The conversation around electric vehicles in Vermont is growing as one of the state’s largest energy efficiency companies throws its weight behind a push to promote them.
Efficiency Vermont has focused on conserving energy in homes and businesses for 20 years, but an act signed by Governor Phil Scott last year has paved the way for a three-year pilot program to help Vermont’s E.V. infrastructure meet the demand.
“Our role will be to work with the supply chain and the electric vehicle dealers to help them figure out ways to get their staff trained,” said Efficiency Vermont Director Carol Weston. “Potentially getting the infrastructure in place they need to have cars on site that people can come, try out and buy.”
About 45 percent of the money Vermonters spend on energy goes toward transportation, and with more options coming on the market each year, educating people about those benefits will be a big part of Efficiency Vermont’s work as well.
“Both the accessibility and affordability of those models are really changing, so you can find a vehicle at a low price point, you can also find an all-wheel drive vehicle or pickup truck that will be all-electric,” Weston said. “So, the technology is getting to a point where Vermonters are going to be able to find something that fits their needs.”
The new all-electric Ford F-150, for example, has all the power of a traditional pickup and a similar look. It’s a development that had Scott excited when he was asked about it at his Tuesday news conference.
“This really is a gamechanger,” Governor Scott said. “If they can bring the price down and we offer the incentives and have the charging facilities necessary, I think this trajectory is going to increase dramatically over the next 2 to 3 years.”
There have been some safety concerns when it comes to electric vehicles, including a recall of almost 70,000 Chevy Bolt electric cars due to some batteries catching fire.
State Rep. Tim Briglin (D-Windsor) experienced that firsthand when his caught fire while charging last week. It hasn’t dampened his outlook on what electric vehicles could mean for Vermont.
“I’ve owned an electric vehicle for three years, and it’s been an outstanding experience with the exception of what happened in my driveway on the morning of July 1,” Briglin said. “Getting more electric vehicles on the road is the most important thing Vermont can do in the next 5-10 years in terms of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.”