President Barack Obama’s vision for electric vehicles has struggled in the United States, but the White House on Tuesday nevertheless announced a plan to team with Asian governments to put more drivers in environmentally friendly cars.
Obama is in Beijing for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, where he is meeting with other leaders about trade issues. One goal the leaders agreed on was promoting more electric vehicle use in the region.
“The United States is leading work for APEC economies to take new actions to promote the widespread usage of electric vehicles through aligning existing regulations and basing new regulations on international standards,” the White House said in a statement Tuesday. “Such actions would ensure that the new wave of environmentally friendly, technologically advanced electric vehicles are safe and convenient to use in order to gain greater acceptance by consumers and a bigger share of the global automotive marketplace.”
The White House said this would be done through aligning government regulations and the establishment an Electric Vehicle Interoperability and Research Center by the end of 2015.
“A centerpiece of these actions is a commitment to interoperability of electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, and communications protocols, so as to create greater opportunities for trade and investment in this area,” the White House statement said. “These efforts align with past APEC commitments to reduce fossil fuel consumption, reduce pollution, and grow renewable sources of energy as key environmental objectives.”
Electric cars have been a troubling agenda item for Obama, who has pushed electric vehicle use since taking office in January 2009. Since that time, electric cars have gotten $5 billion in U.S. grants, loans and tax incentives. The administration stepped back on the loans when the vehicles were not a commercial success. Last year, the administration announced it would lose $139 million on a loan it made to Fisker Automotive, a struggling electric automaker.