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Dealers Hit The Brakes On EVs

Proposed EPA Rules

Amidst the current contretemps over Connecticut’s stalled efforts to adopt phase 2 of the California emissions standards, known as ACC II/ACT, which stand for Advanced Clean Cars II and Advanced Clean Truck, flying a little less noticeably on the radar screen is a proposed federal EPA rule that could result in roughly two-thirds of vehicles sold by 2032 being electric.

These rules become the default for states not following the California rules and it is good that the gap between the two will be narrower if these rules go into effect. Of course, this being a federal regulatory action, a future administration that is EV-unfriendly could roll them back or loosen them. They can’t do the same to the California rules.

The rules proposed in CT and at the federal level would yield huge reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and provide enormous benefits in public health due to greatly reduced emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides.

The fossil fuel and automotive industries are doing their best to undercut these. We’ve seen the efforts of the Yankee Institute, Heritage Foundation and the misleadingly-named Alliance for Automotive Innovation (lobbying group for the legacy auto manufacturers) to torpedo more stringent emissions standards. While on the one hand, companies such as General Motors and Ford issue press releases promoting how they are aggressively pivoting to electric vehicles, they work behind the scenes to throw sand in the gears. Toyota and Stellantis previously participated in a legal challenge to the waiver California was granted to establish tighter emissions standards that other states could opt-in to follow. (That lawsuit was dropped in 2022.)

4,700 Dealers Send Letter to Biden Administration Against Proposed New EPA EV Rules

One thing that seems a little different at the federal level is that the auto dealerships are playing a more prominent role. Over 4700 dealers have sent a second letter to the Biden administration in January, following an earlier letter in November, that seeks to get the administration to back away from the new standards.

Over 50 Dealers in CT Have Signed The Letter

We have found over 50 dealerships in Connecticut that have signed the letter. They are listed below. These are our neighbors who are actively working against the electrification of transportation to mitigate climate change and improve our air quality. The list is sorted alphabetically by ownership.

 

Dealerships signing letter to Biden administration 2

Dealerships signing letter to Biden administration 1

As can be seen from the ownership field, the signers are mostly large, multi-dealership owners, in some cases operating in multiple states (though only CT stores are listed here). These are well-resourced entities that seek to forestall EV adoption. It is also a snapshot of an industry that has changed considerably from what once was predominantly a mom and pop business model.

One of the owners on the list, Bradley Hoffman, is a member of the CHEAPR board. CHEAPR is the state’s EV purchase incentive program. Presumably, he has no cognitive dissonance over this.

Sign The Electric Vehicle Association Petition – Dealers Don’t Represent Us

The EVA has fielded a petition for consumers to tell auto dealers, car manufacturers, the EPA, and the Biden administration that dealers don’t represent customers, that drivers support the EPA rules to speed the transition to an all-electric future.

 




Connecticut Deserves Clean Air

Advanced Clean Cars II Campaign

The bureaucratic term of art for the air quality in Connecticut is non-compliant. Yes, it’s dirty. We do not meet the requirements of the EPA clean air rules. Transportation is the most polluting sector and the easiest to decarbonize. The technology is here. It is steadily declining in cost. The ACC II regulations, the follow on to the first set of California standards, will get us there faster and with better consumer protections.

With the fate of this program hanging in the balance, and a concerted push from fossil fuel interests to kill it, the advocates have placed ads in local newspapers, billboards, and on chargers that accept ads. This is the ad that appeared in the CT Post. If you are concerned about cleaning up our air by accelerating EV adoption, please tell you state legislators. They need to hear from you now.

Also, see our op-ed in the CT Mirror.

Advanced Clean Cars II




EV Club 2023 – Year in Review

 

2023 was a notable year for the club as it produced a fully subscribed symposium and began a partnership with People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE).

Northeast Electrical Vehicle Symposium

The EV Club produced its first conference, along with an EV showcase, in conjunction with the CT Tesla Owners Club. It was fully subscribed and is planned to be an annual event. It was hosted at the zero-emissions, LEED Platinum Hotel Marcel in New Haven, and covered topics ranging from the Advanced Clean Cars regulations to electrifying one’s home, EV incentives, utility programs, local EV-friendly zoning and a keynote from You-Tuber Out of Spec Dave. Recap here.

PACE

We have been working increasingly closely with the PACE (People’s Action for Clean Energy) organization. Our collaboration began with data, as we contributed the vehicle data we obtain to the data they use to analyze municipal energy use. This is a service that PACE offers this free to any municipality – they’ll quantify energy use and show where there are opportunities to move to decarbonize.

We are aligned on policy as both organizations support direct sales, regulations for clean vehicles, the Energy Data Bill of Rights, and expanded distributed and shared solar.

We support each other’s events. This allows each of us to improve coverage throughout the state.

PACE offers a number of services for communities, including supporting HeatSmart campaigns for heat pump adoption, help with solar canopy siting, and data on building efficiency.

Finally, PACE has also been giving the club some financial support. We may be a volunteer organization, but we do have expenses! They also accept donations on our behalf. Go here. After clicking on an amount, you will go to a page that allows you to designate how you would like the donation to be used. Choose “create your own,” and type in “EV Club.”

First Responders

The EV Club continues to support our first responders when they hold EV training events. This year we worked with Fairfield, Windsor Locks, Northville, and Middlebury.

Incentives

Incentives are now more numerous, more complex, and a moving target. We decode them and keep up to date with changes for the federal and state EV purchase incentives, as well as the charging incentives offered by the utilities. This is our incentives page. We have worked with a number of individual members to sort through these and help with questions. We also had the opportunity to speak at length with Eversource regarding how to operationally improve the consumer experience with respect to incentives and dealing with voltage sags and transformer sizes that could limit solar production.

Our near term outlook is that the Foreign Entity of Concern rules, the first half of which take effect in January 2024, will cause a reduction in the number of incentive-eligible EVs.

The other important near term item is the transfer option. This enables the consumer to obtain the incentive as a point of purchase rebate rather than a tax credit. The consumer has an option to do one or the other. Aside from getting the incentive sooner, it also enables people who do not have the tax liability to burn off a tax credit to be able to utilize the incentive.

EV Showcases

We continue to support as many EV showcases as we can by helping to publicize the events, and recruiting owners to exhibit their vehicles. We encourage all EV owners to participate in these as it is a great way to discuss the virtues of driving electric and leave out the politics. We also supported and participated in events by Electric Car Guest Drive in New York.

The Club itself staged 2 showcases, one in May and a second in September as part of the Symposium. We were happy to include a Tesla Model Y patrol car owned by the Westport Police. We thank the CT Tesla Owners Club for working with us on these and for arranging for Tesla to give test drives.

If you would like us to post your showcase event, please see this post about the information we need.

Speaking Engagements and Tabling

  • Stonington Energy Fair
  • Fairfield Warde High School
  • Interreligious Eco-Justice Network Forum on Advanced Clean Cars II, Greenwich
  • Central Connecticut State University

Zoom Meeting Presentations

  • SPAN – smart panels – what they’re about and what is involved in installing one in your home
  • Renowned teardown artist and automotive engineer, Sandy Munro, tells it like it is
  • IRA deep-dive into the EV incentives

Policy/News

  • Rivian, after fending off a dealership lawsuit, has broken ground on a service center in Shelton.
  • First Tesla Magic Dock in CT.
  • Participation continues with the national Electric Vehicle Association Policy Committee.
  • The last couple of years have been difficult regarding state level environmental legislation. Advanced Clean Cars II is stalled. It is possible it may come back but not certain. We continue to support a direct sales bill and the Energy Data Bill of Rights.
  • EV Club CT had a presence at the Cybertruck Reveal Event.
  • EV Club is happy to work with municipalities on EV charging, such as the new installation of 12 level 2 chargers (80 amp) in Westport.

EV Club Invited to Grand Opening of Tesla Sales and Delivery Center

This is the facility that is being built on tribal land at the Mohegan Sun Casino complex. The event is 12/20 and registration is here.

Much of the reporting in the mainstream press about this facility labels it as a loophole or a way to skirt the law. We believe this to be a mischaracterization. Tesla is following the law. Federally recognized tribes hold sovereign power on tribal land. It is up to the Tribal Council to approve such a facility and they don’t run scared from dealerships.

Data

We were able to bring the EV Dashboard back, tracking the level and characteristics of EV adoption in Connecticut. Access to data was granted courtesy of Atlas Public Policy, but sourced from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Continued tracking of EV rebates by dealership, which is our proxy for which dealers are EV-friendly (applicable, obviously, only to those that sell CHEAPR-eligible vehicles). This typically gets updated around March of each year – it depends on when the data get published by DEEP.

Videos!

Find them on our YouTube channel

  • New electric police patrol cars in Westport and Wethersfield (Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E, respectively)
  • Owner video – Andre and his Polestar 2
  • Fairfield First Responder EV training
  • Sandy Munro and Corey Steuben riffing about all things EV and batteries (Meeting recording)
  • Inflation Reduction Act Deep Dive (Meeting recording)
  • Tesla Magic Dock Closeup
  • Smart Panel discussion with SPAN (Meeting recording)
  • Hotel Marcel Tech Deep Dive – Bruce Becker, Paul Braren, Will Cross

 




Banning The “Ban With No Plan” Is Not a Plan

Global Temperature Rise is Already 1.2 degrees Celsius above baseline

The reporting coming out of COP 28 is that the mean temperature is already 1.2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline and headed to exceed the critical 1.5 degree threshold by the end of this decade. With 10 months of data in hand, 2023 has already been declared the hottest year on record by a margin comfortable enough to be “safe” regardless of what happens in November and December. There is urgency here. It is not just about whether change will happen but how fast.

Transportation Is Low Hanging Fruit

We have to decarbonize everything, but some sectors of the economy are a heavier lift than others.

  • Extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering it in concrete: hard
  • Producing enough green hydrogen to power heavy industry: hard
  • Aviation: hard
  • Ground transportation: relatively easy.

In Connecticut, the transportation sector is the responsible for a larger amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than any other at about 38% of the total, as reported by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). EV models are becoming more plentiful all the time and generous incentives are available for purchase and charging.

Advanced Clean Car Regulations II

Connecticut, which has been following California vehicle emission rules for ~20 years and is a signer of the Zero Emissions Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, has been going through the process of adopting the second phase of the California standards. The first phase expires in 2025.

These regulations, which apply to all classes of vehicles (the earlier regulations only applied to light-duty vehicles) would dramatically lower GHG, as well as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. Aside from climate benefits, there are significant public health and economic benefits. CT suffers from terrible air quality, and we have the asthma rates to prove it.

A more detailed description of ACC II benefits with data are in this earlier post.

The regulations would require the phasing out of the sale of new internal combustion (ICE) light duty vehicles (and reducing the proportion of ICE heavy duty vehicles) by 2035. A portion of the EVs are permitted to be of the plug-in hybrid variety. ICE vehicles already in the fleet are not banned, nor are sales on the secondary market. It does, however, provide opponents a convenient line of attack as a “ban on gas cars.”

Phase 2 of Advanced Clean Car Regulations Blocked by Legislative Regulation Review Committee

Against this background, the legislature has blocked ACC II. The final step of the approval process, the step that follows legislative authorization, DEEP rule making, public comment, DEEP response, and a determination of legal sufficiency by the Attorney General’s office, is for a bipartisan legislative committee to make a determination regarding whether the regulations comport with legislative intent. The remit of the committee is narrow, but a GOP-led effort took it upon themselves to decide to overrule what had been authorized.

The bipartisan committee is made up of 8 members of each party, unlike the legislature as a whole where the Democrats hold a 2:1 edge. The regulations needed at least a tie vote to pass but all of the Republicans were against it and two Democrats, reportedly Senators Osten and Hartley, were wavering with at least one being a likely negative vote. With prospects cloudy, the governor pulled the regs before the vote.

It’s Not Over

The legislature could still authorize it. Democratic leadership will take the temperature of the caucus early in the coming week and then decide whether to raise it before the full body. The outlook isn’t particularly encouraging at this point.

Freedom!

House Minority Leader Vincent J. Candelora, R-North Branford, an opponent of the regulations, as reported in the CT Mirror, said,  “This is about protecting the residents of Connecticut and providing them choice.”

It feels good to know we are now protected, that we have the freedom to breathe dirty air, the freedom to do nothing to mitigate climate change, and the freedom to signal that new green economy jobs should go to other states.

In effect, Mr. Candelora and his colleagues are saying, “Let the market drive EV adoption,” a.k.a. the “business as usual case.” The point of policy is to accelerate the curve faster than BAU. A GOP flyer labels this the “ban without a plan.” This removes the context because, in fact, there is a plan. These are a few points regarding objections raised about the grid, charging infrastructure, and EV costs.

Grid

  • As we move to a carbon-free society where everything is electric, it will be necessary to upgrade the grid. That is why DEEP and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) have a grid modernization docket.
  • EVs are relatively grid-friendly since so much of the charging is done at night, during off peak times. This is a slide from the presentation that United Illuminating gave at the Club’s Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium in September illustrating the benefits of off-peak EV charging: Grid Optimization using electric vehicles from United Illuminating
  • There is already a program in place that incentivizes Eversource and UI customers with home charging to charge during off-peak periods.

Charging Infrastructure

  • There are over 700 public charging stations with over 2000 ports in CT, per the Department of Energy for the roughly 35,000 EVs, of which about 23,000 are fully electric. (And, yes, we know that vehicles transiting the state need to charge as well.) But, we’re not starting from a bad place. The number of chargers needs to grow along with the increase in EV adoption, and the chargers have to be available throughout the state.
  • The federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act was passed about 2 years ago. Between the federal funds and state matching funds, there will be over $60 million invested in public EV charging stations. There have been no shovels in the dirt as yet, as the process took a while to get finalized. DOT expects installations to begin in 2024.
  • There are incentives for the purchase and installation of EV chargers for both residential and commercial customers, developed by PURA and available through Eversource and United Illuminating. Some of the municipal utilities are offering incentives, as well.
  • EV chargers are eligible for grants from the pool of Volkswagen “dieselgate” settlement funds.

EV Costs

  • It is true that the purchase price of an EV is higher than a comparable internal combustion (ICE) vehicle. But it’s not that much higher, at least according to recent data published by the Kelly Blue Book:

EV vs ICE purchase price

These prices do not take into account incentives. At the present moment, assuming all qualifications are met, a buyer of a new electric vehicle can get a $7500 federal incentive and a $2250 CT incentive. CT also offers a higher incentive for lower income buyers. See our incentives page for more detail.

  • Including operating and maintenance costs, in other words, the total cost of ownership, EVs are more economical relative to ICE. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council: “Bottom line: You can bank on saving across the life of your electric vehicle.” According to Money Magazine: “Upfront costs may be higher for EVs, but these cars are also much cheaper to operate and maintain — and the savings can add up. Over the life of your car, you will often spend less by buying electric.”
  • EV prices will definitely come down going forward. The technology continues to advance across the board, but two reasons in particular are battery costs and scale.
    • Bloomberg New Energy Finance states, “BNEF expects average battery pack prices to drop again next year, reaching $133/kWh (in real 2023 dollars). Technological innovation and manufacturing improvement should drive further declines in battery pack prices in the coming years, to $113/kWh in 2025 and $80/kWh in 2030.” $100 per kWh is considered cost-parity with ICE.
    • Outside of Tesla, none of the manufacturers have thus far fully benefited from scale economics. That will change. These proposed regulations will accelerate that change.

Flexibility

Moving to EVs, let alone decarbonizing the economy overall, involves a complicated policy landscape at the federal, state, and even municipal level. Everyone recognizes this. In fact, in the FAQ document prepared by DEEP, it is stated,  “If we get to a point where it appears that the technology or the infrastructure deployment is such that we would not be able to meet the standards, the standards will change to help suit our needs. This has happened on several occasions in the past with the California standards.”

The vision of a hellscape where many cannot afford a car, and those that can will get stuck is simply not going to happen.

We would like to call out a very good myth vs reality opinion piece published in CT News Junkie, written by Rep. Christine Palm.

You Can Help

Without these regulations, we are back to a world where we really do have no plan, where we are back to passing non-binding resolutions that don’t deliver results.

You can help. Reach out to your legislator and tell them you support adoption of ACC II.

The big environmental advocacy groups, such as Save the Sound, CT League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club are telling folks to reach out to Democrats since it is assumed there will be no Republican support and the Dems control the legislative agenda. We would encourage contacting your legislator regardless of party. CT participation in the original California standards had near-unanimous bipartisan support. There was some Republican support for these latest regs. It is unfortunate that clean vehicles and the environment have become part of the culture war.

Policy Matters

As a closing note, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported this week that the Inflation Reduction Act is responsible for about $100 billion of newly announced investments in EV and battery plants. ACC II is complementary policy that will enable manufacturers to scale more quickly and for consumers to make use of the output of these new manufacturing facilities.

CT air quality is not in compliance with federal standards. Electrifying transportation is the easiest way for us to get there. If these regulations ultimately do not get enacted, the way forward will be harder, and in all likelihood, we will face a future remain out of compliance indefinitely.

 

 




Advanced Clean Cars II – Advocacy Alert

Advocacy Alert: Reach Out To The Legislators on the ACC II Legislative Review Committee

Contact information is provided at the end of this post.

What follows is a not so brief background that could easily be a lot longer. There is also be an upcoming webinar, produced by the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network. Scheduling and registration link here:

Clean Cars, Clean Trucks, and the Fight for Clean Air

Monday, October 30 – 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

REGISTER HERE – https://cleancarscleantrucksandthefightforcleanair.eventbrite.com

ACC II Is Follow-on to California Emission Standards

When the federal Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, it recognized that California had already established its own regimen of emissions standards. California, particularly the Los Angeles area, had already been grappling with smog for a long time. And so California was given a waiver to continue to establish its own standards, which were more stringent than the federal standards. That is the overly-simplistic history of why there are two standards.

Many states, including Connecticut, have followed the California standard for tailpipe emissions, which became the de facto standard for manufacturers. It was easier for them to live with the more stringent standards than to have different vehicles for sale in different sets of states.

The acronyms that you hear around this are ACC (Advanced Clean Car) regulations and CARB (California Air Resources Board), the state agency that sets the California standards. The first set of ACC regulations addressed light-duty vehicles for model years 2015 – 2025. This follow-on set of regulations, known as Advanced Clean Cars Two or ACC II, begins with 2026, although the CT version would start a year later due to the current timing of enactment. The CT version is the CA version. The choice is binary: use the weaker federal standards or the more stringent CA option.

Why Do We Need This?

It’s obvious, right? Just look at the chart at the top (data from NASA, published by Axios). But, aside from global warming, there are local concerns.

  • Air quality in CT is terrible. The state receives failing grades from the American Lung Association and fails to meet federal air-quality standards.
  • The transportation sector accounts for about 38% of greenhouse gas emissions but also a significant amount of Nitrogen Oxides, a component of smog, and particulate matter. These contribute to cardio-pulmonary disease, cancer, low birth weight and birth defects.
  • ACC II applies to all vehicles, in other words, trucks as well as cars. The pollution profile varies for different classes of vehicles, but it’s all bad.
  • This is an important environmental justice measure. Pollution and its public health consequences fall disproportionately on disadvantaged communities.
  • The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, DEEP, analyzed the impact of ACC II on CT and modeled enormous reductions in greenhouse gasses and pollutants as described in the table below.

Pollution Savings from ACC II

Health Benefits

According to the American Lung Association, CT can expect the following health-related benefits from cleaner air.

  • $11.5 billion in monetized health benefits
  • 1,060 premature deaths avoided
  • 22,900 asthma attacks avoided
  • 120,000 lost work days avoided

Wide Support

It may not come as a surprise that the EV Club supports this, along with other Connecticut EV Coalition members including Save the Sound, Acadia Center, and the Sierra Club, along with numerous other environmental organizations.

Charles Rothenberger, climate and energy attorney at Save the Sound and manager of the Connecticut EV Coalition, spoke at our September 9 Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium (NEEVS) on this timely topic. “Two decades ago, Connecticut became a leader on cleaner transportation by adopting the Clean Cars I standards. Now it’s time to take the next step in achieving the kind of emissions reductions that the best available science tells us are essential for the health of people and the planet. Taken together, the regulations introduced today will provide long overdue updates to our vehicle standards, placing Connecticut on the path to transforming and modernizing the transportation sector and providing substantial environmental and health benefits for the citizens of Connecticut.”

The most controversial part of the regulations is the requirement that manufacturers no longer produce ICE vehicles as of 2035 (light-duty). Everything has to be a plug-in vehicle, though up to 20% of the plug-ins can be PHEV.

The automotive industry is lining up behind these regs. A number of manufacturers have already announced they are transitioning their fleets to electric roughly in this time frame. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade association for the legacy manufacturers, has endorsed it, as has the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association.

The dealers seem to be taking a more neutral position. Their job is to sell what the manufacturers produce. However, the National Automobile Dealers Association states on its website: “Electric and hybrid vehicles are here, and America’s vast franchised dealer network is eager, excited, and essential to the successful deployment to the mass retail market. Dealers are all-in on EVs and are investing billions of dollars in their stores and staff to improve the purchasing experience and reduce barriers to electric-vehicle ownership.”

These regulations are needed to make a meaningful dent in our toxic, climate-warming emissions. The goals in the Paris Agreement of 2015 feel increasingly out of reach absent decisive action.

Its overarching goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” To limit global warming to 1.5°C, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030.

ACC II provides a lengthy time horizon during which there is a gradual transition to zero-emission vehicles. Importantly, they provide a degree of certainty regarding marketplace conditions to the manufacturers, as well as manufacturer incentives for the building of affordably priced EVs.

ACC II Nearing the Finish Line, But a Potential Hurdle Remains

The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) received legislative authorization on a bipartisan basis to develop the rule making and conduct the required analysis. That part is finished. There has been a public comment period with a response from DEEP. The Office of the Attorney General has signed off on the regulations. The final step before going to the Governor is for the Legislative Regulation Review Committee to sign off on it. The committee is composed of 14 legislators with equal representation from both parties. The committee’s assignment is to review the regulations for adherence to legislative intent (which they clearly do). Now, some members of the committee are signaling that they may try to block the regulations and the Republican caucus is taking steps to make a public case. Here’s but one example.

If you clicked through to that article, you can see the FUDsters are out in force. And even though this originates with the Repubs, don’t make the mistake of thinking the Dems are immune to the pressure. We will be publishing additional content to address some of the questions being raised about the grid, the cost of EVs, and the economic impact. There’s a lot to shovel. The regulations require a minimum of a tie vote to be enacted.

Please Take Action to Let Regulation Review Committee Members Know Why ACC II Is Positive for Connecticut

We ask your help to support the passage of these regulations. Contact as many of the committee members as you can using their information is below, asking them to support ACCII. You are welcome to use the bullet points above as a guide to your messaging.

REGULATION REVIEW COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
 
Position     Chamber     Party         Name (Email) Towns Represented Website
Co-Chair     House       D Dathan, Lucy New Canaan, Norwalk http://www.housedems.ct.gov/dathan
Co-Chair Senate R Kissel, John A. East Granby, Ellington, Enfield, Granby, Somers, Suffield, Windsor, Windsor Locks http://www.ctsenaterepublicans.com/home-kissel
Ranking Member House R Carpino, Christie M. Cromwell, Portland http://www.cthousegop.com/Carpino/
Ranking Member Senate D Maroney, James J. Milford, Orange, West Haven, Woodbridge http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/maroney
Member House R Klarides-Ditria, Nicole Beacon Falls, Derby, Seymour http://www.cthousegop.com/Klarides-Ditria/
Member House D Arnone, Tom Enfield http://www.housedems.ct.gov/arnone
Member House D Godfrey, Bob Danbury http://www.housedems.ct.gov/Godfrey
Member Senate D Hartley, Joan V. Middlebury, Naugutuck, Waterbury http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Hartley
Member Senate R Kelly, Kevin C. Monroe, Seymour, Shelton, Stratford http://www.ctsenaterepublicans.com/home-kelly
Member House R McGorty, Ben Shelton, Stratford, Trumbull http://www.cthousegop.com/McGorty/
Member Senate D Osten, Catherine A. Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich, Sprague (Baltic) http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Osten
Member House D Ryan, Kevin Ledyard, Montville (Oakdale), Norwich http://www.housedems.ct.gov/Ryan
Member House R Fishbein, Craig C. Middlefield, Wallingford http://www.cthousegop.com/Fishbein/
Member Senate R Cicarella, Paul Durham, East Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Wallingford http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/home-cicarella



Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium Recap

Photo at top taken under one of the solar canopies at the Hotel Marcel with the building in the background, from left to right: Daphne Dixon – Live Green CT, Paul Wessel – Greater New Haven Clean Cities, and Analiese Mione, Barry Kresch, Bruce Becker, and Paul Braren from the EV Club who organized the symposium.

“Sold-out” Conference

Well, it was free, but there was more interest than we were able to accommodate and we had to close registration. Early feedback has been extremely positive. such as this message:

“I attended the NEEVS yesterday and had a fantastic time. What a great lineup of speakers/presentations and lots of fun at the car show as well! I’m looking forward to future symposiums in the coming years. …. Again, I had a great time at the symposium (and the lunch was incredible).”

We would like to thank our sponsors: Live Green CT, Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition, EVConnect, Maxwell Vehicles, and ChargePoint, without whom we would have been munching on stale pretzels.

Of course, we also thank our attendees for joining us and being an engaged and interactive audience.

The Hotel Marcel provided excellent, eco-friendly hospitality. For anyone who may be nervous about switching from a gas to an induction cooktop, the quality of the food attested to how good induction cooking can be. Even the chafing dishes were induction.

We’ve had some comments about how a small committee was able to put together a jam-packed agenda in a short period of time. If anything, the challenge is less about finding content than winnowing it down to fit within our time parameters. As it was, our 3-hour speaker agenda took 4 hours with too little time for Q&A.

We want to give a shout-out to Rich Jordan, president of the CT Tesla Owners Club, for his help with the car show, to the Westport Police Department and their Model Y patrol car, and to Tesla for bringing vehicles for test drives.

Converted EV Van

Maxwell Electric Shuttle at Hotel MarcelHotel Marcel architect and developer, Bruce Becker, talked about how Maxwell Vehicles converted an ICE van to electric, using a salvaged Model 3 battery and drive train. This van gets a lot of use shuttling guests to downtown New Haven, Yale, Union Station, Tweed Airport, and other destinations.

 

 

 

 

Out of Spec Dave

YouTube and X (Twitter) personality, Out of Spec Dave from Norwalk, CT, talked about his adventures as a road warrior, having driven lots of different EVs and experienced the many faces of public charging. Not all of them are happy faces. Part of the charging experience is knowing before you get to a charger, when deciding where to charge, whether a charger is in service and how fast it is charging. There is a gap in the eco-system here. He has launched the “Rate Your Charge” newsletter. Take a video or photo of your charge, describe your experience, and tag @outofspecdave on Twitter. The data are compiled and this weekly report is issued. Take a video or photo, provide details and tag them (@outofspecdave) on Twitter. These are being compiled in a weekly report posted to Twitter. For those not on Twitter, use this Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd9nE1JOulqidJNacpL230TdswfnnaWBTjdGIaky3ffkHF6EA/viewform?pli=1

Rate Your Charge - Out of Spec Dave

PACE

Mark Scully from People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) spoke about their program to help municipalities decarbonize and save money in the process. This slide illustrates the cost savings projected in a transition to renewables.

Cost Savings with Renewable Energy

United Illuminating

We get many questions regarding whether widespread EV adoption will crash the grid. While the grid does need to be modernized (and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has a grid modernization docket), Rick Rosa from Avangrid/UI discussed using EVs to optimize the grid. This slide is an example of optimization vs curtailment. EVs will be beneficial to the grid for the foreseeable future and, as such, there are incentives for EV owners to participate. See our incentives page for a more detailed description of the program with links to sign up for the residential or commercial incentives. This program is also offered by Eversource and it can offset the costs of buying and installing a 240 volt charger, as well as pay an ongoing incentive to participate in their managed charging programs.

Charging Curtailment with Optimization

Zoning for EV Readiness

Daphne Dixon of Live Green CT, who has done a lot of work with municipalities, gave a presentation that illustrated the complexity of zoning for EVs but also highlighted the significant benefits as noted in the example below.

EV Zoning Opportunities

All Electric, Zero Emission Home

Paul's Home with Tesla Roof

Paul Braren provided a detailed description of his journey to create an all-electric home (solar roof seen in the photo, powerwall/VPP, 2 EVs, insulation for home and windows, heat pumps, smart panel, electric garden tools) and capture the available incentives. It has been a complicated road. This links to his full presentation.

IRA Transfer Provision

In his update on incentives, EV Club President, Barry Kresch, discussed the implementation of the transfer provision in 2024, and how it changes a tax credit into a point of sale rebate.

IRA Transfer Provision

Advanced Clean Cars II

CT is a participant in the California Air Resources Board emissions requirements. It is now in the process of implementing the second phase of these regulations, commencing in 2027 through 2035. The rules require manufacturers to sell increasing amounts of zero emission light-duty vehicles, reaching 100% in 2035.  There is a separate set of regulations that would significantly lower emissions for medium and heavy-duty vehicles during this same period. Charles Rothenberger, Climate Attorney for Save the Sound, explained these regulations. The legislature has authorized CT DEEP to proceed with the required multi-step process. The slide below shows where we are and the remaining steps.

steps to implement advanced clean cars 2

There is some concern that when the rules go back to the legislature, in which a bi-partisan review committee is supposed to examine them for legal sufficiency, that there may be an effort by opponents to short-circuit the approvals process. More on that to come.

We hope you see you next time!!!

 




Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium (NEEVS)

The Symposium is Sold Out – People Can Still Come for the Car Show

Get charged up at NEEVS, the ultimate gathering for EV enthusiasts, policy wonks, and all who seek cutting edge guidance on decarbonization.

Please join us at the first annual Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium (NEEVS) at Hotel Marcel in New Haven on September 9, 2023. EV enthusiasts, electrification and decarbonization advocates, sustainability volunteers and professionals, municipal employees, real estate owners and developers and policy wonks are invited to join us.

Bruce Becker is the lead architect and owner/developer of Hotel Marcel in New Haven, the country’s first zero emissions and Passive House hotel, and Chairman of the EV Club of CT. Bruce will welcome guests as they enjoy a light buffet lunch, and briefly share his approach to hotel e-mobility at Hotel Marcel. Guests have access to Tesla Superchargers, Level 2 chargers under a solar canopy and a custom electric shuttle van.

Hotel Marcel New Haven with solar canopies in foreground

You will learn firsthand from expert guest speakers about:

  1. Hotel Marcel’s guest experience in e-mobility,
  2. The state of public EV charging and opportunities for improving it,
  3. The latest updates in state and federal EV/EVSE incentives and V2G,
  4. Best practices for transitioning vehicles and homes to all-electric,
  5. How to move municipalities to 100% clean, renewable energy,
  6. The societal and environmental benefits that proposed regulations for light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles under Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) provide for Connecticut.
  7. Zoning for EV readiness

Date: September 9, 2023

Hours: 12:00-4:30

Buffet Lunch: 12:00
Presentations: 12:00-3:00
Networking and Car Show 3:00-4:30

Host: Hotel Marcel, 500 Sargent Drive, New Haven, CT 06511

Organizer: EV Club of CT

Partner: Tesla Owners Club of CT

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors: Hotel Marcel, Live Green CT, EV Connect, Chargepoint, Maxwell Vehicles, and the Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition.

Live Green Connecticut

 

EV Connect is a sponsor of NEEVS.

Chargepoint

Greater New Haven Clean Cities Logo

Maxwell vehicles logo

Hotel Marcel New Haven at dusk

Speaker Schedule:

12:00-12:15: Welcome address from Bruce Becker, lead architect and owner/developer of Hotel Marcel New Haven and Chairman of the EV Club of CT. Guests will be treated to an overview of the e-mobility customer experience at Hotel Marcel, the country’s first zero emissions and Passive House hotel.

12:15-12:45: Out of Spec Dave will share his experiences charging his EVs at various public charging stations, sometimes across long distances, to map the current state of publicly-available EVSE and how the customer experience can be improved to accelerate EV adoption.

12:45-1:15 Mark Scully, President, People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) will present their model for decarbonizing at the municipal level. PACE is an all-volunteer public health and environmental organization formed in 1973 by a group of concerned Connecticut citizens to promote the development of clean energy, encourage energy efficiency and conservation and challenge Connecticut’s commitment to nuclear power. Over many years, PACE has engaged in education, outreach and advocacy on clean energy issues. PACE is committed to developing a pathway to a 100% renewable future, free of fossil and nuclear fuels. PACE is the largest all-volunteer organization in CT working on these issues, and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

1:15-2:05: Vehicle and home electrification panel discussion + Q&A with moderator Barry Kresch, President, EV Club of CT, and panelists Paul Braren, owner of TinkerTry and an all-electric home, and Rick Rosa, Senior Manager for EV Programs and Products from Avangrid/United Illuminating. Decarbonizing vehicles and the built environment requires working with a suite of incentives, electric utility programs, and equipment vendors. Learn about the latest EV/EVSE incentives and how the EDCs (utilities) are thinking about Vehicle to Grid (V2G) connectivity. Paul will share best practices and lessons learned from going all-in on his home remodeling by enrolling his Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwalls in Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP) with ConnectedSolutions program, powering two EVs utilizing Managed Charging and Charge on Solar, maximizing efficiency and savings by installing a SPAN smart electrical panel and installing heat pumps for year-round comfort with no natural gas.

2:05-2:30: Charles Rothenberger, Climate & Energy Attorney, Save the Sound will present highlights of the Regulations for Light, Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles under Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II). In July 2023, Connecticut became the latest state to initiate adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II rule, which will benefit society by requiring manufacturers to increase sales of electric and other zero-emission models within the state over time, culminating with 100% of new sales being ZEV in 2035.

2:30 – 3:00: Daphne Dixon, Co-founder and Executive Director, Live Green Connecticut and Director, Connecticut SWA Clean Cities Coalition, will present about Zoning for EV Readiness, a must attend for municipal decision makers.

Hotel Marcel bar and dining room
Hotel Marcel bar and dining room

Networking and Car Show 3:00-4:30: Enjoy beverages and food at the hotel bar while networking with other guests, and head outdoors to the lot adjacent to Hotel Marcel’s Superchargers to enjoy the car show while networking with EV owners that are members of Tesla Owners Club of CT, the EV Club of CT and the Westport Police Department.

Hotel Martel New Haven Superchargers with Teslas
Hotel Marcel New Haven Superchargers with Teslas

RSVP required: Register here.
Interested in a sponsorship? Please email evclubct@gmail.com.

Parking at the hotel is available to all. Club members that are participating in the car show, please register your vehicles for that portion of the event.

Guests may register for:

1) both event tickets: the symposium and car show (only if you’re showing a car),

2) only the symposium (attending the car show is open to all registered symposium guests)

3) only the car show (if you’re showing a car and will not be attending the symposium).




Rivian Guilty of “Pre-Crime”

Rivian Service Center Stalled By Dealership Lawsuit

We’ve seen this movie before.

In a replay of what we recently saw with Tesla, a lawsuit by an auto dealership has stalled the opening of a service center by a company that employs a direct sales business model. As reported in the GreenwichTime, the Town of Shelton approved a permit for Rivian to build a service center and this was appealed by Mario D’Addario Buick, Inc. As noted in the article, the complaint states that the facility will engage in the “sale of new and used Rivian vehicles in violation of Connecticut law.”

Tesla previously received a permit from East Hartford to open a badly needed second service center in Connecticut. Hoffman Auto promptly filed an action specifying a similar basis. East Hartford subsequently withdrew the permit and Tesla did not further pursue the matter. The company continues to scout for another suitable location.

Of course, both Rivian and Tesla know the law and don’t have plans to violate it. However, if the law were to be changed, and it has come before the legislature repeatedly (thus far unsuccessfully), their use of the facilities may change accordingly.

There is a difference between the Rivian and Tesla cases, which is that Rivian plans to use the proposed facility to deliver vehicles bought online. In Texas, another state that bans direct sales, Tesla has been able to deliver new vehicles at its service centers. They do not make deliveries in CT.

With a hat-tip to Philip K. Dick who coined the phrase, pre-crime refers to knowing someone is going to commit a crime they haven’t yet committed, and is in the realm of science-fiction where it belongs. In our version of reality, it amounts to dealerships using the franchise laws pretextually to make getting these vehicles serviced as inconvenient as it is to buy them. It is part of the dealerships’ continuing campaign to stifle competition and consumer choice.




Volunteers for Sierra Club EV Shopper Study

Volunteers Needed For Sierra Club Rev Up EV Shopper Study, Round 3

The Sierra Club is fielding a third round of its Rev Up EV Shopper Study and is asking for help from the EV Club. Help is defined as visiting dealerships with a set of questions to ask and items to observe to assess if a dealership is making a serious effort to sell electric vehicles. The last study, like the new one, was national, and was done in 2019. At that point, there were serious deficiencies with respect to dealership commitment to EV sales. The prior study can be found here. These were some of the key findings:

Sierra Club Rev Up EV Shopper Study Key findings

A lot has changed in the macro EV environment since 2019 and we look forward to seeing the new findings. As we did last time, we will ask the Sierra Club to join us at a meeting to discuss the study results.

This link will take you to the Sierra Club page about the study. If you volunteer, they will follow up with you directly. Feel free to let the club know about your experience with the survey. We got some interesting additional texture last time from participating members – more like a focus group to complement the quantitative survey results.

It is not necessary to be a member of the Sierra Club or EV Club to participate. There are questions about the Tesla shopping experience in the study which serve as a useful point of comparison. We appreciate the participation of Tesla owners as well.

One final note. This club supports changing the franchise laws to allow direct sales by EV-exclusive manufacturers. Even though we and other like-minded individuals and organizations have not yet carried the day, these studies, and findings like that pictured above, have been an important data point in our arguments that excluding these companies from doing business in CT serves to slow EV adoption.

 

 




Direct Sales Bill Is Not Being Called for a Vote

Bill Stalled in the Senate

CT News Junkie is reporting that SB 214 will not be called for a vote in the Senate. This bill is also referred to by opponents, pejoratively, as the “Tesla bill,” though it would apply to any manufacturer of exclusively battery electric vehicles that does not have an existing franchise network and is not majority owned by a company that does (Ford has a minority stake in Rivian), and would allow them to open stores for the sale and delivery of their vehicles in CT.

As quoted to News Junkie, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Will Haskell of Westport, co-chair of the Transportation Committee said, “I think we have the votes in the Senate, I just think we’re out of time.” He also claims there are Republican votes in the Senate, which would be a change from last year.

The bill passed out of the Joint Transportation Committee by a vote of 22 – 12 with one absent and was not exactly along party lines. One Republican senator on the committee voted “yea.” That was John Kissel. Several Senate Democrats voted against the bill in committee: Steve Cassano, Rick Lopes and Norm Needleman. Democratic Representatives Matt Blumenthal and Christine Conley were also no votes. Republican Representatives Tom O’Dea, David Labriola, Irene Haines, and Tami Zawistowski were yes votes.

This bill is considered controversial – but only in Hartford! Consumers overwhelmingly support it. Public testimony given to the committee is also overwhelmingly supportive. Outside experts on the left, right, and center of the political spectrum support direct sales. But there is an entrenched and well-financed local special interest, the dealerships, who vigorously oppose it and marshal a number of specious arguments to do so. Here is a more detailed explication of our point of view with supporting data.

Whether the votes were there, or one vote short, as was allegedly the case last year, is immaterial. Opponents have consistently been able to run out the clock on this measure, no doubt working with some legislators behind the scenes to prevent the bill from coming to a vote. If the committee chair can’t count a majority, it doesn’t get brought up. That way they keep their dealers happy and don’t have to directly face their constituents. Also, if a bill does not come for a vote, it does not get counted in the environmental scorecard of the League of Conservation voters, so it is also a form of green-washing. A number of club members aided us in our efforts by contacting their legislators. Many get a response along the lines of, “I am looking at it very closely,” a way of saying no politely. Democratic Senator Julie Kushner held a press conference with the United Auto Workers, where part of her statement characterized Elon Musk as “already ruler of the world.” Excuse us, Senator, this is not about Elon Musk. It is not even about Tesla. It is about your constituents.

This Is an Election Year

Changes are afoot. Senator Haskell is leaving the legislature. He represents what is considered a swing district that was represented by Republican Toni Boucher for 10 years before Haskell defeated her in 2018. She has announced her candidacy. Republican Senator Kevin Witkos, who was rumored to be a possible yes vote, is not standing for re-election. Representative Laura Devlin, who was a no vote in committee, is GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski’s running mate.

Consider your vote carefully. Don’t hesitate to ask candidates for a direct response on their stance on this issue. Direct sales is the single most impactful measure that can be taken to accelerate the pace of EV adoption. The data are clear from the experience of other states.

We will come back to membership next year asking for support. Despite the discouragement of this and past years, we will need to respond in force. There are more of us every year. They can’t ignore us forever.