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Malloy joins other states to make way for alternative-fuel vehicles

By Lee Howard

Publication: The Day

Published October 26. 2013 4:00AM

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy joined top-elected officials from seven other states this week to clear the way for more electric-car charging stations and alternative-fueling options in Connecticut.

Malloy and the governors of California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont each pledged to boost investments to encourage growth of zero-emission vehicles. The goal is to have 3.3 million low-impact vehicles on the states' combined highways within a dozen years to cut back on greenhouse-gas emissions.

The eight states that signed a memorandum of understanding this week to help encourage more alternative vehicles will be forming a task force to plan for better road signs and more extensive infrastructure for electric, hydrogen and hybrid cars and trucks. The nation is on track to host more than 200,000 zero-emission vehicles on its roadways within the next two years.

"We are working in the transportation sector to encourage the use of alternative fuels and alternative vehicles," Malloy, in California, was quoted in an Associated Press report.

The alternative-vehicle push meshes with Connecticut's newly announced Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which is expected to boost public electric charging stations in the state to 200 sometime next year - about double the current number. Malloy said more stations will help avoid "range anxiety" among drivers of electric cars, who sometimes worry their cars won't have enough energy to make it from widely separated stations.

Locally, charging stations can be found in Groton, Niantic, Norwich, Uncasville, and Old Saybrook. There also is a station in Westerly.

At the Norwich Public Utilities charging station, a spokeswoman said customers who come in are given an activation card that allows them to use the service 24 hours a day and have their energy use charged to their regular utility account. At other stations, she said, regular charge cards can be used.

Automakers have said the problem of range has been a key stumbling block in getting the American public to buy into electric vehicles.

The AP reported that automakers currently offer 16 different zero-emission vehicles manufactured by eight different companies. Two operate on hydrogen fuel, nine are wholly battery powered and five are plug-in hybrids that run on batteries or gasoline.

l.howard@theday.com

LOCAL ELECTRIC CHARGING STATIONS

Town Host Location Hours

Groton Girard Nissan 425 Gold Star Highway Dealership hours

Niantic Crest Ford 218 Flanders Road 24 hours

Norwich Nissan of Norwich 691 W. Town St. Dealership hours

Norwich Norwich Public Utilities 169 N. Main St. 24 hours

Old Saybrook Grossman Nissan 295 Middlesex Turnpike Dealership hours

Old Saybrook Old Saybrook Inn 2 Bridge St. Guests only

Uncasville Mohegan Sun 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard 24 hours

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