Modernizing Transportation: An Electric Vehicle Shift on the Horizon
Approximately 1.6 million plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the United States. In December 2020, the Florida Electric Vehicle Roadmap was released by the Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture. The report illustrates the increased needs of charging infrastructure in the state as electric vehicles grow rapidly in popularity. According to the report, there are 60,972 light-duty battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) registrations within the state. That number is expected to double by 2030 with a total of 121,411 BEV and PHEV registrations. Two major attractions surrounding EV purchases include: a clean energy alternative, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality, and saving money, by spending less money on gasoline.
On March 31, 2021, President Biden released his massive $2 trillion Infrastructure Plan. The Plan showcases the urge to activate the shift to an Electric Vehicles marketplace in the coming future with a $174 million investment in electric vehicle infrastructure and incentives. The proposed plan includes rebates and tax incentives to buy electric vehicles and the goal to build a national network of 500,000 charging stations by 2030. Lastly, the plan includes language to replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles with electric and to electrify 20% of school buses across the nation.
As the demand for electric vehicles increases, states and local governments across the country are losing fuel tax revenue, however, some states have looked to raise registration fees on EV’s in addition to existing registration fees.
This year in Florida, Senator Brandes is looking to do just that with SB 140 and SB 138 as a short-term solution. SB 140 imposes flat fees, determined by weight, for electric vehicles beginning in 2021 and increasing in 2025. Of the additional flat fees proposed from this legislation, 64% will be allocated to the State Transportation Trust Fund and 36% will be allocated to the county where the vehicle was registered. For the next three years, until June 30, 2024, the funds allocated to the county will be used for electric vehicle infrastructure and equipment by the County Commission. Beginning July 1, 2024, the funds allocated to a county will be transferred to the Department of Revenue and then distributed to the County Commission and municipalities within the county in proportion to the previous month’s distribution of the 1 to 6 cent local option fuel taxes, to use for transportation expenditures. SB 138 establishes the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program to expand EV infrastructure and publicly accessible charging systems around the state. If SB 140 is passed, SB 138 allocates the increased license revenues to DOT from the registration of electric and hybrid vehicles to fund the EV Infrastructure Grant Programs.
Terms to know:
- Plug-in electric vehicles (PEV): runs partially on battery power and charged with electricity.
- Battery electric vehicles (BEV): run entirely on electric motor and rechargeable battery.
- Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV): run on both electric motor/rechargeable battery and gasoline.
- Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV): use a gasoline engine with an electric motor. No plug in capabilities.