Revving the Engine for Electric Cars

Dec 30, 2020

When the General Assembly opens for business next month, a coalition of 33 businesses and non-profits is hoping for action on two bills that would make electric cars more affordable and available in Virginia.

About half the carbon pollution in Virginia comes from cars, trucks and buses, so environmentalists are asking lawmakers to promote the sale of electric vehicles that don’t pollute.

“We want a pro-EV policy in Virginia, and the 2021 General Assembly is the time to do it,” says Stuart Gardner of Generation180 – a group that promotes clean energy.  That group i’s backing a bill from Delegate David Reid to provide cash incentives of up to $2,500 to people who purchase new EVs,  with an additional payment of $2,000 from the state for low and moderate income buyers.  Used electric cars and hybrids would also qualify for state rebates.

Virginia is now building a network of charging stations to serve a growing fleet of electric cars.
Credit EVGo

Generation180, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and 31 others groups are also backing a bill from Delegate Lamont Bagby that would require automakers to send more electric vehicles our way. 

“We compared six cities in Virginia versus six comparable cities in Maryland," Gardner says.  "We found even though Maryland is a smaller state, sells fewer cars, we found that Virginia’s six cities had 44-56% fewer electric vehicles in their inventory."

The state is already using millions of dollars from the Volkswagen settlement to build a network of charging stations for electric cars, and Gardner says that will create more jobs in Virginia.  

Editor's note:  As a listener correctly pointed out, "transportation" accounts for nearly half of all carbon pollution in Virginia, so -- in addition to cars, trucks and buses -- airplanes, trains and ships also contribute to this problem.