DEEP Launches Electric Vehicle Roadmap
Roadmap Outlines Strategy for Accelerating Deployment of EVs in Connecticut
Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has issued its Electric Vehicle Roadmap for Connecticut (EV Roadmap), a comprehensive strategy for achieving widespread deployment of electric vehicles in the state, and a key tool in the state’s effort to improve air quality for residents while also addressing the climate crisis.
While much progress has been made in cleaning our air since the first Earth Day, Connecticut still suffers from some of the worst air quality in the country, especially along heavily-traveled transportation corridors where criteria air pollutants are most densely concentrated. In Connecticut, the transportation sector is responsible for 38.1 percent of economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and more than 66 percent of nitrogen oxides, a harmful component of smog and other hazardous air pollutants.
The Governor’s Council on Climate Change has identified transportation electrification via wide-scale EV deployment to be among the primary solutions for achieving the state’s mandatory economy-wide GHG reduction targets of 45 percent and 80 percent below 2001 levels by 2030 and 2050, respectively. Wide-scale EV deployment will correspondingly drive reductions in harmful criteria pollutants from the transportation sector, help the state meet federal health-based air quality standards, and mitigate communities’ exposure to mobile air source toxics.
“Today, as we mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, DEEP is thrilled to announced the release of the EV Roadmap,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “The health of Connecticut residents and the future of our climate requires continued progress towards cleaner air and a cleaner transportation system. Advancing electric vehicles is an important component of a clean transportation future, and the EV Roadmap provides a strategy toward achieving that goal over the coming decade.”
Achieving widespread EV deployment will require policies and regulatory tools aimed at addressing myriad aspects of the goal, including transportation equity, purchasing incentives, consumer education, charging infrastructure expansion, consumer protection, integration of EVs into the electric grid, utility investment, and rate design.
“Bringing an entire industry online is a huge undertaking that touches a host of different policy areas and requires an inclusive and equitable approach and extensive stakeholder engagement,” Vicki Hackett, DEEP’s Deputy Commissioner of Energy, said. “It’s a wide-angle initiative that needs an incremental outline of how to go forward, and that’s what the EV Roadmap provides.”
The EV Roadmap focuses in on several key areas, including the transitioning of public and private fleets and medium and heavy-duty vehicles to EVs; making the consumer charging experience more consistent; minimizing grid impacts through demand reduction measures; providing demand charge relief for charging station owners and EV fleet operators; exploring opportunities for pilot programs with local innovators in the EV field; working with the state and municipal governments to modify building codes and permitting requirements to support EV infrastructure deployment; and leveraging financial incentives, such as the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR), to help make EV purchase price less of a barrier to consumers.
Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph J. Giulietti said that the DOT, a critical partner of DEEP’s in the effort to achieve widespread EV deployment in the state, understands the impact such a shift in the state’s transportation system could have.
"At the Connecticut Department of Transportation, we know the critical role that changes to our transportation system play in reducing carbon emissions and harmful air pollution,” Giulietti said. “To help in the fight, we are working closely with DEEP to jump-start our move to battery/electric buses in our CTTransit fleet, while also partnering on how we can expand the number of EV Fast Chargers along our interstate highway system. We also continue to promote and invest in people-powered 'active transportation,' by including bicycle and pedestrian elements in our road and bridge projects, and through our wildly popular Community Connectivity Grant Program. I want to commend DEEP for its leadership in our statewide efforts to advance our overall goal of reducing pollution and promoting the health and well-being of our citizens."
As one of several states signing onto the Zero-Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding (ZEV MOU), Connecticut has committed to an ambitious EV adoption goal of putting between 125,000 – 150,000 EVs on the road by 2025. To date, there are nearly 2.4 million light-duty passenger cars and trucks registered in Connecticut. Annual sales of new light-duty vehicles in Connecticut fluctuate each year from roughly 150,000 – 180,000, and EVs account for only 2 percent of annual sales. This indicates that EVs are still in the early adoption phase. As of December 31, 2019, there were 11,677 EVs registered in Connecticut.
One of the focus areas of the EV Roadmap is scaling up electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) such as charging stations in order to encourage higher EV penetration rates. “Range anxiety,” or fear that an EV will run out of power before a destination is reached, will diminish as consumers become more confident in charging accessibility.
There are 376 publicly-accessible EV charging stations with a total of 966 charging connectors in the state, including 50 direct current fast charger (DCFC) locations with 212 charging connectors. A significant increase in workplace Level 2 charging connectors, public Level 2 charging connectors, and public DCFC connectors will be critical to supplement residential charging and meet future charging demands.
“Promoting a shift to electric vehicles requires a commitment to EV infrastructure,” Paul Vosper, president and CEO of Norwalk-based Oasis Charger Corporation, which makes “JuiceBar” EV chargers, said. “Consumers will not buy EVs unless they see ample charging sites to eliminate their range anxiety. Connecticut has been a leader in innovation with its green bank and commitment to property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing and energy efficiency. EV infrastructure is another important step toward reducing carbon emissions. We applaud the state’s commitment to EV charging and nurturing the shift to a better and healthier transportation environment.”
Connecticut’s clean air, clean energy, and GHG reduction targets require an ever-increasing percentage of EV market penetration. Connecticut’s CHEAPR program is providing EV purchase incentives for new and used EVs. Additionally, the state has allocated the maximum $8.4 million of its Volkswagen Mitigation Trust funds to fund the acquisition, installation, and operation and maintenance of publicly-accessible light-duty EV EVSE in the state. The EV Roadmap explores additional investment opportunities for deploying Level 2 EVSE in public and workplace charging settings, multi-unit dwellings, and state agency facilities. In addition, VW EVSE funding can be allocated to support the development of DCFC and fast charger EV refueling stations.
In issuing the EV Roadmap, DEEP is mindful of the pervasive impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on communities both locally and around the world, the full scale and effects of which, though unknown at this time, are and will be significant. DEEP will continue to monitor the COVID crisis and consider its impact on the long-term goals outlined in the EV Roadmap.
Environmental stakeholders from around the state applauded the EV Roadmap’s release.
“This is a major milestone for our fight against climate change,” Lori Brown, executive director of the CT League of Conservation Voters, said. “With the backdrop of unprecedented federal attacks on our nation’s clean air laws, this plan makes it clear that our Governor and the DEEP are serious about cutting tailpipe pollution. It is fitting for Connecticut to launch this effort on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and once again show national leadership on the environment.”
“Electrifying Connecticut’s transportation sector--the largest source of the state’s greenhouse emissions--is critical to improving our air quality and meeting our greenhouse gas reduction obligations,” said Charles Rothenberger, climate and energy attorney for Save the Sound. “We applaud the EV Roadmap’s broad approach to increasing deployment of electric vehicles, EV buses, and the charging infrastructure that makes them easy to use.”
“Acadia Center is excited by the release of the EV Roadmap and hopeful that it will chart a rapid and equitable course for electrification of the transportation sector,” Amy McLean, Connecticut director and senior policy advocate for the Acadia Center, said. “Identifying high-priority actions and establishing clear time frames will ensure that Connecticut delivers on its clean transportation commitments.”
“Connecticut’s electric vehicle roadmap can help Connecticut build a zero-carbon transportation system to stop climate change,” Environment Connecticut State Director, Chris Phelps, said. “Electrifying all new buses by 2030 and all new cars by 2035 is necessary to reach zero carbon, and the roadmap will help policy makers achieve that goal.”