Cities and states lead the way on new electric vehicle incentives

States, cities, and utilities from coast to coast are expanding programs to encourage EV adoption and new charging infrastructure. The pause in driving and pollution during the pandemic is urging authorities to promote electric cars. These local efforts come as the federal government weakens emissions standards.

Chargers for Arizona Businesses

In Arizona, the Tucson Electric Power Co. is now covering up to 85% of the cost of installing electric vehicle charging stations for business customers and local nonprofits. The TEP Smart EV Charging program offers rebates of $4,500 per charger for Level 2 chargers installed at workplaces, including retail shops, restaurants, and other businesses. The program also provides $6,000 per port for Level 2 chargers installed by apartment and condominium complexes or by nonprofit organizations.

Businesses that install DC fast-chargers are eligible for rebates of up to $24,000 per charging port, up to 75% of the project cost. The incentives were approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission last year, along with rebates for home customers who install EV charging equipment, and special residential rates for charging EVs during off-peak hours.

Chicago requires buildings to be EV-ready

The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to ensure that more residential and commercial developments are equipped to support electric vehicles. At least 20% of parking spots must be ready for EV chargers in new residential buildings with five or more dwelling units and commercial buildings with 30 or more parking spaces. One of those spaces needs to be accessible for people with disabilities.

The Chicago Transit Authority’s bus fleet will be all-electric by 2040.

Connecticut wants 10x the number of EVs

Connecticut released a report in April that sets a path for getting at least 10 times as many electric vehicles on Connecticut roadways by 2025. The state is continuing to process rebates under the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate program, or CHEAPR. Legislation passed last year established a new governing board for the program and $3 million in annual funding from 2020 to 2025.

EVs with at least 200 miles of range get a $1,500 rebate, while lower range electric cars and plug-in hybrids get a $500 rebate. The Connecticut EV Coalition, an advocacy group, called on the state to increase funding for the program.

The state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority is concurrently conducting a major review of how best to integrate electric vehicles onto the grid.

Denver creates EV action plan

The Mile-High city this month released its “Electric Vehicle Action Plan.” By 2025, Denver’s government wants to see electric vehicles make up 15% of all vehicles registered in the city, with that share doubling by 2030. At its current pace, Denver would see about 83,600 EVs, or 10 percent of all registered vehicles, in the city by 2030.

The city has about 400 public charging spots, which are free. The plan calls for that number to grow to 4,000 stations.

State lawmakers passed a law in 2016 that forces car dealers to more than double their EV sales by 2030 — from 2.6% to 6.2% of statewide sales. But a statewide tax credit for EV buyers once worth $5,000 will be worth half that next year. The new action plan recommends a tiered approach to rebates and incentives for electric vehicles to provide greater support for low-income residents, with options to opt for alternate modes such as e-bikes or transit pass incentives.

$5,000 rebate for New Jersey EV buyers

The precedent for these state and city initiatives was set in January when New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill 2252 into law. That initiated a rebate of up to $5,000 per vehicle for the next 10 years.

New Jersey has about 25,000 registered EVs on its roads. The Senate bill sets the goal of 330,000 EVs on state roads by 2025, increasing to 2,000,000 by 2035. Senate Bill 2252 calls for 400 additional DC Fast Chargers, and a 1,000 Level 2 chargers.

The bill grants the Board of Public Utilities the authority to establish an incentive program for the purchase and installation of in-home electric vehicle charging equipment up to $500 per person.

In January, Governor Murphy said, “By establishing aggressive goals and strong incentives for electric vehicles, we are repositioning our economy and state for a clean future.”

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.