The White House announced that it’s collaborating with Federal agencies and private companies to increase the use of electric cars in the United States to combat climate change.

The White House plans to set aside $4.5 billion in loans for electric vehicle charging stations, launch the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to determine where charging stations are needed, call on state and local governments to purchase electric cars at a discounted price, host an Electric Vehicle Hackathon, to create new methods for electric vehicle charging, and publish a Federal guide on electric vehicles.

Thirty-five businesses and schools have signed the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge to pledge to put charging sites outside of their buildings.

The DOE, Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, and the Environmental Protection Agency have been working with businesses to make electric cars more feasible. Since 2008, the number of models of electric cars has increased from one to more than 20, battery costs have decreased by 70 percent, and charging stations have increased from 500 to more than 1,600.

About 50 companies have agreed to the Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure, which proposes accessible charging stations for electric vehicles, other low-carbon vehicle options where feasible, to create a robust market for electric vehicles, advance innovation of electric vehicle technology, invest in infrastructure and research, and enable smart charging and vehicle grid integration.

The DOT asked state and local officials to designate routes where drivers can find electric vehicle charging stations, and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling corridors, which is part of the FAST Act.

“We can’t have Smart Cities without Smart Highways,” said Anthony Foxx, U.S. transportation secretary. “Making sure drivers with alternative fuel vehicles can use the national highway system, rather than being limited only to local areas, is the next step in advancing America’s transportation network.”

Once the infrastructure is developed, the DOT plans to put red, white, and blue shield-shaped signs along highways to designate alternative fueling stations.

“Secretary Foxx and I know that making sure low-emission vehicles aren’t limited only to cities will help their drivers enjoy more of our nation’s network of roads and bridges,” Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau wrote in a blog post. “It is the next step in ensuring our transportation system meets the 21st-century needs of communities nationwide.”

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