Charging toward the EV transition. Part 2.

Posted by Elizabeth Stears on Jan 18, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Top Trends in EV Legislation 2

In our previous post, Charging toward the EV transition. Part 1. we covered the first three trends in EV legislation—looking back at 2022.

  •  Part 1 
    • Trend #1: The Inflation Reduction Act paves the way for EVs
    • Trend #2: States Revving Up for 100% Zero Emissions
    • Trend #3: Driving State-Owned Fleet Electrification

In this part, we’ll cover three more trends:

  • Part 2
    • Trend #4: All Aboard the Electric School Bus
    • Trend #5: States Plug into Financial Incentives for EVs
    • Trend #6: EV Infrastructure Nets Big Legislative Wins

In Charging toward the EV transition. Part 3., we’ll keep rolling through our final trend, and look ahead to 2023:

  • Part 3
    • Trend #7: Amping Up EV Ready Building Codes and Multi-Unit Dwellings
    • Driving Forward into 2023 

Note: Most of the links in this post reference bill filings and other documents in Advanced Energy United's software platform, PowerSuite. Click here to sign up for a free trial.

Trend #4: All Aboard the Electric School Bus

School bus electrification proved to be a major legislative focus for states 2022. Electric school buses (ESBs) can improve air quality for students and communities, save school districts money, and provide vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services that put power from idle buses back into the electric grid or help save schools money on their facilities costs. With these benefits in mind, many states adopted legislation that empowers, and in some cases, requires schools to purchase or lease ESBs, as well as implement the infrastructure and workforce systems necessary to successfully transition school bus fleets.

For example, numerous states enacted policies that directly help fund the adoption of ESBs

  • California’s “Education finance: education omnibus budget trailer bill.” (AB181) provides $1.5 billion in grant funding for the replacement of existing school buses with ESBs. School districts that are small, rural, enroll high numbers of disadvantaged students, or propose to replace their oldest buses will receive priority.
  • New Jersey’s Bill A1282 develops a competitive grant program, funded with $45 million over three years for the purchase or lease of ESBs and associated infrastructure.
  • West Virginia’s House Bill, “Modifying foundation allowance to account for transportation by electric powered buses” (HB4571) increases a school’s transportation allowance if that school uses an alternative fuel or fully electric school bus.
  • Colorado’s “Air Quality Improvement Investments” (SB193) and Connecticut’s “house Bill HB05506 both create programs to help finance the purchase and maintenance of ESB and associated infrastructure
  • Maryland’s “Public Utilities - Electric School Bus Pilot Program” (HB696) aims to fund the adoption of ESBs by directly involving the state’s investor-owned utilities. The bill allows utilities to implement ESB pilot programs that begin prior to 2024, requiring that they deploy at least 25 ESBs and provide rebates to schools.

Last year we also saw Maryland pass the “Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022” (SB528), which requires that only ZEV school buses may be purchased or used in the state beginning in 2024. New York passed its state budget Senate Bill S08006, which commits the state to deploy a fully ZEV school bus fleet by 2035. These landmark policies have positioned the two states to lead the nation in the end of fossil fuel-powered school buses.

While not yet directly funding or requiring the adoption of ESBs, other legislations took steps to prepare their states for electric school buses. For example, Arizona passed Senate Bill SB1630, which establishes an advisory council that consults with government departments to reduce barriers for schools to adopt electric transportation. Arizona also enacted Senate Bill SB1246 which fast tracks the approval of existing ESB vendors and charging management services for school fleets. Mississippi Senate Bill SB2887 authorizes school boards to acquire and operate EVs and ESBs, fund the maintenance of the vehicles, and hire and train relevant staff. Similarly, Washington House Bill HB1644 allocates money from the state’s transportation vehicle fund toward researching the feasibility of a full transition to ESBs, including the installation of EV charging stations and converting or repowering existing gas or diesel pupil transportation vehicles to ZEV.

Trend #5: States Plug into Financial Incentives for EVs

As an increasing number of EVs hit the market, and federal funding for electrification grows, many states are further incentivizing the adoption of zero-emission vehicles and critical new infrastructure.

For example, several states enacted legislation to reduce GHG emissions and lower the upfront costs of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for local fleet managers. Colorado passed “Air Quality Improvement Investments” (SB193),which creates grant and rebate programs to support the decommission and replacement of diesel trucks, and the purchase and maintenance of electric school buses. Connecticut House Bill HB05506 authorizes up to $10 million for a voucher program to help fund the procurement of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, transit and school buses, and infrastructure. Maryland “Clean Cars Act of 2022” (HB1391) provides grants to decrease the upfront costs of medium- or heavy-duty vehicles and associated infrastructure. 

Both Connecticut’s “Act Concerning The Connecticut Clean Air Act” (SB0004) and Vermont’s “Act relating to the Transportation Program and miscellaneous changes to laws related to transportation” (H0736) create incentive programs for the purchase of alternative fuel and electric vehicles, and Massachusetts’s “Driving clean energy and offshore wind” (H5060) creates light-, medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicle incentives.

Several bills have also provided grants and funds for non-traditional types of zero-emission transportation. Colorado Senate Bill SB193 and Vermont House Bill H0736 create programs to help finance the purchase of e-bikes; Illinois’s amendment to the “Electric Vehicles Act” (SB2940) creates a rebate for the purchase of electric motorcycles; and Colorado’s “Alternative Transportation Options Tax Credit” (HB1026) establishes a tax credit for employers that provide alternative transportation options like electric scooters and e-bikes to their employees.

Trend #6: EV Infrastructure Nets Big Legislative Wins

Installing and maintaining EV charging infrastructure will be half the battle for the country’s mass adoption of clean vehicles. Some potential EV drivers are waiting to see networks of high-speed chargers in their communities and across highways and interstates. While major federal efforts like the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program (created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021) fund crucial chargers along alternative fuel corridors. The IRA’s EV Charging Station Credit helps individuals and commercial customers cover the costs of installing charging stations are essential for bridging this gap, they only begin to scratch the surface of what is needed.

To encourage the growth of publicly available EV chargers that compliment federal programs, legislatures across the country have enacted bills with financial incentives for the installation and maintenance of EV chargers. New York’s Senate Bill S08004 includes funding for EV charging infrastructure pilots, and Connecticut’s “Act Concerning The Connecticut Clean Air Act” (SB00004) creates a grant program for municipalities, businesses, nonprofits, and tribal governments to install public EV charging stations. Missouri’s “Appropriation Bill” (HB3017) funds the construction of free high-speed chargers at state fairs and state parks. Washington’s Senate Bill SB5651appropriates funds for the development of EV charging infrastructure and necessary electric grid distribution system upgrades to accommodate higher rates of EV adoption.

Electric utilities also play a crucial role in the development of EV infrastructure. While most EVs can charge slowly from a traditional wall outlet, faster chargers require drastically higher energy input and may necessitate upgrades to the localized power grid. These changes require careful planning and involvement from local electric utilities. Some states have begun directing their utilities and Public Utility Commissions to incentivize the installation of EV chargers directly. Hawaii’s “Relating To Energy.” (SB2720) directs the state’s Public Utility Commission to develop a rebate that incentivizes the installation or upgrade of charging systems. Indiana’s “Electric vehicles and electricity pricing.” (HB1221) allows electric utilities to implement a pilot program that finances the installation, purchase, and operation costs of charging equipment that may increase public use of EVs. California’s “Transportation electrification: electric vehicle charging infrastructure.” (AB2061) requires the Public Utility Commission to develop EV charger record keeping and reporting standards, as well as “Transportation electrification: electrical distribution grid upgrades.” (AB2700), which requires electric utilities to prepare for future EV charging infrastructure needs. Louisiana Senate Bill SB460 sends instructions to the state’s Public Service Commission to establish an EV charging rate structure that promotes long-term alternative fuel market competition. Similarly, New York Senate Bill S07836 directs the Public Service Commission to establish commercial operating cost relief tools that facilitate faster charging for all EVs.

Join us here for Charging toward the EV transition. Part 1. and Charging toward the EV transition. Part 3. where we cover more trends—and look down the road at the year to come! 

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Topics: Advanced Transportation, Indiana, California, Missouri, Vermont, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, West Virginia, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, Colorado

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