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i3 electric car parked under Point.One solar charging canopy on the BMW World campus in Germany.
i3 electric car parked under Point.One solar charging canopy on the BMW World campus in Germany.

How (Nearly) Everyone Benefits from More Electric Vehicles

By Bill Moore

Interview with NRDC's Director of Clean Vehicles and Fuels, Luke Tonachel on the multiple economic and environmental benefits of an expanding EV world.

Right up front let's understand that not everyone is going to feel they will benefit from the spread of electric cars. Gas station owners, auto mechanics, pipeline operators, shareholders of banks heavily invested in fossil fuels.

But truth be told, even they will come to appreciate the rise of the EV world in the form of lower utility rates and cleaner air. Those are just some of the findings of a new set of reports commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council and authored by MJ Bradley and Associates.

Picking up on its collaboration last year with EPRI on Environmental Assessment of a Full Electric Transportation Portfolio,, NRDC wanted to better understand what the societal benefits in terms of both economics and environment of the swift away from ICE-age vehicles to electric would be under two scenarios as they will impact five northeastern American states: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. They just released the first of those reports focused on the State of Massachusetts, which in 2008 passed the "Global Warming Solutions Act." It became the catalyst for a number of initiatives including adopting California's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) rules.

If those rules are adhered to - and there's been a legal challenge, as Luke Tonachel explains in our 25-minute "Future in Motion" podcast - the state will see its EV fleet grow from its present 6,100 (as of January 2016) registered vehicles, to 300,000 by 2025. The cumulative financial effect of more EVs on the road could reach $5.4 billion dollars by 2050: most of that enjoyed by EV owners paying less for their "fuel," but also lower electricity rates for everyone on the grid, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and associated air pollutants from all those ZEVs and renewable energy utilization, like the newly operational 30MW Deepwater Wind project off the coast of Rhode Island.

NRDC's second scenario is a more aggressive one in which the state cuts its CO2 emissions by 80% of its 1990 levels by the year 2050: the 80x50 initiative. This approach could result in cumulative savings of $32 billion.

Tonachel is upbeat about the future since many states, not just the eight involved in the ZEV Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or the five states being studied, are implementing similar programs of their own, as are the utilities that serve them.

You can listen to our discussion in its entirety using the MP3 player embedded in this page, or by downloading the 6.84MB file to your favorite MP3 device.

Times Article Viewed: 7143
Originally published: 22 Nov 2016

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