets of electrified vehicles to an "Electric Vehicle Hackathon."

The new plan is looking into blistering charging speeds of up to 350 kW.

Perhaps most exciting, there was a commitment made to try and increase the speed of fast charging. Today, Tesla's Supercharger network has the fastest public charging available (up to 145 kW), but the new plan is looking into blistering speeds of up to 350 kW. That's fast enough to recharge a 200-mile EV in under 10 minutes. Another cool future was promised by the Battery500 Consortium goal, which wants to create better batteries that cost under $100 per kWh. There was no actual technology revealed at this time, but announcements like this are about new ways to approach the future, not the nitty-gritty technical details.

That's why the new announcement touts the fact that 12 utilities and charging companies have committed to increase their deployment of EVs and charging infrastructure, that there are 35 new partners (businesses, non-profits, universities, and utilities) for the DOE's Workplace Charging Challenge, and that there will be an EV "Hackathon" this fall to, "discover insights and develop new solutions for electric vehicle charging."

The White House's announcement comes on the heels of the first-ever Sustainable Transportation Summit (STS). The STS was sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE) and was held earlier this month in Washington, DC. After all this activity, almost 50 companies and organizations have signed on to the new "Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure" document, including the usual suspects: Tesla, BMW, Nissan, Ford, General Motors, Chargepoint, the California Air Resources Board, and the State of California (notably, the usual suspects are also missing). You can read the entire announcement from the White House here, but we've put the Guiding Principles below.

The Obama Administration has made strong pushes for electric vehicles before, including proposals to increase the tax credit for EV buyers to $10,000, among other things. Most famously, in 2011, President Obama said he wanted a million EVs on the roads by 2015. That didn't happen, but even in 2016, the Administration is still looking for ways to hit the target, even belatedly.

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Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure.

Building on existing partnerships among federal government, states and communities, electric vehicle and charging infrastructure manufacturers and retailers, electric utilities, national laboratories, universities, and nongovernmental organizations, we endorse the following guiding principles to enhance electric vehicle use and create a national, household, workplace, and urban charging infrastructure that is available to all Americans:
  • Drive the market transformation to electric vehicles by making it easy for consumers to charge their vehicles with grid-connected infrastructure that is accessible, affordable, available and reliable, and interconnected with other low-carbon transportation options where feasible.
  • Promote electric vehicle adoption by increasing access to charging infrastructure and supporting the development of plug-in electric vehicles that are as accessible, available, and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles.
  • Promote a robust market for vehicle manufacturers, utilities, equipment service providers, and support industries that ensures a consistent user experience, customer choice, and allows for a streamlined permitting process.
  • Enhance American manufacturing competitiveness, innovation, and the development of advanced technology.
  • Attract and leverage private, State, and Federal investment in electric vehicle deployment, infrastructure, research and development, and education and outreach.
  • Enable smart charging and vehicle grid integration through solutions such as demand response, and other energy storage and load management strategies.

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