Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index

Editorial: Turning a blind eye

In a legislative session that is full of contentious issues, Iowa Republicans and Democrats found common ground on at least one thing recently: They love ethanol.

By an overwhelming margin, the Legislature passed a bill to force most retailers in the state to offer more E-15, a higher blend of ethanol than the usual E-10. Gov. Kim Reynolds has been pushing for such a requirement.

Since then, a few commentators in the state have questioned Iowa’s joined-at-the-hip ethanol policies, a tack taken by politicians in both parties. And some have suggested federal support for ethanol won’t last forever; that perhaps it’s time to prepare for the growth of electric vehicles.

Sitting here on the border of Iowa and Illinois, we have a unique vantage point on this question. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has gone all-in on electric vehicles, pushing through a package of state incentives last year and cheering on the Biden administration’s efforts in this area.

Pritzker has proudly proclaimed that he wants the state to be the “Silicon Valley” of the EV industry.

In Iowa, you won’t hear that from the top echelons of government.

Iowa continues to maintain policies that are barriers to EV expansion. In a column for the Des Moines Register last year, analysts for the Consumer Choice Center said Iowa was tied for last on an index for electric vehicle accessibility.

Read the full article here

What’s holding back the Electric Vehicle Revolution?

Those flying cars we’ve seen for years in sci-fi films and cartoons? Yeah — still waiting. But we DO have cars that run on electricity, and they’re a big improvement over gasoline for many car buyers and for the environment. Why, then, is it so difficult and expensive to get one? This video seeks to answer that question, but we’ll give you a hint: state and federal government power are being leveraged in a big way.

The electric vehicle industry is booming in Kentucky. Will ownership follow?

Daniel Monroe has let more than 275 people sit behind the wheel of his 2018 Tesla Model 3 and experience what he calls the “transformative effect” of driving on an electromagnetic field. 

“People hit that accelerator and they go, ‘Whoa,’” said Monroe, president of Evolve KY, a group that advocates for electric vehicles in.

Letting people drive his Tesla is one way Monroe hopes to create converts in a state that consistently ranks near the bottom nationally in EV ownership and infrastructure. “My car can’t save the planet staying in my driveway,” he said.

For nearly a decade, Evolve KY has done its part to increase EV ownership in Kentucky, most notably, installing 91 EV chargers around the state. But Kentucky remains one of the least EV-friendly states. 

Last summer, Bumper.com, a vehicle data website, ranked Kentucky 45th in the U.S. for owning an electric vehicle. It said the state is third worst in the nation for charging stations per 100,000 residents and in the bottom five for electric vehicle infrastructure.

“Kentucky is not alone in this regard—many states in the region are lagging in the adoption of EVs and the necessary infrastructure to support them,” said Bumper.com spokesperson Kerry Sherin.

A similar study from the insurance comparison app Jerry placed Kentucky in the bottom three states for owning an EV and the Consumer Choice Center rated EVs as “barely accessible” in Kentucky. 

Read the full article here

How will Kansas build and repair its roads without a gas tax as more electric vehicles emerge?

Getting charged up about buying a new electric vehicle? More and more Kansans are — and it presents a conundrum for the state.

Officials are expecting to see more EVs on the road in the years to come, as well as hybrid cars and those using alternative fuels. That might mean cost savings for drivers — but money not spent at the gas pump also has an impact on how the state builds and repairs its roads.

Driving an electric vehicle has the same impact on roads in terms of wear and tear — but users are not paying gas taxes, one of the core mechanisms the state uses to fund infrastructure.

At the moment, the concern is less acute. A little over 6,000 hybrid and electric vehicles are registered in Kansas, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation, accounting for .3% of all vehicles registered in the state.

The state ranks toward the bottom nationally in the number of electric vehicles on the road and on the charging infrastructure needed to support them. For instance, Kansas sits at the bottom of the U.S. Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index, a report published by the consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Center.

Read the full article here

Electric Vehicles Could Be Iowa’s Next Renewable Frontier, If There’s The Will

In many ways, Iowa is a pioneer in renewables with wind turbines generating 60% of the state’s electricity last year and the state leading the nation in biofuel production.

Electric vehicles could be another step Iowa could take in the renewables sector and leaders at multiple levels have said they want to explore it.

“A project that we’re working on here in Dubuque is to electrify our entire fleet, as much of our vehicles in the city fleet, as we possibly can,” said Dubuque Mayor-elect Brad Cavanagh. “So we’re talking about 10- to 15-year plan of electrifying our bus fleets, all the cars that we have.”

Cavanagh wants to use money from the bipartisan infrastructure bill to install more electric vehicle charging stations.

Read the full article here

Electrifying Alabama: ‘They want to be the forefront, let’s make it the forefront’

Earlier this week, Gov. Kay Ivey launched “Drive Electric Alabama,” a public awareness campaign promoting electric vehicle sales and “showing the nation, once again, Alabama is a driving force in the automotive industry,” the governor stated.

However, a June Consumer Choice Center report ranks Alabama among the worst states to purchase an electric vehicle, while Bumper, an online search tool for vehicle history reports, ranks Alabama 49th for ease of owning one.

Alexander City resident Carl Kovach, a five-year Tesla owner, calls it “ridiculous.”

“They’re saying they want to be the forefront; let’s make it the forefront,” Kovach said of his state government. “Let’s do what we need to do to ensure that their citizens are able to get a vehicle and know that they have the availability and the servicing and the fuel and everything else they need.”

Read the full article here

President Joe Biden’s signature infrastructure package has passed. What does it mean for Kansas?

After months of pushing and prodding, with no shortage of false starts and apparent dead ends, a $1 trillion-plus infrastructure package championed by President Joe Biden is on its way to becoming law.

The measure passed the U.S. House of Representative on Friday after members reached a deal to approve the package, sending it Biden’s desk. He is expected to formally sign it into law in coming days, praising lawmakers for reaching a deal in his remarks Saturday.

“We did something that’s long overdue, that long has been talked about in Washington but never actually been done,” he said.

Read the full article here

States: The Next Battleground in the Switch to EVs

There is no doubt that the electric vehicle revolution is here, especially after President Joe Biden’s executive order outlining the target of making half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be EVs. Although this is an exciting step forward in reducing emissions that contribute to the climate crisis, Biden’s bold proposal is destined to fail if outdated state regulations remain on the books. Specifically, dealer franchise laws that ban direct-to-consumer sales for electric vehicles.

Currently, 29 states have regulations that either limit or completely ban consumers from purchasing vehicles directly from a manufacturer. If you live in one of the 17 states that has a complete ban, that means you can only purchase an EV from a licensed dealership. This outdated law, which does nothing but protects the dealer franchise model from innovative competition, all but ensures consumers in those states don’t have access to vehicles manufactured by companies like Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, and Lordstown. For example, in order for a consumer in Alabama to purchase an EV from one of those manufacturers, they would have to buy their car in Florida, load it on a flatbed, and drive the flatbed to an Alabama DMV office to register it. If the bans and onerous hurdles remain in place, it is naive to think Biden’s mandate would be even remotely achievable.

What makes these bans on direct-to-consumer sales even more problematic is that consumers are already purchasing cars online, in the used vehicle market, which is legal nationwide. We have seen an increase of online vehicle purchases as consumers prefer the transparent pricing, quick buying process, and convenience of having their vehicle delivered directly to their home. So the question remains if you can buy a used car online, what justification could exist to ban you from buying a new EV online?

The answer is uncomfortable where state politicians are beholden to the dealer franchise model and the power they flex in lobbying state lawmakers. It is an irritating, yet simple, example of the existing industry lobbying to restrict consumer access to maintain its market share.

Getting rid of outdated laws would drastically expand consumer choice, and help lower prices, but the benefits are not limited to one’s pocketbook. In addition to financial considerations, allowing for direct-to-consumer sales eliminates the possibility of a car salesperson inflicting any personal biases they may have onto the buyer, making the experience more comfortable for consumers as a whole.

Another glaring issue with the direct-to-consumer sales bans is they often limit or ban EV companies from having service centers throughout all 50 states. For example, if you own a Tesla in South Carolina and need it to be serviced, you will have to drive to another state to visit a service center. Depending on what needs to be done to the vehicle, that could pose a significant safety risk for all drivers and passengers on the road. Eliminating the direct-to-consumer sales ban is crucial as it will not only increase EV accessibility for consumers but will also help keep America’s roads safe.

Beyond problematic direct-to-consumer sales bans, consumers are often hit with exorbitant registration fees when they purchase an EV. As it stands, 28 states currently have higher registration fees for EVs than for standard gasoline vehicles. Ohio, for example, charges $31 to register your standard passenger vehicles, $100 for hybrid vehicles, and $200 for fully electric vehicles, which is actively discouraging consumers from owning EVs. Those higher registration fees were created to offset the state’s lost revenue from gas taxes to help pay for infrastructure and administrative costs, but it is unfair that EV consumers who make the greener choice and use less gas are being forced to carry the financial burden. Instead of perpetuating revenue-generating penalties onto EV consumers, a better path forward would be embracing technology neutrality in registration fees by treating standard passenger vehicles and EVs the same, which is the approach Florida has taken.

Although some consumers want access to EVs, Biden’s executive order won’t help them get it if changes aren’t made at the state level. In order to reach the ambitious 2030 goal, Biden should work with states to reduce the harsh regulatory barriers currently preventing consumers from fully accessing and embracing electric vehicles. If these laws aren’t changed, the EV boom may end up fizzling out.

Originally published here

Alabama has less than one percent of registered electric vehicles in U.S.

A study ranked the state among the worst places for EV infrastructure and financial incentives.

An analysis of data on electric vehicle demand and existing infrastructure in each state rated Alabama 31st in registered electric vehicle ownership but next to last in terms of ease of use and benefits of having one.

The study was conducted by Bumper, an online marketplace for used vehicles, and scored states in 10 categories — five related to infrastructure and five related to financial incentives. 

Read the full article here

NM Coalition Makes Speedier Push for Electric Vehicles

New Mexicans who want to impact climate change by driving an electric vehicle have several roadblocks, and they won’t end soon if the state fails to take action before the end of this year.

Two years ago, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order committing New Mexico to essential climate-change goals.

The order included a requirement that auto manufacturers deliver more electric vehicles to the state, but the timeline for a necessary rule-making process to adopt Advanced Clean Cars Standards has come and gone twice, and been postponed a third time.

Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said cleaner cars are crucial to address climate change.

“We have these goals of reducing our greenhouse gases and meeting our climate goals that are in the executive order that the governor signed, but until we can get some electric vehicles sold here, we’re not going to meet the transportation one,” Fiebelkorn cautioned.

Southwest Energy Efficiency is among a coalition of groups that filed a formal petition asking the state to adopt Advanced Clean Cars Standards by year’s end, a deadline state officials have said can not be met.

New Mexico has installed more than 100 electric-vehicle charging stations in various locations, but only about 1,200 plug-in electric vehicles are currently on the roads.

Fiebelkorn pointed out the adoption of rules to govern Advanced Clean Car Standards is fairly straightforward because they must be identical to those of other states. She added New Mexico may be unable to implement standards until 2026 if it misses a December deadline.

“Because of the way the standards are written, you have to wait two model years,” Fiebelkorn explained. “And so if we can get it in this year, then that lets us implement a whole year sooner.”

When it comes to purchasing an electric vehicle, the Consumer Choice Center ranked New Mexico and 16 other states in the “barely accessible” category, a notch above nine other states where they are totally “inaccessible,” either because direct-to-consumer sales are banned, or extra registration fees are exorbitant.

Nationwide, electric vehicles represent less than 1% of all vehicles on the road. 

Originally published here.

Scroll to top