Charging Forward – April 2021
Updated: May 4
Spring has sprung and the Southeast is in full bloom with electric buses! President Biden virtually toured the Proterra bus plant in Greenville, SC, and spoke about the proposed American Jobs Plan's infrastructure investments that include $20 billion for electric school buses. In North Carolina, Vice-President Kamala Harris took a tour of the Thomas Built electric school bus factory. Electric bus technology has accelerated exponentially and is ripe for full-scale deployments. Electric bus lifecycle costs are now competitive with diesel buses and there are tremendous public health and environmental benefits from electrification. Come see an electric bus for yourself! Read below to get registered for a Blue Bird school bus demonstration.
In addition to buses, we have been awash in exciting electric transportation news and many intersections (see what I did there) between clean energy and clean transportation.
As we continue to track the progress of electric transportation growth in the Southeast and beyond, we remain grateful for our readers who stay connected to us and others on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To receive these newsletters in your inbox, click here to sign up!
Powering the EV Movement
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s Electrify the South (ETS) EV Policy Toolkit continues to grow and expand electric transportation approaches throughout the Southeast to provide policy and technology best practices for local governments as they transition to electric transportation systems. In addition, the ETS website also has a fresh new look. The team has streamlined our reports, Toolkit, and webinars under the “Resources” section, and the “Blog” and “Newsletter” have their own sections for easy reference. Please let us know what you think by visiting electrifythesouth.org.
On the 11th anniversary of the tragic Deepwater Horizon explosion, we've reexamined how we can move past the threats of offshore drilling into a clean energy economy with electric vehicles. If Americans buy about 35 million EVs for their next vehicles instead of gas-powered vehicles, by the early 2030s gasoline demand would decrease enough to offset the amount of gasoline that could be produced from opening the Atlantic, Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific combined. This goal is feasible, but we need to support pro-EV policies to help reach this target. Read more in this blog post.
The Florida Public Service Commission approved an EV charging pilot program for Tampa Electric Company allowing the company to own and operate 200 new charging ports. This is the fifth EV pilot program approved in the state and will allow TECO to spend up to $2 million dollars to purchase, install, own, and maintain charging stations. The deployment of these charging stations will support EV adoption by increasing customer confidence in the availability of public charging. Read more in this blog post.
Join Florida Transportation Systems, Inc., and Blue Bird on May 12th for an electric school bus ride and drive! The event will offer an immersive experience into the latest Blue Bird electric bus technology and what the future looks like. A light lunch will be served. In keeping with continued CDC COVID-safety guidance, please plan to wear a mask.
Wednesday, May 12, 9:30 -12:30 PM ET
BB&T Center: 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise, FL
Join SACE and partners on May 15 for "2021 Hands Across the Sand" when we will be gathering virtually to say NO to offshore drilling and fossil fuels and YES to clean energy. Accelerating our transition to clean transportation will reduce oil demand, mitigate climate change pollution, and help ensure our coasts are not threatened by offshore drilling and the effects of climate change (see EVs Can Drive Down Offshore Oil featured above). Join us to hear from beach and ocean advocates from across the country and world and get amped up to protect our coast.
Saturday, May 15, 11 AM - 2 PM ET
SACE has joined forces with other clean energy and climate advocacy leaders from across the country to call on our Congressional leaders to support President Biden’s goal of passing a federal Clean Electricity Standard (CES) by 2035. The work we do now to advance electric transportation and enable consumers and fleets to retire oil-dependent cars and trucks is key to implementing a CES, while simultaneously creating millions of jobs, cleaning our air and water, protecting public health, lowering electric bills, and securing energy independence.
The specialty license plate campaign in North Carolina continues to move forward after Rep. Julie von Haefen's bill to approve the plate passed the House Transportation Committee. Next, on to the Finance Committee. North Carolinians interested in getting the specialty license plate design can still apply, and applicants' initial $10 fee will be covered by Plug-in NC. If the design is approved, the plate can increase awareness of and support for electric vehicles no matter what kind of vehicle they are on.
Paving the Way
Google Maps is introducing new features to make it easier for drivers to choose eco-friendly options. The move is part of the company's pledge last year to reach "carbon-free" operations by 2030 and to nudge its billion users to make more eco-friendly choices. Google Maps will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has approximately the same ETA as the fastest route. In cases where choosing an "eco-friendly" route would add travel time, Google Maps will show both options along with the estimated carbon footprint of each.
A new national report from the University of California, Berkeley shows that, with the right policy, it is technically and economically feasible for all new car and truck sales to be electric by 2035, saving lives, cutting transportation costs, and creating millions of jobs. The 2035 Report 2.0 is the first to use the latest battery and infrastructure costs to show how the infrastructure needed to support this transition can be built quickly and cost-effectively, and that electric cars will be cheaper than gasoline equivalents within the next five years.
SACE's third annual “Tracking Decarbonization in the Southeast: Generation and CO2 Emissions” report includes analyses showing that, based on the latest utility plans, electric vehicles in the Southeast can drive for 92 miles on kWh charge with an equivalent emissions impact of a gallon of gas. On top of that, the emissions intensity of the power supply is expected to fall approximately 20% over the next decade. This means that electric vehicles (EVs) that charge using electricity will get cleaner over time, and in 2030 will increase the MPGe to 148 miles.
Readers Kicking Gas
Every month we'll spotlight stories and photos from YOU, our readers, about how EVs play a role in your world. To be featured in an upcoming ETS newsletter, send us an email here!
Sara Barczak, Washington, D.C.
"My husband and I knew that our 2005 car was just a moment away from potentially having a super-expensive repair and we wanted to go electric for a host of reasons – lessening our carbon footprint, wanting a reliable vehicle with less maintenance, and knowing that our typical commute for work was less than 50 miles a day. We went car shopping last June and came across a deal on a great-looking 2019 Nissan Leaf SL that gets ~220 miles so we made the leap to electric and have never looked back! SO fun to drive (and with our traffic here in DC, making driving fun is saying something!) and we don't miss the gas station. We've loved our 120+ mile road trips (one-way) to Shenandoah National Park throughout all the seasons. Plus, how fun is it to smoke the other cars lumbering up Skyline Drive?! We just trickle charge from the rental cabin overnight. Add this to us having solar panels on our home and we are making strides to reduce climate change pollution." — Sara Barczak & Anthony Jernigan (Sara was SACE's former Regional Advocacy Director and now works with the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, DC.)