Electric Vehicles

State EV actions gathered speed in Q1, report says

A total of 458 electric vehicle actions were taken during the first quarter of 2019, more than the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center observed over all of 2018, the center reported on May 8.

The first quarter update of the report, “The 50 States of Electric Vehicles,” found that 48 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during the first quarter. Most of those actions related to fees, rebate programs and charging station deployment.

Other actions taken fell into the categories of studies and investigations, deployments, and rate design.

The report identified three EV policy trends in the first quarter: (1) states are considering aggressive electric vehicle and zero-emission vehicle targets, (2) regulators are examining ownership models for charging infrastructure, and (3) state legislatures are addressing transportation infrastructure funding.

“A parallel movement to the power sector’s 100% clean energy trend is beginning to emerge in the transportation sector,” Autumn Proudlove, senior manager of policy research at the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, said in a statement. “Several states are considering bills establishing targets for all state vehicles to be zero-emission vehicles, and some legislatures are considering targets that extend to all vehicles sold in the state,” she said.

Five states – California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Washington – have laws that set a target date for 100% clean energy, and several other states are considering similar legislation.

Among the states identified as most active regarding electric vehicle policies, the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center report noted that Maryland regulators in January 2019 approved a statewide electric vehicle portfolio program that includes a combination of utility deployment, incentives, and new rate options. The program calls for the deployment of over 5,000 electric vehicle charging stations. The program had originally called for the deployment of 24,000 charging stations.

Also in January, the Arizona Corporation Commission adopted a policy statement that encourages utilities to develop new rate designs for electric vehicle charging and consider deploying charging infrastructure in low utilization areas.

In the first quarter, regulators in Missouri and Wisconsin opened investigatory proceedings related to electric vehicles. Missouri’s proceeding is focused on mechanisms to facilitate charging station installation. In Wisconsin, the Public Service Commission is examining a wide range of electric vehicle issues, including infrastructure ownership, cost recovery, grid impacts, and rate design.

And in March, the report noted, legislators in New Mexico passed a bill requiring utilities to file transportation electrification applications by January 2021. Those applications may include incentives, infrastructure deployment, rate designs, and customer education and outreach programs. The bill also exempts electric vehicle charging stations from public utility regulation.

“As electric vehicle adoption increases, many state legislatures are considering the impact of electric vehicles on gasoline tax revenues and transportation infrastructure funding,” Allison Carr, clean transportation specialist at the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, said in a statement.

In Michigan, a gas tax hike proposed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would trigger higher fees on owners of electric vehicles. Those fees, like similar measures in other states, are designed to offset the expectation of declining revenues for roadway maintenance as a result of lower gas sales because of higher electric vehicle ownership.

The report’s executive summary is available here.