National Drive Electric Week in Connecticut

Jeff Gross

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Photo Credit: Noya Fields on Flickr

Photo: Charge Point EV Charging Station in Connecticut.

Quietly, but with increasing impact, the adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) is increasing in Connecticut and around the world. No longer a phenomenon represented by one or two models from a few manufacturers, a wide variety of EV choices now, and even more in the coming year, are available for consumer choice. 

 

Consider the following points:

  • Volume production of affordable, longer-range electric vehicles from brands as diverse as Volkswagen, Ford, and Kia are joining the market that was launched in the US by the Nissan Leaf and later joined by Tesla and GM.

  • Even in these troubled economic times, sales of EVs remain steady, while sales of traditional fossil-fuel models fall significantly.

  • Tesla, the dominant US manufacturer of EVs, remains profitable, with a current market valuation higher than ALL of the other US automobile manufacturers combined.

  • In local markets where diesel or hybrid models have historically been popular, pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are assuming their market share, especially because present-day BEVs often have electric ranges of 250 miles or more.

  • Electric buses are arriving in Connecticut cities and schools.

  • Innovations such as million-mile batteries will further solidify the reputation of EVs as the reliable, long-lived option with the lowest lifetime costs.

 

Why does this matter? Electric vehicles produce no carbon dioxide or other pollutants in operation. They only contribute to global warming to the extent the local power grid still relies on coal or natural gas; these fossil-fuel power sources are being strategically replaced in most countries by renewables such as solar and wind power, backed by battery storage (including re-purposed EV battery packs).

 

In Connecticut, progress can be seen in the proliferation of high-power charging stations available to the public, increased familiarity of residents with electrified transportation, and favorable state policies.  For example, 2020 was the first year of operation for a new oversight board for the state rebate program CHEAPR (Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate). In a bill supported by Sierra Club, the decision-making power was transferred from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to a legislature-appointed board with a broad range of stakeholders. The new board is eager to improve the program. Sierra Club is supporting the introduction of rebates for used electric vehicles, which will help to make electric transportation affordable to families of lower income.  Also under consideration are rebates for electric bicycles, which Sierra Club supports, as an affordable option so that low- and moderate-income consumers who have lower rates of car ownership can access the benefits of electrified transportation. 

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How can you help?

Learn more about electric vehicles by attending a National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) event here in Connecticut or online. This year's National Drive Electric Week will have a reduced physical footprint, so be aware that some activity will be taking place online. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, physical NDEW events will be smaller than in the past, but some high-quality events will still take place. Two such events will be at Hamden and Old Saybrook

 

National Drive Electric Week Kick-Off Event - Online - Thursday, September 24, 2020

 

Hamden National Drive Electric Week - Saturday, September 26, 2020

 

Old Saybrook National Drive Electric Week - Saturday, October 3, 2020

Jeff Gross is Chair of Sierra Club Connecticut’s Clean Transportation for All Committee.