Electric Vehicles

States will need coordination, creativity to meet electric vehicle goal

Eight states have given a big boost to zero emission vehicles by agreeing to support putting 3.3 million on the road by 2025. California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont together account for about a quarter of the auto market, so their commitment is significant. 

To reach their goal, these states will need to learn what policies and actions are most effective at driving sales of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), starting with electric cars.

Two early lessons are evident from our ongoing work in this area: Stakeholder coordination is critical, and creative policy solutions are needed. The memorandum of understanding the governors signed last week will foster an environment for both.

California passes a series of clean transportation laws

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In the closing days of September, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a series of bills advancing the state’s clean vehicle initiatives. One law, AB 8, extends funding for many of the state’s vehicle-efficiency programs and mandates increased deployment of hydrogen fueling stations. Additionally, the Governor signed two bills—AB 1092 and SB 454—that each provide for greater, more efficient access to electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Governor Brown also signed SB 359 and SB 459, which increase funding to rebate programs for low-emission vehicle purchases and upgrades, as well as rebates for early vehicle retirements. Finally, the governor signed AB 266 and SB 286, extending the state’s program to issue special High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) stickers to owners of plug-in hybrids and zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs).

Extension of Clean Vehicle Programs

AB 8 clears the way for 10-year extensions of several clean vehicle rebates enacted by AB 118 in 2007, including the Air Quality Improvement Program and the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The law enables these extensions to clean vehicle programs by authorizing increases to vehicle registration fees and surcharges into 2024. The law further authorizes the California Energy Commission to supersede the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in managing the deployment of 100 new hydrogen-fueling stations over the next 10 years using $20 million annually. The law also provides a new source of funding for the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program by establishing a new $0.75 surcharge on tire purchases, which is projected to raise $34 million over the next 10years.

Under SB 359, CARB will receive an additional $48 million in 2014 to continue funding monetary incentives administered through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP). The new law focuses on voluntary trade-ins of high-polluting vehicles by supplying $1,000 rebates to EFMP participants, and $1,500 rebates to EFMP participants with a household income at or below 225 percent of the federal poverty level. SB 459 requires CARB to update EFMP guidelines by June 30, 2015. In doing so, CARB is authorized to increase the value of early vehicle retirement and replacement rebates for low-income participants beyond existing limits of $1,500 and $2,500, respectively.

Development of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

California’s EV charging infrastructure got a boost from AB 1092 and SB 454. Under AB 1092, the California Building Standards Commission assumes responsibility for mandating the installation of EV charging infrastructure in parking spaces of multifamily and nonresidential buildings in the next California Building Standards Code, slated for adoption in 2014. SB 454 broadens access to EV charging stations by requiring open access to stations without purchasing a subscription or obtaining a membership to an association. Further, SB 454 requires EV charging station operators to accept payment from credit cards or mobile-based payment applications. Both laws fulfill Governor Brown’s Executive Order on March 23, 2013 to facilitate the deployment of 1.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025.

HOV Sticker Programs

SB 286 extends the state’s HOV sticker program for plug-in hybrid vehicles and ZEVs through 2019. Under SB 286, the HOV sticker program will issue an additional 40,000 “green stickers” to those applicants operating partial-ZEVs, and issue an unlimited amount of “white stickers” to applicants operating vehicles that meet California super ultra-low emission vehicle standard, as well as the national inherently low-emission vehicle (ILEV) evaporative emission standard. 

For more information:
C2ES: Electric Vehicle Policy Brief
C2ES: Electric Vehicle Policy Map
C2ES: PEV Dialogue
Salon: AB 8 Story
Wired: AB 1092 Story
Bloomberg: SB 454 Story

Transportation Sector

This map contains state laws and regulations that affect electric vehicles. The policies include the following:

  • Vehicle Acquisition: Mandates for state or other types of fleets to acquire electric vehicles. This primarily affects state fleets.
  • Preferred Access: State requirements to provide access to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes or designated parking for electric vehicles.
  • Financial Incentives: Tax credits, rebates, grants, inspection exemption, and vehicle-to-grid energy credits.
  • Infrastructure Requirement: State requirements to provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Note that the policies highlighted here target electric vehicles. C2ES has a number of additional maps on policies and activities to promote electric vehicles as part of its PEV Dialogue Initiative available here.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center. The website contains a database for federal and state incentives and laws.

Powering More Travel with Electricity

Source: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/locator/stations/ (as of June 2014), http://nhts.ornl.gov/tables09/ae/work/Job27748.html

The transportation sector is the source of more than a quarter of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. One way to reduce these emissions is to increase the number of electric cars (as long as the cars use relatively low-carbon electricity). But policymakers, car makers and sellers, and consumers all need a better idea of where an electric car, and the infrastructure needed to accommodate it, can best meet consumers’ needs.

In the map above, C2ES put together two sets of data to show places where driving patterns would indicate that most trips could be powered entirely on the battery power of an all-electric, plug-in hybrid or extended range electric car.

One of the map’s layers shows the concentration of charging stations throughout the country in green (the darker the green, the more charging stations). The U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center provides a nationwide database of publicly available electric vehicle charging stations. The number of charging stations is one indicator of a geographic area’s electric car “readiness.”  

The map’s other layer shows the distance traveled for 85 percent or more total trips taken by all drivers in a metropolitan area. You can click on any of the regions to see the share of trips that are less than 10, 20, and 30 miles. Note that this information is not based on drivers’ average trip length, but on an estimate of total trips by all drivers.  The Federal Highway Administration’s National Household Travel Survey provides information on the length of trips for all travelers by metropolitan statistical area, which is a geographic region with a high degree of social and economic integration. (Not all metropolitan statistical areas were covered in the survey.)

The mileage chosen (10, 20, and 30 miles) corresponds well to the plug-in hybrid or extended range electric cars on the market today. The Chevy Volt has an electric range of more than 30 miles, the Ford C-MAX Energi has an electric range of about 20 miles, and the Toyota Prius Plug-in has about a 10-mile electric range. Each of these vehicles also has a gasoline engine for longer trips. Importantly, every all-electric car available today offers more than 30 miles of range.

There are a number of takeaways from this map. First, every all-electric car on the market today can accommodate more than 85 percent of all trips in all of these regions, as can the extended range electric Chevy Volt. This information might help ease consumers’ “range anxiety” about driving an all-electric vehicle (the fear of running out of juice). It also means Volt drivers can electrify most of their trips while still enjoying the benefits of having a gasoline engine available whenever they need it. Second, most charging stations are concentrated in densely populated areas with a notable exception around New Orleans, which also happens to be the only metropolitan statistical area surveyed where 85 percent or more trips are less than 10 miles.

The data from the National Household Travel Survey indicates Americans in our most populated areas could electrify trips without moving to fully electric vehicles. If the share of electric trips can approach 100 percent, it becomes much easier for drivers to find an alternative solution for other trips, making a transition to all electric vehicles more likely. One of the keys is how drivers handle their other trips. Will they rely on gasoline in their extended range or plug-in hybrid cars, mass transit, a private bus, or another conventional car? It’s also very important to consider the miles traveled powered by different fuel types in order to measure greenhouse gas emissions and oil use in the aggregate. Electric trips, however, are a great way to look at the transition to alternative fuel vehicles without replacing conventional technology outright.

Interactive Maps

C2ES’s interactive map series for electric vehicles provides information on the status of implementing the PEV Dialogue Group’s Action Plan and the state of the electric vehicle market.

Implementing the Action Plan Maps

Other Electric Vehicle Market Maps

American Planning Association Conference in Chicago

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Nick Nigro speaks about electric vehicles.

Nick Nigro speaks about electric vehicles.

C2ES Interactive Tool Helps State Transportation Officers Support Electric Vehicles

Press Release

January 17, 2013

Contact: Laura Rehrmann, rehrmannl@c2es.org, 703-516-0621

C2ES interactive tool helps state transportation officers support electric vehicles

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With thousands of new electric vehicles hitting the road each month, state transportation departments need to know how to integrate these transformative vehicles into the systems they manage.

That’s why the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has developed an interactive Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool, which guides state transportation officials through a variety of possible actions to foster an electric vehicle market in their state.

The tool, which C2ES developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation and eight state transportation departments, was unveiled this week at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting attended by more than 11,000 transportation professionals.

Using the tool’s Actions Map, state transportation officials can chart a path, from determining their goals for plug-in electric vehicle deployment to implementing new programs and policies. The tool helps officials answer such questions as:  What should be the state’s role in deploying charging stations? What’s the best way to explain the public benefits of electric vehicles? How can we build consensus with stakeholders for action?

The tool is also a resource for learning about plug-in electric vehicles and best practices from other state agencies. Many of the suggested actions and resources are also applicable to other state agencies and local governments.

Electric vehicles offer a transformative opportunity to address energy security, air quality, climate change, and economic growth. Sales for electric vehicles rose 200 percent from 2011 to 2012. But sustained growth is needed to fully realize their benefits.

“State transportation departments are playing an important role in defining public policy that can support electric vehicle deployment,’’ said Judi Greenwald, Vice President of Technology and Innovation at C2ES. “The PEV Action Tool provides them with all the necessary information on what actions they can take – whether their state is just getting started or leading the way.”

Initially spearheaded by Washington State Department of Transportation, the project also included the state DOTs from Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

"We're very pleased the toolkit is now available to colleagues in transportation departments around the nation,’’ said Jeff Doyle, Director of Public/Private Partnerships for Washington State Department of Transportation. “We focused on making this tool relevant and useful to all states, not just those already involved in supporting electric vehicles."

For more information on the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Action Tool: http://www.c2es.org/pev-action-tool

About C2ES
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool

The PEV Action Tool helps state departments of transportation determine their goals for plug-in electric vehicle deployment and to chart out a path for reaching those goals. The Action Tool is also a resource for learning about plug-in electric vehicles and best practices from other state agencies. Although state departments of transportation are the primary audience, many of the suggested actions and resources in the tool are applicable to other public entities such as local governments and other state agencies.
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Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool

January 2013

by Charles Zhu and Nick Nigro

Download the full report (PDF)

Explore the interactive version of the PEV Action Tool

The Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool is the synthesis of 2 workshops as well as research conducted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). The PEV Action Tool helps state departments of transportation determine their goals for plug-in electric vehicle deployment and to chart out a path for reaching those goals. The PEV Action Tool is also a resource for learning about plug-in electric vehicles and best practices from other state agencies. Although state departments of transportation are the primary audience, many of the suggested actions and resources in the tool are applicable to other public entities such as local governments and other state agencies. 



Charles Zhu
Nick Nigro

NARUC Passes Key Resolution to Support PEV Deployment

November 11-14, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland

As exemplified in the PEV Action Plan, creating a consistent regulatory framework is necessary to enable a national plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market. The framework includes electricity regulatory policy related to charging infrastructure providers, electric utilities, and consumers. The framework in the PEV Action Plan also includes recommendations regarding transportation infrastructure policy and industry standards.

The key bodies to engage on electricity regulation are the state Public Utility Commissions and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). NARUC can help set direction for states that are looking at regulatory reform, especially as it relates to alternative fuel vehicles. Ahead of its November 2012 meeting, C2ES along with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Governors Association participated in a webinar with public utility commissioners and related stakeholders on the importance of a regulatory framework for the alternative fuel market, including PEVs and natural gas vehicles.

At its meeting in Baltimore, NARUC took an important step toward creating this critical regulatory framework with passage of resolution that is compatible with the PEV Action Plan. The resolution aims to expand the alternative fuel vehicle market through regulatory reform and other related actions. Highlights from the resolution include:

  • NARUC urged state and federal regulators to collaborate with other policymakers to remove barriers to alternative fuel vehicle deployment and ensure consistent, fuel-neutral policies to help realize the full economic, environmental, and societal benefits of these vehicles.
  • NARUC supports policies that maintain the integrity of the utility system and design of innovative rate programs or incentives to maximize customer savings.
  • NARUC believes third-party providers of fueling and charging services that purchase power or fuel from a regulated public utility or other competitive energy supplier to provide to the public should not be considered public utilities and therefore not regulated as such.
  • NARUC supports a competitive AFV marketplace, where utility companies, businesses, governments, and third-party service providers are able to participate in the owning, leasing, operating, or maintenance of charging or fueling equipment.

The entire resolution can be found online here

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