Vermont Electric Vehicle Update

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are becoming more popular throughout the country and there are some exciting opportunities for Vermonters looking to transition to these cars as well! EVs are important in the fight against the climate crisis, they’re cheaper to own and operate than gas-powered vehicles, and it’s encouraging that more stakeholders are looking to expand their use in the state and beyond.

Totally new to EVs? Consumer Reports has a great “EVs 101” page on their site.

Currently, if you are looking to switch to an EV, you could take advantage of a host of opportunities. At the Federal Level, depending on the make and model of the vehicle, you could receive a credit of up to $7,500.

Thanks in large part to requirements in Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard, all of Vermont’s electric utilities are now offering additional EV incentives as well – and several are offering lower charging rates or other benefits to encourage their use and adoption.

For example, Green Mountain Power (GMP) offers $1,500 for a new, completely electric vehicle, $1,000 for a new plug-in hybrid, and $750 for a used electric vehicle in either category, plus additional incentives for low-to-moderate income Vermonters.

They also offer free Level 2 charging equipment with the purchase of any new electric vehicle, and you can get a $10/month credit if you authorize GMP to save all ratepayers money by temporarily turning off your charging equipment during peak hours.

Burlington Electric Department (BED) also offers incentives for customers looking to purchase or lease an EV. You can receive a $1,200 rebate on the purchase or lease of any electric vehicle (plug-in hybrid or all-electric) that costs $50,000 or less. Low-to-moderate income customers are also eligible for an addition $600 for all-electric and $300 for a plug-in hybrid.

BED also offers a discounted charging rate of 6.8cents/Kwh with an approved charger, during off-peak hours – like GMP, partly as an incentive, and partly because by charging EVs when electricity is cheaper EV owners can help bring the cost of electricity down for all Vermonters.

More details on the offers from these two utilities, as well as other utility-specific incentives can be found here.

State legislators are also moving to do more to make it easier for Vermonters – especially Vermonters who are low or moderate income – to go electric for their next car. The 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan laid out a need for 10% of the light duty cars and trucks in Vermont to be electric by 2025, in order for us to get on track to meet our climate commitments (roughly 50,000 vehicles). More recently, Energy Action Network’s Annual Progress Report found that with climate pollution rising since that report’s writing, that number now stands at 90,000 more electric vehicles on the road by 2025. With an estimated 264,000 new vehicles to be sold in the state over that period, this would equate to about a third of new vehicle purchases.

Incentives that accelerate the adoption of EVs can also help transform the market and make further progress more likely. In addition to the incentives mentioned earlier, Vermont legislators set aside $1.1 million this year to put towards a statewide EV incentive program this year. Although not as robust as we had pushed for, this is a great start to increase the rate at which Vermonters purchase EVs, one of the key ways we can cut transportation pollution.

The program is currently authorized as follows:

  • It will be administered by the VT Agency of Transportation (VTrans) on a first-come, first-served basis until funding ($1.1 million) runs out
  • Funding can be used for the purchase or lease of any plug-in electric vehicle, with a Base Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $40,000.00, and the agency is directed to emphasize incentives for vehicles that do not have an internal combustion engine
  • Incentives will be provided to Vermont households with low and moderate income at or below 160 percent of the State’s prior five-year average Median Household Income (MHI) level (~$92k or below)

VTrans is currently working on the details of the program and expects it to start this fall.

Until then, there are a couple exciting upcoming events where you can test drive various EVs, speak with other owners, and learn more about what’s to come!

  • Montpelier Drive Electric Day
    State House Lawn, Montpelier, VT
    Saturday, 9/14 from 11am 2pm
    More Information and Event Registration can be found here
  • Upper Valley Electric Expo
    Dothan Brook School, White River Junction, VT
    Saturday, 9/14 from 11am 3pm
    More Information and Event Registration can be found here

Hope to see you there!