The Long and Winding Roadmap

DEEP EV Roadmap Released

The final version of the long-awaited Roadmap was publicly released a few weeks ago. For those of you who are in the weeds with EV policy, at 104 pages, plus 358 footnotes, and an appendix, this is the doc for you!

The report is divided into 16 sections and covers the waterfront in terms of all of the policy areas that could be actioned to support more rapid EV adoption. These include optimizing for grid impact; infrastructure; the role of utilities; incentives; fleets; light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles; building codes; environmental justice; and others. The large volume of research that went into this provides useful background information and, importantly, descriptions of experiences from other states, particularly with respect to incentives and utilities (or EDCs, for electric distribution companies, in the argot of the report).

We will be diving into some of the sections covered in the report in more detail, but these are some top of mind thoughts.

We have a long way to go. There are 11,677 registered EVs in the state as of January 1, 2020, but the Multi-state ZEV Action Plan that CT has signed onto calls for about 150,000 EVs by 2025 and 500,000 by 2030. ZEV in this context refers to battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrid vehicles(PHEV, and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV).

We are behind the curve in many respects when it comes to enacting EV-friendly policy. Even the phrasing of the recommendations is often in very preliminary language. For example, “DEEP will explore pilot programs for EVSE deployment at MUDs.” Many states have pushed further than CT has. The flip side of this is that CT can learn from them. There just needs to be some urgency about doing this.

The Roadmap notes that the “travel provision” in the ZEV plan was closed in 2018. This allowed manufacturers to earn compliance credits in other states for vehicles sold in California. The closing of this provision is intended to yield a greater number of EV models for sale in CT and the other states in the Northeast.

There are two things that could be done tomorrow (more or less) to increase EV sales that come at no cost.

The first is a glaring omission from the Roadmap, which makes no mention of permitting direct sales, more than likely a landmine upon which they did not want to tread. This refers to the years’ long effort by Tesla to open stores in CT, and the campaign by the legacy automakers and dealers, successful to date, to stop them through the use of the decades-old franchise laws. As has been noted by this blog numerous times, Tesla sells more EVs than all of the other automakers combined, and they could sell more if they were able to open stores and additional service centers.

Also, as has been noted by this blog on numerous occasions, but worth repeating, EV Club of CT is not a Tesla club. We want to see everyone selling EVs, and we wish the other automakers were as effective on the showroom floor as they are with their lobbying. We just call it as we see it.

In order for direct sales to happen, there needs to be legislation. Past attempts to craft a legislative compromise ended up with language that was narrowly tailored so that the carve-out would only apply to Tesla. We feel the world is changing and that the marketplace should flourish with new ideas. There should be provision for new EV companies, including but not limited, to Tesla, and new means of vehicle ownership (e.g. subscription). New entrants are poised to come online in the next year or two.

The other item that could be done forthwith is adjusting the CHEAPR parameters. The most recent set of changes is causing CHEAPR to pace about 75% under a budget that isn’t that large to begin with. There has been language on its website for months stating there could be changes in 2020. The legislature also authorized a rebate for used EVs. The Roadmap recommends contracting with an experienced program administrator to develop and implement such a program, which makes it sound a long way off. More on this in a future post.

Funding

There are various funding-related issues discussed in the report, such as the different funding mechanisms that have been used for incentives and the VW Settlement funds, of which $55 million-plus is being allocated to CT. Also part of the VW settlement is the installation of charging infrastructure under the moniker of ElectrifyAmerica. Of particular importance is the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), a major multistate cap and invest initiative to curb tailpipe emissions, which will yield funds (no specific number or date available as yet), some of which can be invested to support EV adoption efforts.

We encourage everyone to read the Roadmap and share comments with the club.

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