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Issues Of The Environment: Electronic Vehicle Development

Sep 17, 2015

Maybe you've been noticing what I've been seeing out on the roadways. And that's more electric vehicles and hybrids. Perhaps, I shouldn't be too surprised. After all, this is a community that embraces those kind of things. Still, I wondered if there was evidence to back up my rather passive observation. So, what is the future of  EV's and our transportation future? This week, we talk to Climate and Energy Program Director of the Ecology Center, Charles Griffith to find out.

 Overview:

 The state of the EV market and new “Michigan-made” vehicles about to come on the market (e.g., new Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, and soon coming Chevy Bolt and lower-priced Tesla). The trend is for new and second-generation EV’s to be less costly (although still on average more expensive than most gas vehicles) and to drive further on a single charge.

 Current policy challenges and opportunities, such as the proposed EV fee in the state transportation funding legislation. Both the House and Senate have versions of the fees in the proposed legislation. An Ecology Center study suggests that EVs already pay their “fair share” through registration fees related higher sticker price.

 Charles Griffith, Climate and Energy Program Director for the Ecology Center, suggests that many of the arguments against electric vehicles (higher sticker price for mid-range vehicles, under-tested technologies, limited driving ranges, environmental costs of coal-fired electric vs. gasoline) are being mitigated in the latest vehicles, and future EV’s will  be even better. He would like to give a shout out to National Drive Electric Week in Ann Arbor happening September 20, 2015.

 the Drive Electric Ann Arbor Partnership (DEA2P) and its recently launched Workplace Charging Challenge. The DEA2P is looking to increase workplace charging opportunities in Ann Arbor tenfold over the next five years, in partnership with the Workplace Charging Challenge initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy. 

 Opportunities for EV’s in municipal fleets and car-sharing programs (like that just launched in Indianapolis). Right now Washtenaw County has had several EV’s in their sheriff’s fleet for a couple of years, but the opportunity exists for an all-green fleet; this happened in Indianapolis and has not gone over well.