The Charge of the EV’s

By: Susan Buck

In April 2021, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) noted that 29% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (in 2019) were created from the transportation sector, which includes the movement of people and goods by cars, trucks, trains, ships, airplanes, and other vehicles. The majority of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from passenger cars, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and light-duty trucks, including sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and minivans. These sources account for over half of the emissions from the transportation sector.  In a nutshell, what we drive matters when it comes to lowering our carbon footprint and thereby slowing the devastating effects of climate change.

 

Although there is certainly interest in non-automobile mobility in public transportation and the “complete streets” approach to making our roads accessible to all modes of movement as an integral part of a livable community, still the automobile remains the primary tool for travel throughout the U.S.  So, it is indeed crucial that we all consider the importance of transitioning from our fossil fuel guzzling vehicles to the growing number and variety of electric vehicles.  

 

Sales of electric cars worldwide topped 2.1 million in 2019, a 40% increase over 2018, according to the International Energy Association. While that still only represents 2.6% of global car sales, the trajectory is clear: in 2010, EVs accounted for less than 17,000 cars on the world stage. But in 2019, the number increased to 7.2 million, reported by IHS Markit forecasts for 2021 and beyond. This year, the firm believes we’ll see electric cars take a market share of 3.5%, just about double from 2020’s number.  Fast forward to 2025 and the company forecasts EVs will make up 10% of all new cars sold. That would be a significant shift in buying trends. IHS Markit believes consumer acceptance of EVs will simply continue to grow as more companies continue producing new vehicles with the gold standard of zero-emissions. 

 

According to Edmund’s (www.edmunds.com), top rated electric vehicles for 2021 still include #1 Tesla Model 3, which was introduced in 2017, #2 Kia Niro EV introduced in 2019 and new to the field this year and #3 Volkswagen ID.4.  In the Luxury Electric SUV category, new this year, #1 Ford Mustang Mach-E, joining #2 Audi e-tron introduced in 2019 and #3 Tesla Model Y in 2020.  All are Edmunds rated from 8.4-8.1 and range from $37K-$79K. There are still others to choose from including Hyundai Kona electric, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan LEAF, Hyundai Ioniq and the Mini Cooper SE 2-door. 

 

This year even the pickup truck will have EV status.  Planning deliveries next month, the first electric truck is being introduced by an American startup, Rivian, with multiple levels of power and battery capacity to choose from, with estimated ranges of 230, 300, and 400 miles.   (The 400-mile battery pack will be available in January 2022.)  The Rivian R1T, starting at $75,000, is sized between a mid-size and full-size pickup.

 

Interestingly, although Rivian was invested in by Ford, Ford’s own EV version of its best-selling truck, the F-150, is also expected to appear sometime in 2021, and is set to enter production in mid-2022.  In addition, General Motors is reviving the Hummer name with its own EV arriving later this year, Chevrolet is promising its Silverado EV pickup along with 20 other EV’s in 2023.  Lordstown Endurance, as well as Bollinger B2 and Nikola Badger, are also promising EV trucks.

 

However Tesla, not to be outdone, wants people to forget everything they know about pickup trucks. With a wedgelike shape and a stainless steel shell, the Cybertruck claims to drive more than 500 miles on a single charge, longer than any EV on the market.  Initial versions are to go into production in late 2021.

 

Besides a wide variety of EV’s, let’s also look at several discounts and incentives which may further motivate one down the EV lane.

  • E-ZPass New York – Green Pass Discount Plan: Offers a special 10% discount to Hybrid vehicles getting at least 45 miles to the gallon and meeting emissions standards.  A complete list of qualifying vehicles can be found at e-zpassny.com. 
  • New York Plug-In Electric Vehicle Rebate Program-NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) provides rebates up to $2,000 for purchase or lease of eligible plug-in EV’s.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Rewards – Con Edison  

Earn up to $1,000 per year for charging your EV more efficiently.

  • $7,500 Federal Tax Credit is currently available for eligible battery-electric (as opposed to plug-in hybrids) and purchased — not leased — new vehicles.  

When a manufacturer sells its 200,000th qualified vehicle, the tax credit is scheduled to wind down, reducing by half to $3,750 and then half again, over a period of time, before being reduced to nothing. Tesla sold its 200,00th vehicle in 2018, and the credit fully expired at the end of 2019. Another popular EV, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, also is no longer eligible for any tax credit.

 

According to the data, the majority of EV owners buy another one when they’re ready to trade in their current electric car. The loyalty factor is just as important since it shows buyers aren’t finding remorse in their battery-powered cars and switching back to their previous model.

 

If you aren’t convinced yet of the value and yes, excitement of driving an EV, let me close with an important health consideration from the American Lung Association. “Emissions from the transportation sector significantly contribute to ground-level ozone pollution (also called smog) and particle pollution, both of which are very harmful to health, and can even be deadly.  The 2020 “State of the Air” report found that nearly half of U.S. residents are breathing unhealthy air.  We need to clean up our dirty cars, trucks and buses if we are going to continue to make improvements to our air quality.”  (https://www.lung.org/blog/why-drive-electric-vehicles)

  Yorktown100 is a 100% volunteer group of neighbors working to reduce our carbon footprint by 5% a year through various programs.   Join us on June 14th  for our next Community Meeting on “What’s New in EV’s?” on Zoom. Check our website for details, Yorktown100, https://yorktown100.cure100.org

 

Susan Buck is a retired public school teacher, a member of Yorktown100 and a lifelong “Earth” hugger.

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