State Senate passes last-minute legislation in a bid to guarantee incentives for EV users
With the presidential election result this week, the future of electric vehicle incentives in the United States is highly uncertain. Government grants towards the cost of personal EVs and fast chargers may disappear. The provision of an electric corridor across America may be of little effect in a country which may just be getting the unimpeded access to ICEs that the last eight years has done much to curb.
However, the Massachusetts Senate put forward a bill to commit the state and its people to continue implementing a series of electric vehicle and infrastructure measures. This evidently comes as a fast-tracked move in order to pass important environmental transport laws while sympathetic parties are still in power.
Massachusetts already has its own state-wide program which has been in place since 2014. The existence of MOR-EV, which has issued almost US$6 million in rebates, suggests that the state is reasonably committed to its regional EV incentives. The pot, however, is almost empty. Hopefully, this bill is designed to replace the project with more sustainable incentives when national funding may not be as readily available.
The bill demands that the state continues to lead by example. A quarter of all government vehicles must be electric by 2025 – a move supported by Senator James Eldridge. Cultivating any sort of encouragement to own an EV is vital if the state wants to reach its target of 300,000 vehicles on the road by 2025. The number is currently 7,000.
Eldridge has confidently stated that: “It really is a bill to create more incentives for people to purchase electric cars,” through practical solutions such as parking incentives for users and penalties for those who utilise spaces and discounts set aside for greener vehicles.
Similarly, this project is the product of an optimistic committee who have identified that evidence is required if they are to make real progress in convincing more American consumers. A study into the projected loss of gas tax revenues in the event of increased EV uptake has also been commissioned, for delivery in December 2017. Such research will prove highly interesting considering that there are few facts and figures that are available to those assessing the lack of tax revenue from EV sales. The study will evaluate the surcharges or levies needed to offset losses from taxation in a move that will hopefully identify how the EV and ICE markets can operate in tandem.
Similarly, the potential for the electrification of vehicles used by regional transport authorities, and how those can also be incentivised, will also be studied. The plan is that this bill will also lead to standardised prices, easy payment options, and multi-platform capabilities at public EV charging stations across the state by this time next year.
The bill comes as one of the few positive moves in the EV market, and environmental agencies, amid revelations that automakers now expect release from EPA mandates.