Clean energy advocates push for aggressive electric vehicle roadmap

The Connecticut EV Coalition advocates for solidifying the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) program at least through 2025. The program offers incentives up to $5,000 for state residents who buy or lease a new battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric or fuel cell electric vehicle.

At least 35 vehicles are eligible for the program, and industry leaders say more electric cars — with longer mileage ranges — are coming to dealerships every year. The CHEAPR program is not funded through taxpayer or ratepayer dollars but through merger settlement funds set aside to help the state meet clean energy goals.

“Electrifying and modernizing transportation is key to a consumer-centric clean energy future,” said Emily Lewis, a senior policy analyst at Acadia Center, in a recent statement. “Electric cars and transit buses are healthier, free of tailpipe pollutants, and cheaper to operate.”

Read the full article from The Day here (article may be behind paywall).

Massachusetts’ popular electric vehicle rebates are about to shrink

To reach these ambitious numbers, it is essential to implement measures to help consumers of all income levels go electric, activists said.

“We absolutely need to take new steps to improve access to electric vehicles to low-income residents,” said Mark LeBel, staff attorney at the Acadia Center, a Boston-based nonprofit that promotes the development of clean energy economies.

Offering larger rebates to lower-income buyers and expanding the program to include used vehicles could help achieve this goal, LeBel said. Financing options that offered low or no-interest loans could also be useful, he said.

Read the full article from Energy News Network here.

9 States Target Transportation Emissions with New Cap-and-Trade Plan

“I think they will want to draw on successful precedent, including California, but they also need to work with the communities that they are trying to help in this region,” said Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs director at the Acadia Center, an organization focused on clean energy development in the Northeast.

“Making sure that there is a spot at the table for those communities to weigh in on how this program should be structured and how those benefits can delivered will be hugely important,” Stutt said.

Read the full article from Inside Climate News here.

Another fleet of EV chargers approved in Mass.

National Grid can also collect on a performance incentive of $750,000 if 75 percent of the target number of chargers are successfully installed, and $1.2 million for 125 percent of the target. That feature drew criticism from groups including the state attorney general and the Acadia Center, which said the bonuses should be tied to metrics like increased electric vehicle adoption, emissions reductions and reduced costs.

Massachusetts is aiming to get 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025, and the number of EV chargers has been ticking steadily upward. As of a year ago, 1,158 Level 2 ports and 128 fast chargers were available, according to the DPU, compared to 963 Level 2 ports and 83 fast chargers in the prior year.

Read the full article from E&E News here (article may be behind paywall).

New Reports Show Electric Vehicle Market Is Taking Hold

Confidence in electric vehicles (EVs) is growing. Several recent announcements demonstrate that many industries are convinced EVs will play a major role in the future of personal vehicles. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) recently forecasted that EVs will make up about 58% of vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2040. This month, Volvo committed to producing exclusively EVs and hybrids by 2019. And even OPEC, the representative body of oil producing nations, has begun to predict a significant impact from EVs—Bloomberg Technology just reported that the oil group quintupled its 2040 EV forecast from last year.

These updated EV predictions are largely driven by rapidly declining battery costs, which in turn drive down the cost of these clean vehicles. BNEF’s forecast shows that battery prices have dropped by 73% since 2010 to about $200/kWh, and they predict this trend will continue. These estimates may even be conservative for some manufacturers, as they are based on average battery prices. Tesla announced in 2016 that they were already below the $200/kWh threshold, and they expect further cost reductions from large-scale production at their Gigafactory. With these battery cost predictions, BNEF forecasted that the cost of manufacturing EVs would match conventional vehicle costs by 2025.

EVs already have lower lifetime costs than conventional vehicles, and consumers are catching on to these benefits. In the U.S., EVs sales in the first six months of 2017 have increased about 35% compared to the same period last year. In the Northeast, which comprises about 25% of the EV market, the annual growth rate of EV sales has been about 40% since 2013. Acadia Center’s EnergyVision 2030 highlights the current fuel cost savings and emissions benefits of EVs in the Northeast region. The lower EV purchase prices predicted from decreasing battery prices will further increase consumer savings.

New EV Sales in the U.S. and the Northeast, 2011-20161

But batteries are not the only driver of EV costs. BNEF also highlights the importance of supportive policies in the next six to eight years to maintain the momentum around EVs. Some existing policies are facing uncertainty because of actions by the Trump administration. Without them, market dynamics for EVs could change, resulting in slower cost reductions and delayed adoption. In the wake of Federal uncertainty, states should continue to act in strong support of EVs. Acadia Center’s Charging Up report—coauthored with Sierra Club and Conservation Law Foundation—outlines policies that states in the Northeast can adopt to show they are ready for and supportive of the growing EV market.

1 Data for the Northeast includes the New England states and New York. Data from the Electric Drive Transportation Association and drivingZEV.