April 27, 2017 Categories: California

The California Electric Vehicle Initiative Moves Forward

NextGen Policy Center

by Dan Lashof

Yesterday I testified before the California Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee in favor of a bill authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting to direct the Public Utilities Commission to establish a California Electric Vehicle Initiative (CEVI). California is leading the nation in promoting a transition to clean transportation, but we still have a ways to go.

The bill (AB 1184) passed out of Committee by an 8 to 3 vote and now moves on to the Appropriations Committee. I will continue to follow this bill as it moves through the legislature.

Here is my statement as prepared for delivery (I didn’t read it verbatim, but did make all of these points).

 

AB 1184 (Ting)

Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee

April 26, 2017

Statement of Daniel A. Lashof, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Policy

NextGen California

 

Thank you Mr. Chair and members of the Committee.

My name is Dan Lashof and I am a Senior Vice President for Policy at NextGen California. I am very pleased to be here today in support of AB 1184, the California Electric Vehicle Initiative.

For California to meet its essential clean air and climate protection goals we need to have EVs everywhere and they need to be affordable for everyone.

This electric vehicle revolution can’t come soon enough for the 35 million Californians–over 90% of our population–who live in counties with unhealthy air, and especially for the 650,000 California kids suffering from asthma. Despite the progress we have made since California led the nation in establishing vehicle emission standards, California still has 7 of the top 10 most polluted cities in the country according to the American Lung Association.

When it comes to climate change, California is making huge strides in reducing carbon pollution from electricity generation as we continue to expand our wind and solar industries. But we simply can’t achieve our statewide goals for climate or air quality unless we start using our increasingly cheap and abundant clean electricity as the prime mover for our transportation system.

That’s where the California Electric Vehicle Initiative comes in. It will establish a securely-funded, and carefully targeted incentive program to jolt the EV market into the mainstream.

And make no mistake. This is sorely needed. Even though California leads the country in EV sales, they still represent only a few percent of the new passenger vehicle market here.

Equally important, we need to make sure that EV sales and EV charging infrastructure expand in tandem. And we need to provide appropriate incentives to make sure we are smart about when and where we charge our electric vehicles so we can take advantage of low cost electricity produced when the sun is shining brightest and the wind is blowing hardest.

The California ISO reports that over 235 million kWh of wind and solar has been “curtailed”, that is to say wasted, so far this year. That’s enough electricity to drive more than 900 million miles. Putting this wasted electricity to use in our cars could have saved California consumers over 90 million dollars. And this opportunity will just get bigger as we continue to add solar to our electricity grid.

We need to put that free and clean electricity to use.

That’s why it makes sense to direct the California Public Utilities Commission to create and supervise the California Electric Vehicles Initiative.

And that’s why NextGen California is proud to be a sponsor of AB 1184.

Thank you.

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