Charging Forward – February 2022
We cannot ignore what's happening in Ukraine and our thoughts are with everyone who is affected by the humanitarian crisis unfolding. Meanwhile, conversations in the U.S. focus on increasing gas and oil prices, a topic which seems to pale in comparison to the hardships those in Ukraine are facing, but which also highlights the continued urgency of an equitable transition to low-cost, reliable renewable energy and electric transportation.
Taking a closer look at the the transportation sector in the Southeast, we continue to advocate for holistic transportation policies that address climate change while advancing public health and racial equity. Read on to learn more about how combining multiple strategies to address urban mobility needs while electrifying transportation is essential to reach our climate targets. Additionally this month we take a look at a recent policy in North Carolina that makes EV charging infrastructure more cost-effective, breakdown the funding eligibility for the large swaths of federal funding making its way to states through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and more.
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 and Twitter. To receive these newsletters in your inbox, click here to sign up!
Powering the EV Movement
Transportation currently accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the US and as it stands, vehicle electrification is the only widely available and financially viable alternative we have to decarbonize this sector. Mitigating the worse impacts of the climate crisis not only depends on EVs, but also requires reimagining urban design, addressing the harm that’s been done to historically disinvested communities, and embracing alternative forms of transportation in order to fully realize the opportunity at hand. Thankfully, the needle is indeed moving in the right direction, and indicators are pointing towards an all-EV future. However we must keep in mind: while replacing every vehicle on the road with an EV would vastly reduce emissions, it could also perpetuate existing inequities within our transportation system if we don’t take a holistic and just approach to decarbonize the sector. Read more.
The $5 billion NEVI Formula Program is the cornerstone of $7.5 billion in electric vehicle infrastructure funding made available by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This funding aims to provide a network of 500,000 ultra-fast EV charging stations along the nation's travel corridors to help make cross-country electric travel accessible to all Americans. The remaining $2.5 billion will be announced later this year. Read more.
A new Make-Ready electric vehicle infrastructure program lowers the cost and risk of installing chargers in North Carolina. This month, the NC Utility Commission approved Duke Energy Corporation's Make Ready Credit Program. The ruling allows Duke to take responsibility for bringing power from the grid to EV chargers, and help pay for residential (including multi-family) and commercial charger installations by providing an installation credit based on future revenue the utility will make charging up EVs. Read more.
Executive Director – Drive Electric Florida
Plug in to a revolution in motion! We're pleased to announce that Drive Electric Florida, of which we at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Electrify the South are a Board member of, is looking for their next Executive Director. The ED will work to effectively manage implementation of DEFL’s strategic plan and projects, in coordination with the DEFL Board. The ED will be responsible for the management of all phases of program planning and execution of the organization’s initiatives in Florida, including but not limited to electric vehicle charging infrastructure, outreach and education, and policy development and advocacy. They will also be responsible for expanding the membership and identifying new sources of revenue for the organization and managing all contractors and any future staff for the organization. Finally, the ED will facilitate strategic planning and the development of legislative and regulatory policy among its diverse set of stakeholders.
Executive Director – Drive Electric Florida
Department of Air Quality VW Settlement Fund Meetings
The Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is holding several in-person meetings across the state to inform residents and community organizations about the VW Settlement Phase 2 funding opportunities, especially in Historically Under-Represented Counties. For information on this program please visit the website. In these meetings, DAQ will be presenting important information about the VW Settlement funding and then providing experts to chat with folks who want to explore applying for funding through the Transit & Bus and DC Fast Charging RFPs.
To find a location closest to your county or register for an online session, please use the following information:
Department of Air Quality VW Settlement Fund In-Person Meetings
February 23 - Henderson | 10 AM – noon Halifax, Vance, Warren, Northampton February 23 - Rocky Mount | 2 - 4 PM Wilson, Nash, Edgecombe
February 24 – Pembroke NC | 10AM - noon Robeson, Columbus, Bladen, Cumberland, Scotland, Hoke, Anson, Richmond February 24 – Goldsboro | 2 - 4PM Sampson, Duplin, Wayne, Greene, Lenoir
March 9 – Elizabeth City | 10AM – noon
Perquimans, Bertie, Hertford, Hyde, Terrell, Washington, Martin
March 10 – Hickory | 1 – 3PM
Caldwell, Alexander, Burke, Rutherford, Cleveland
March 16 – near Charlotte |10 – 12noon // 2 – 4PM
March 24 – Kernersville | 1 – 3PM
Rockingham, Caswell, Randolph
Registration is not required for the meetings but is encouraged. Register here.
Get the latest news and updates in your email! Join our email distribution list daq.NC_VWGrants@ncdenr.gov with “Subscribe” in the subject line.
Paving the Way
The Southeast saw more electric vehicles purchased in 2021 than the two previous years combined, according to our report produced with Atlas Public Policy. With the exception of Florida and Georgia, the Southeast still lags behind many in total EV registrations and charging stations. But the boom is encouraging considering the region's relatively recent investments into electric vehicle infrastructure. Federal funding from the recently passed IIJA is expected to help boost those numbers. Southern states are slated to receive approximately $100 million in funding for charging infrastructure in 2022. Read more.
Newly filed Senate Bill 398 — sponsored by Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, and co-sponsored by Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson — would allow Rivian to open its own brick and mortar and sell its electric trucks directly to Georgians. The bill would also say the electric-vehicle companies would have to provide maintenance services for their autos. The passage of this bill could open the door for other direct sales from EV automakers in the state, thus empowering Georgia consumers with more purchasing options. Read more.
Santee Cooper approves $500,000 grant program Late last month, the Santee Cooper Board of Directors approved establishing an electric vehicle grant program that will evaluate government and business proposals that advance an EV support network – everything from local market research to publicly available charging stations. The Board authorized funding of $500,000, with $300,000 of that included in the 2022-2024 budgets and the remainder to be included in subsequent budgets. These grants are designed to help transform the Grand Strand and other parts of the utility’s service territory into electric vehicle-friendly destinations. Read more.
The State of Electric School Bus Adoption in the United States
The United States has seen much progress in electric school bus adoption over the past few months: Over 1,800 electric school buses have been committed by 354 school districts or fleet operators in 36 states. That’s over 600 more buses than observed six months ago, representing a more than 50% growth in commitments. While this is noteworthy progress, it’s not nearly enough.
As part of World Resource Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative, the organization has developed a dataset tracks electric school bus (ESB) adoption across the United States. The dataset is organized by school district and tracks the number of “committed” ESBs in each district, with details like the bus manufacturer and funding source(s). It also contains school district socio-economic characteristics like poverty rates and racial composition, to enable wider analysis including whether the transition to ESBs is happening equitably. Read more.
Want fewer carbon emissions from manufacturing? Make an EV not a fossil gas car. This innovative Yale study used carbon pricing, life cycle assessment, and modeling energy systems to determine that "the total indirect emissions from EVs pale in comparison to the indirect emissions from fossil fuel-powered vehicles. The supply chain for combustion vehicles is just so dirty that electric vehicles can’t surpass them, even when you factor in indirect emissions, showing EVS are far cleaner to make and to drive. Read more.
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!
Dallas, Knoxville, Tennessee
I've worked with a whole lot of self-driving and autonomous software. As far as Level-2 goes –with the driver needing to be behind the wheel– comm AI does not touch the sensors and just overall knowledge base of machine learning that Tesla has. The full self-driving I feel very confident with, and it makes normal driving more relaxing. Driving to places like Nashville, it's a-click of a button and I'm heading there. Additionally, SuperCharging is an outstanding experience. Overall, it's been a worthwhile investment to me.