The main critiques of electric vehicles (EV) include (1) A limited driving range making cars less reliable for long trips and requiring precise planning and inconvenient stops, and in cold weather — a particularly significant consideration for Vermonters– driving range goes down by ~40%. (2) Long charging times of up to 8 hours can be inconvenient for long distances or people without access to private chargers.(3) A lack of charging infrastructure can be a challenge depending on location. While it is becoming more common to see accessible chargers, with the increase in EV, there will be more competition for use of public chargers unless more chargers are also installed. Also, in urban areas (like Burlington) where EV owners do not have as much space (private garages), they will have to rely on public chargers. (4) Limited choices make it difficult for consumers who need cars for specific purposes. With the exception of Tesla, most of the major car companies only have one option available, many of which are smaller sedans that may not be suitable for all needs. (5) High Initial Cost. The most affordable EV currently on the market is around $30,000. The costs are coming down due to more tax incentives (and programs like RYR) and because with better technology and more information, they are becoming easier to produce. (6) Maintenance. EV often require less maintenance than traditional cars, however, most mechanics are not qualified to work on EV. Usually owners will have to go to the dealership which can be far away from some remote places in Vermont. Luckily, it is likely that there will be an increase in qualified mechanics due to the increasing number of EV on the roads.
Replace Your Ride in VT
The primary goal of Replace Your Ride (RYR) is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in Vermont by helping low-income Vermonters affordably move towards clean methods of transportation. This program will offer up to $3,000 in cash as an incentive for low-income Vermonters to switch from an older, high-polluting vehicle to a clean transportation option (new or used electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid, electric bike or motorcycle, or voucher for public transit, or private ride hailing services). In combination with other incentives (both state and federal), this program could help bring the price of a new EV down to as low as $8,000. The beneficiaries of this program include households with an Adjusted Gross Income of $50,000 or less and the eligible vehicles include those with a Model Year of 2010 or older. The performance of this program will be measured through (1) the dollar value of funding spent per GHG saved, (2) the number of low income households served, (3) the number of vehicles scrapped per year and the MPG saved, (4) the number of vehicles purchased or leased, and (5) the number of non-vehicle options selected. The funding of this program is from the VT State Legislature.
Charging Stations and Electric Vehicles By County
This map shows a comparison between charging infrastructure and number of EV’s by county. This map can be used to see which counties need infrastructure improvements so that EV’s can be more accessible and convenient everywhere. Note that the most electric vehicles and best charging infrastructure are located in Burlington. It is very common for EV to be most prevalent in wealthier, urban/suburban areas.
Read more about Electric (and Hybrid Vehicles) at New York Times!
Content taken from Replace Your Ride, ENVS0401, Spring 2021
Sachi Howson, William Robertson, Raquel Smith and Maya Saterson