Electric Vehicles

Vermont PUC report outlines ways to accelerate EV use

The Vermont Public Utility Commission recently issued a report that describes ways to promote the ownership and use of electric vehicles in the state.

The report, which was released in late June, sets forth extensive recommendations for actions to be taken by state government, electric utilities, and third-party suppliers and installers of EV charging equipment to accelerate the transition to electric transportation, the PUC said.

The report analyzes barriers to achieving more widespread adoption of EVs in Vermont, as well as ways to eliminate or mitigate those barriers.

The barriers identified include, but are not limited to, the price of new electric vehicles, the perceived limited distance that an EV can travel on a single charge, and the limited availability of public charging locations.

“Though not cited as often as these barriers, lack of vehicle choice and misconceptions about vehicle performance can also weigh as negative factors by some when considering the purchase of an EV,” the report said.

The report says that a variety of approaches can and should be taken to remove barriers to the accelerated adoption of EVs, including:

  • More EV purchase incentives by manufacturers, dealers, electric utilities, and State government;
  • Easier pathways for the installation of public charging infrastructure around Vermont, both for extended daytime parking in public lots and fast charging for travelers;
  • Increased education and outreach efforts; and
  • Rate offerings by utilities that both encourage certain charging behavior by EV owners and benefit all ratepayers by increasing electricity sales at times that will result in lower costs for Vermont electric ratepayers

The PUC noted that the transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont.

“Despite strong state policy designed to combat climate change, fossil-fuel emissions in Vermont continue to rise – due in large part to emissions from cars and trucks,” the commission said.

With its reliance on gasoline and diesel, transportation accounts for 47% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions – outdistancing all other sectors, including residential and commercial heating.

For this reason, a Vermont comprehensive energy plan aims to increase the share of renewable energy in Vermont’s transportation sector to 10% by 2025 and 80% by 2050. The plan also seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by 30% by 2025.

As of January 2019, there were 2,985 EVs registered in Vermont. Estimates for how many EVs must be registered in Vermont to meet the goals set forth in the comprehensive energy plan range from 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles by 2025.

The pace of EV adoption needed to reach 60,000 vehicles by 2025 is an approximately 54% compound annual growth rate, according to the PUC.