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Charging Forward – January 2024

Updated: Jan 26



Happy New Year! 2023 was a monumental year for electric transportation, with electric vehicle (EV) sales topping one million for the first time in one year – and we're excited to see what's in store for 2024. From unprecedented funding for electric school buses that keep our children safe, to over $600 million in federal grants announced to strengthen the nation’s EV charging network, we're already kicking off the year with a vroom


This month, we’re sharing two blogs on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean School Bus (CSB) Program: one on how the program is already electrifying schools across the Southeast, and another that dives deeper into how your community can benefit from the program – including an easy way to ask your school board to take action. Electric buses are cleaner, quieter and healthier for kids and the planet, and we want to make sure that communities in the Southeast take advantage of new federal funding opportunities to bring the buses to school districts around the region.


Speaking of incentives, the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides tax credits up to $7,500 per vehicle to help individuals and communities make the switch from gas to electric. Stay updated on the new requirements and tools linked in the Powering the Movement and Paving the Way sections. If you already drive an EV, you can check out the Zero Emission Transportation Association’s (ZETA) cold weather EV driving guide to ensure you’re maximizing its performance in the recent frosty weather sweeping the Southeast. 


From school children to everyday commuters, we all deserve to live in cleaner, safer communities with just access to electric transportation. The good news is that in addition to the electric school bus grants available for school districts, there are at the same time many opportunities for local governments looking to reap the benefits of clean transportation in their communities, from clean air to new jobs. Our next Electrify the South virtual Collaborative this February can help local governments across the Southeast identify challenges and learn how to access and implement federal transportation electrification funding. Local governments that are interested can learn more in this month's newsletter.  


2023 showed us that when we work together to bring the benefits of electric transportation to our communities, the progress is electrifying. 2024 is bound to show us that a just and equitable clean energy transformation in the Southeast is no longer just around the bend – it’s happening right now, all around us.


We remain grateful for our readers who stay connected to us and others on Facebook and Instagram. To receive these newsletters in your inbox, click here to sign up!


Charging Forward,

Dory Larsen


 

Powering the EV Movement


En Route to the Southeast: Electric School Bus Opportunities and Awards

Take a deep dive into the EPA's Clean School Bus Program, including the more than $172 million of investments awarded to the Southeast in support of purchasing safer, cleaner electric school buses. Read more.



Green is the New Yellow: Electric School Buses are Rolling into the Southeast

Clean, electric school buses are rolling out everywhere across the Southeast thanks to the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program. Take a look at just a handful of news stories from recent months showing how schools in the Southeast are charging ahead. Read more.



Clean Energy Tax Credits Clarified with New Rules and Tools

New IRS Direct Pay guidance, resources, and assistance will make applying for and using the EV charging infrastructure tax credit easier in 2024, including clarifications on which census tracts qualify for these credits. Read more.


 

Get Plugged-In



Electrify the South Virtual Collaborative Virtual event


The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) invite local governments from across the Southeast to join the Electricity the South Collaborative for a virtual meetup on Thursday, February 22, from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM.


The Electrify the South Collaborative creates a community of learning for Southeastern local governments (sustainability staff, city managers, elected officials, fleet staff, planning staff, finance staff, and more) to identify challenges, find solutions and enhance their ability to access and implement federal transportation electrification funding made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.


If you are a local government interested in participating, please contact Dory Larsen at dory@cleanenergy.org.


Electrify the South Virtual Collaborative

Thursday, Feb. 22 | 10 AM – 11:30 AM | Online


 


Tell Your Local School Leaders to Get on the Bus

Funding available for electric school buses


Whether kids are riding to school on country roads or city streets, over mountains or along the coast, they all deserve to arrive at school healthy and ready to learn. However, studies show that pollution from diesel school buses puts our students’ health at risk. The good news is that there's funding for clean electric school buses, and you can help bring them to your community!


The EPA's Clean School Bus Program Rebates program will provide $500 million in upfront rebates to help school districts purchase new electric school buses. The application deadline for the current round of funding is February 14, 2024, but there will be more funding opportunities in the future, so preparing now is smart. Read more about why electric school buses are game-changers, and use this sample letter to help your school board members and superintendent get on the bus. 


 


Palmetto Air Quality Collaborative (PAQC) Open House Webinars

Virtual events


The South Carolina Office of Resilience will host two Palmetto Air Quality Collaborative (PAQC) Open House webinars on January 30 and 31, both open to the public. This is an opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about the PAQC initiative, a 4-year planning initiative to develop innovative strategies to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) and air pollution in South Carolina, funded through the EPA Climate Pollution Reduction Grant program.


The webinars will include a 30-minute presentation followed by an hour Q&A for individuals may ask questions, discuss community interests or impacts, provide input on the draft PCAP, or suggest reduction measure projects or ideas.


PAQC Open House Webinars

Tuesday, January 30 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Wednesday, January 31 | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM


 


Hope Spot Festival 2024

In-Person Event


SACE staff will be attending the Hope Spot Festival in Dunedin, Florida, which will take place on Saturday, February 17 from 10 AM – 5 PM. In addition to a first-come, first served Tesla Test Drive, the family-friendly festival will feature hands-on activities, live music, food and drinks, games, waterfront and on-water cleanup, community art, live native animals, student entrepreneurs, speakers, guided activities, and over 60 ocean-focused exhibitors and environmentally-conscious vendors. If you're in the area, we hope to see you there!


Hope Spot Festival

Saturday, Feb. 17 | 10 AM – 5 PM

Edgewater Park, 51 Main St, Dunedin, FL


 

Paving the Way



Biden-Harris Administration Announces $623 Million in Grants to Continue Building Out Electric Vehicle Charging Network


Round 1 Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) grants, meant to complement the $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program to build a backbone of high-speed EV chargers along U.S. highways, were announced on January 10. Three awards went to the Southeast: two in North Carolina and one in Georgia. SACE's Electric Transportation Director Stan Cross broke down the CFI program's benefits for local communities. For a more in-depth look, read more.


 


The $7,500 tax credit for electric cars has some big changes in 2024. What to know


Electric vehicle sales reached over 1 million units sold in one year for the first time in 2023, and this year is expected to continue the trend. However, if you are considering buying an electric car in 2024, there's good and bad news: while a substantial federal tax credit for EVs will be easier to access this year, fewer vehicles will qualify for the full $7,500 credit thanks to new requirements. You can search for vehicle eligibilities here, and read more.


 


Optimizing Electric Vehicles for Cold Weather Driving


There has been quite a buzz about cold weather and EVs recently. Get some tips for maximizing your EV's performance in low-temperature conditions, ice or snow, and in the traffic jams that winter weather often brings with this guide on cold weather EV driving from the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA). Read more.


 


Top Range for Model Year 2023 EVs was 516 Miles on a Single Charge


In model year 2023, the highest top range for an EV was 516 miles on a single charge in the 2023 Lucid Air. The median range for all EV models rose to a new high of 270 miles, continuing to increase each year since modern EVs were introduced in 2011, when ranges only spanned 63 to 94 miles per charge. Read more and find more EV fun facts here.


 

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! We'll also highlight our partners and allies from our testimonials page and feature photos from events SACE has participated in across the region.



A Look Back to Start the New Year


It's a little known fact that electric vehicles actually appeared long before internal-combustion cars – as far back as the 1830s! From the electric ambulance that carried President William McKinley in 1901, to the sporty Chevrolet Electrovette that came about during the oil crisis of the 1970s, there's a long road of EVs that got us to where we are now.


Check out this article we're reading to learn more about the history of EVs as we enter 2024 – a year of even more models, more incentives, more funding, and more innovation.

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