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U.S. funding more alternative vehicle efforts

The United States is near the bottom of the global market when it comes to electric vehicles.

By Daniel J. Graeber 
Funding put forward by the U.S. Energy Department is steered toward more charging stations and other improvement in alternate vehicle technology. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI
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Charging stations along the U.S. highway system and advances for school bus fleets are getting the bulk of new alternative vehicle funding, the government said.
The U.S. Energy Department said it was putting $18 million in support forward for projects aimed at developing electric and other hybrid vehicle technology.
"Public investment in advanced, energy efficient transportation technologies and systems will improve our nation's energy security, support energy independence, reduce transportation emissions, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness," the department said in a statement.
Blue Bird Body Co. gets about $4.9 million for a pilot project aimed at improving propulsion efficiency for a school bus that can run on battery power.
Gas Technology Institute, which has headquarters in Illinois, gets $4.9 million to deploy charging stations for alternate-fuel vehicles and electric vehicles along an interstate corridor from near Detroit to the border with North Dakota.
The International Energy Agency found the United States is at the bottom when it comes to electric vehicles, which make up about 0.7 percent of the total U.S. market. Compared with last year, however, the IEA found gains in the sale and construction of the infrastructure needed to support a broader network of electric vehicles worldwide.
A measure included in the Paris climate declaration, meanwhile, calls for 100 million electric vehicles on the market by 2030 in an effort to curb pollution levels. Donald Trump, the incoming U.S. president, has expressed reluctance about committing fully to the Paris deal.
Energy consultant group IHS found that, with the right policies in place, electric vehicles could account for at least 15 percent of total new vehicle sales by 2040. The current market share is about 1 percent, but up more than 1000 percent in terms of sales in the six years ending this year.

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