Why Electric Vehicles
Compared to gasoline fueled vehicles, electric vehicles (EVs) use much less energy, can be powered by locally produced renewable electricity (as opposed to imported oil), can significantly improve local air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dramatically reduce fuel costs. For these and other reasons, SWEEP works to promote the increased adoption of EVs across the Southwest.
- Report Card
SWEEP has published an EV Report Card to grade southwestern state governments on what policies they have adopted to promote electric vehicles.
One of the main barriers to increased EV adoption is their higher upfront cost. States can reduce this upfront cost and increase adoption rates by offering incentives such as tax credits or rebates to defray the initial incremental cost. Currently, Colorado and Utah offer tax credits for the purchase or lease of electric vehicles.
- Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
State governments can play an important role in providing electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE), especially along interstate corridors which will expand the ability of EVs to make longer distance trips. The Colorado Energy Office released an EV Market Study which includes a plan for fast chargers along the state’s interstate corridors. SWEEP completed an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Adoption Assessment for several stakeholders in Boulder, Colorado, and a study on Opportunities for Vehicle Electrification in the Denver Metro area and Across Colorado for the City and County of Denver and the Regional Air Quality Council. SWEEP successfully advocated for the states of Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah to allocate millions of dollars of VW Settlement funding to building out the charging network.
- Building Codes
An important way to support the spread of charging stations is updating building codes to ensure that new residential and commercial buildings are EV ready. Incorporating conduit, wiring or an actual charging station during construction is much cheaper than retrofitting at a later date. Click here for more info on Building Codes to Support Electric Vehicle Charging.
- Economic/Environmental Benefits
SWEEP has analyzed the economic and environmental benefits of EVs compared to gasoline vehicles in each of our states and specifically in the main urban areas of each state. Even accounting for upstream power plant emissions, EVs generally significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local air quality. EVs also significantly reduce fuel costs, which keeps money in drivers’ pockets and helps keep money in the local economy by reducing the need for imported gasoline. See the reports below for the specific benefits EVs provide in each southwestern state:
- Medium and Heavy Duty EVs
Larger and heavier electric vehicles are becoming more common in specific applications such as delivery trucks, garbage trucks and transit and school buses. Colorado provides a tax credit for medium and heavy duty electric vehicles.
- Fleet Vehicles
Government vehicle fleets can be leaders in adopting new vehicle technologies. However, upfront costs of electric vehicles can make it difficult for fleets to purchase EVs. Performance contracting provides government fleets an additional tool to offset the incremental cost of EVs.
- Utility Involvement
As the suppliers of fuel for EVs, utilities have an important role to play in the promotion of EVs. By offering time-of-use rates and supporting infrastructure and vehicle deployment, utilities can help support the market for EVs. SWEEP's 2014 case study of NV Energy profiles an early utility program; our 2016 How Leading Utilities are Embracing Electric Vehicles outlines a number of utility best practices; and in 2018, in response to questions posed by the Colorado PUC, SWEEP helped develop a joint response that lays out many best practices for utility commissions to use in regulation utility EV programs.
- Work with Local Governments
SWEEP works with local governments to promote EVs whenever possible. In 2015, SWEEP completed an assessment for the City of Boulder and other stakeholders on steps that could be taken to promote EVs, and in 2018 developed a plan for Electrifying Transportation: Boulder County's Clean Future (link to this). SWEEP has also developed a toolkit of resources for local governments, the GoEV City policy toolkit.