WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department announced it was providing awards totaling nearly $7 million for research into how to cut costs for electric vehicle chargers.
The department announced it was provided awards totaling as much as $7 million to manufacturers in California, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to look into reducing the cost of electric vehicle chargers by half in three years.
The awards target so-called smart chargers that would ensure electric vehicles aren't stressing the electric grid.
"Improving the functionality and affordability of electric vehicle chargers is an important step in supporting the deployment of electric vehicles that can help to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil," Energy Department Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.
The International Energy Agency said mass deployment of alternative vehicles would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut the use of petroleum products. The IEA said global targets for electric vehicles represent only a fraction of the 1 billion cars expected on the roads by 2020, however.
U.S. President Barack Obama has set a goal of more than 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015.