CT lawmakers to consider future of electric vehicles Wednesday

On Wednesday, dozens of drivers and environmental groups expect to weigh-in on a controversial plan that could lead to an EV sales mandate.

John Craven

Mar 12, 2024, 9:46 PM

Updated 38 days ago

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What is the future of electric vehicles in Connecticut?
On Wednesday, dozens of drivers and environmental groups expect to weigh-in on a controversial plan that could lead to an EV sales mandate.
SALES MANDATE?
Robert Murphy, of Farmington, took the leap with a Tesla. He loves the ride, but admits that charging it is a challenge.
“It takes an hour, and they think, ‘Oh my God, I can’t wait for an hour to charge the car up,’” he said.
Concerns like that are why state lawmakers pressed pause on Gov. Ned Lamont proposal to shift all new car sales to electric or plug-in hybrid by 2035. Used vehicle sales would not be impacted.
The move would align our state with California’s strict emissions standards, which lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed to in 2004. But even if they reject Lamont's plan, Connecticut would still have to follow strict federal Environmental Protection Agency rules, which require two-thirds of new car sales be electric by 2032.
STUDY GROUP
Now, Lamont’s fellow Democrats are proposing a Plan B.
A new bill would study the idea first, creating a 40-member Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Coordinating Council that would issue a “Zero Emission Vehicle Roadmap” by next January.
“I always find a task force a little bit of a cop-out,” Lamont said Tuesday. “But if they want to study it till November, let’s study it till November.”
The group would examine how much EVs cost, and whether more incentives would help drivers afford them. Members would look at how many more chargers Connecticut needs and what upgrades are needed to the state’s power grid. Previously, Eversource has estimated that full EV adoption could require $2 billion in upgrades, but that would be spread over decades. Electric utilities would be part of the task force.
REPUBLICAN OPPOSITION
Republicans called the task force a sham – and a stall tactic.
“This is a pre-determined outcome,” said the new state Senate GOP leader, Sen. Stephen Harding (R-Brookfield). “This is an EV mandate; they’ve now doubled-down on this. The only difference now is, they want to tell you in November – after the election is occurred – that they’re going to do this.”
And it might surprise you who else opposes an EV mandate.
“No, I don't think it’s a good idea,” Murphy said. “I think people should have a choice.”
WHAT’S NEXT?
The Legislature’s Transportation Committee will hold a public hearing on House Bill 5485 Wednesday morning. It’s too late to speak, but you can submit written testimony here.
The committee has 10 days to approve the bill, although it may see changes.


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