The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

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Electric vehicles/Transportation (4)

There and Back: A Cross-Country Camping Trip in an All-Electric Vehicle

My wife Mary and I just returned from a 2-month, 8,181-mile winter camping road trip, traveling from Massachusetts to California and back in our 2019 Kia e-Niro fully electric (64 kWh battery) crossover SUV. Along the way we spent 58 nights in a tent with our two dogs, mostly in the desert southwest, so calling it “winter camping” needs to be qualified. For most of the nights, the temperatures were well above freezing, though there were definitely a few chilly nights at the end of January when we began our trip, and a few more out west, especially when camping at higher elevations.

Glen Ayers, Guest Blogger

ACT School Bus: Accelerating School Bus Electrification in the Commonwealth

A note from Green Energy Consumers Alliance: We are BIG fans of electric school buses. We’ve written about them on our blog, we advocate for state policy to make it easier for school districts to get them, and we educate community members on their benefits. We are very happy to feature this guest blog from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center on its school bus program, ACT School Bus.

School bus fleet electrification projects are on the rise nationwide, and new federal and state funding programs offer an opportunity for underserved public school districts to be some of the earliest adopters of electric school buses in the United States. In 2022, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the Clean School Bus Program, a rebate program that will provide $5 billion over the next five fiscal years (FY22 through FY26) to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission vehicles. EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, along with other state and federal programs, has the potential to deploy thousands of zero-emission school buses each year. MassCEC has launched a program called ACT School Bus to help Massachusetts school districts apply for and complement federal funding for electric school buses. Keep reading to find out how your school district can take action!

Harriet Slaats & Orly Strobel

Electric Cars That Qualify for Federal Tax Credit to Change on April 18

Back in January, we reported that the federal government was delaying the implementation of the complicated new battery and mineral requirements for the federal tax credit for electric cars, known as the Clean Vehicle Credit. Last week, the Treasury Department released the guidance we’ve all been waiting for. Here’s what you need to know about these upcoming changes to the federal tax credit.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Massachusetts Adopts Clean Car Standards. Rhode Island... Slow-walks.

Today (March 31, 2023), the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that Massachusetts has formally adopted the Advanced Clean Cars II standards (ACCII). This is great news – and a BIG thank you goes out to all of you who submitted comments in support of these standards at DEP’s hearing earlier this year! The ACCII standards will ensure that Massachusetts residents have access to the full range of electric vehicle model choices and that the Commonwealth phases out the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. Rhode Island, meanwhile, is slow-walking on these important standards.

Anna Vanderspek and Amanda Barker

Rhode Islanders: Take Action for Clean Cars

Important legislation is being heard TODAY in Rhode Island that would direct the Ocean State to adopt advanced vehicle emissions standards out of California as long as they are more stringent than federal law. Adopting such standards, like Advanced Clean Cars II and Advanced Clean Trucks, is crucial to Rhode Island’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 45% by 2030, as required by an Act on Climate. Rhode Islanders can take action to support this important legislation by testifying at a hearing TODAY (Thursday, March 30) or submitting written comments. Here are all the details you’ll need.

Anna Vanderspek and Amanda Barker

New Price Caps for Federal Tax Credit for Electric Cars

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Treasury Department made a change to the federal tax credit for electric vehicles (EVs) that changes the list of eligible vehicles for 2023. This is the second big update to the federal tax credit this year, following the January decision to postpone the implementation of the complicated battery and mineral requirements in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

It’s Cold. Here’s What Happens to Electric Cars in Winter.

With winter in full swing, let’s talk about the change in range for electric car drivers. It’s no secret that cold temperatures reduce the range of a vehicle, whether electric or gas-powered. Recently, we hosted two webinars on the topic – one focused on winter driving in general and one focused on winter road trips. What better way to spend time indoors in the freezing cold today than catch up on the recordings?

Picture of Devan DiLibero Devan DiLibero

Massachusetts Residents: Take Action for Clean Cars!

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently filed the regulations needed to adopt the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) regulations. As we’ve written before, these regulations are crucial for Massachusetts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030. Now, there’s a chance for YOU to support these key rules, either by testifying in person before DEP on January 30 or submitting written comments by February 9. Here’s all you need to know to act.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

$400 Million For Electric Car Charging in Massachusetts!

Way back in the summer of 2021, the electric utilities in Massachusetts – Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil – proposed bold new electric vehicle programs to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). For the next year, the DPU engaged in a formal process to weigh the utilities’ proposals. Green Energy Consumers served as an official “intervenor” in this docket, which means we advocated for what we thought the DPU should approve. Now, finally, a year and a half later, the DPU has issued its order, unleashing hundreds of millions of dollars for electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next four years via Make Ready programs and rebates for charging installation (those are two separate but complementary things, as we’ll talk about below!).

May 2023 update: The utility programs are now live and taking applications! You can learn more about how much is available in incentives for residential consumers (single family, 2-4 unit buildings, and 5+) and how to apply here on our website.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

Lifecycle Emissions of Electric Cars vs. Gasoline

When we talk about the environmental benefits of electric vehicles (EVs), we get a lot of questions about the lifetime greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of EVs vs internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Electric cars don’t have tailpipe emissions when running on electricity, but battery manufacturing is an energy-intensive process. So how does the math work out? According to this report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), EVs have far fewer global warming emissions over their lifetime than ICE cars.  Inthis blog, we'll break down the research from UCS and explain how EVs are cleaner and produce less total GHG emissions.

Kelly Shin