Electric car 'datathon' to be hosted by White House today

The Obama Administration will make at least one more push to promote electric cars as it enters its final two months.

Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters/File
A battery charger sign for electric cars is painted on the ground of a parking ground near the soccer stadium in Wolfsburg, Germany

The Obama Administration will make at least one more push to promote electric cars as it enters its final two months.

The White House will hold its first-ever "Electric Vehicle Datathon" today, with the goal of devising ways to use data to increase electric-car adoption.

Held in concert with the Department of Energy and four of its national laboratories, the event will bring electric-car stakeholders together with representatives from the "software-development and data-analysis communities," according to the White House.

Charging-network operators, automakers, and city and state governments will also be represented at the "datathon," according to a White House blog post.

Participants will "review currently available data, identify opportunities for improvement, and discuss new data sets and approaches that can enable EVs going forward," the blog post said.

"Topics of conversation" will include what new data sets relevant to electric cars may emerge in the near future, what data local planners need to promote electric-car adoption, and what new information could be revealed by "mashing up" existing data.

The White House anticipates a series of electric-car charging corridors announced earlier this month to be among the potential sources that will generate new data.

The Department of Transportation will establish 48 of these corridors along national highways that cross 35 states and cover almost 25,000 miles.

Existing or planned charging stations will be spaced at least every 50 miles along these routes.

A total of 28 states, electric utilities, carmakers, and other organizations have committed to accelerate charging infrastructure along the corridors.

They may also receive at least some of the $2 billion pledged by Volkswagen over the next 10 years to build zero-emission vehicle charging and fueling infrastructure, part of the settlement addressing the company's use of illegal "defeat device" software in diesel cars to cheat on emissions tests.

Alongside the charging-corridor initiative, the White House announced plans to partner with 24 state and local governments to add more plug-in electric vehicles to their fleets.

It also commissioned two separate Department of Energy studies on optimal scenarios for the deployment of electric-car charging infrastructure.

The Energy Department also continues to run its Workplace Charging Challenge, which now has more than 250 members.

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