December 7, 2010

Legal incentives can encourage the adoption of EVs

In December, Nissan will finally release the new Leaf, a zero-emission, all-electric vehicle (EV). This historic event is right up there with asphalt being laid down for the first time beneath the Champs-Elysees in 1824, and the ‘57 Chevy sprouting fins.

The Leaf has the potential to decrease the U.S. dependence on oil, increase energy security and save its owners thousands of dollars each year in gasoline costs. But if we don’t build an infrastructure to support EVs, then 50 years from now, Michael Moore’s grandchildren will probably make a sequel to “Who Killed
the Electric Car.”

Even though the Leaf has a range of more than 100 miles and research shows that 72 percent of consumers drive fewer than 50 miles a day, all EVs still need to be recharged at some point. So having a  charging station at home, the workplace, public parking lots and shopping centers, would certainly increase adoption of EVs, decrease “range-anxiety,” and reduce the overall stresses of adopting this exciting new technology.

Progressive lawmakers around the country have begun to acknowledge the infrastructure challenges and enacting innovative incentive programs to encourage individuals and business owners to install EV charging stations everywhere.

The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit is a federal program that allows for an income tax deduction of up to half the cost of EV recharging equipment. Similarly, New York, Georgia, Oregon and Colorado, have all implemented similar tax incentives ranging from 10 to 50 percent of the cost of installing EV charging stations. Businesses in Oklahoma can receive a tax credit for up to 75 percent of the cost of installing alternative fueling infrastructure, and city mayors in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, Calif., have enacted policies that include expediting the permit and installation processes for charging outlets and providing incentives for employers and other organizations who install charging infrastructure at the workplace and other parking facilities.

Companies that reimburse employees for transportation expenses may be inclined to install an EV charging station even without these new programs, because electricity is always going to be cheaper than gasoline.

Non-monetary incentives, such as boosting employee morale, corporate sustainable responsibility and obtaining LEED certification, are also pushing businesses to install charging stations.

The age of the EV is finally upon us. With the enactment of innovative policies, smart legislation and strong consumer demand we will hopefully witness the widespread adoption of EVs throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Source: Jack Jacobs (as published by Altnernative Energy News)

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