Going electric

Based on the analysis in my previous post, if we are going to achieve our greenhouse gas reduction goals, drivers need to shift to electric vehicles.  Converting drivers who drive a lot each day will help the most. At the same time, our power grid needs to become greener.

Roughly, one-quarter or more of new vehicle sales in the state need to be electric over the next decade. That’s a big increase in market share — currently, only two or three percent of sales are electric.

Technology improvements and public policies favoring decarbonization have come together to create a lot of momentum towards electric vehicles. The major automakers are all promising electric vehicles for rollout over the next decade. Some analysts project that electric vehicle sales will grow nationally at a rate sufficient to support Massachusetts’ goals, but others project slower national adoption.

Strong national policy favoring electric vehicles is probably necessary to assure that Massachusetts is able to achieve its goals. Electric vehicles are still more expensive and less convenient to refuel than conventional vehicles, although the gap is closing fast.

We should elect federal legislators who support the strong emission regulations, including the special authority for more stringent regulations in California. Under a decades-old federal-state split of authority, California is the only state that can set its own auto emission standards and other states have the option of enforcing California standards.

California recently announced it will require all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to have zero emissions by 2035. Massachusetts was the first state to announce it would follow California’s lead. Our state law requires that Massachusetts adopt California standards where they are more stringent than federal standards, except in special circumstances.

Many European governments have already set a more aggressive target, banning internal combustion engine sales after 2030. Massachusetts leaders should advocate adoption of this more aggressive target by the federal government and/or by California.

We should also continue to invest in rebates and other incentives that make electric vehicles attractive for dealers to sell and attractive for consumers to buy. Our approach to incentives needs to be bolder and perhaps also more intelligently targeted.

Currently, Massachusetts offers a blanket $2,500 incentive for zero emission vehicles. This may not be enough to influence buying decisions — it may be an after-the-fact giveaway. Some argue that even the $7,500 federal tax credit does not much difference in buying decisions: It is only available for the first 200,000 vehicles sold by the manufacturer. Yet nationally, most electric vehicles sold come from the market leaders, Tesla and General Motors who have long ago sold enough vehicles to lose the incentive.

Certainly, there is some level at which incentives can start to make a large difference on consumer decisions and we should be willing to consider greater investment in incentives. President Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” will include substantial new incentives. Once those are defined, Massachusetts should re-examine its own incentives to determine how to supplement the national incentives. We should carefully consider how investments in incentives compare with other possible investments in reducing emissions and pollution.

We should also look for ways to target those investments to heavily-used vehicles. Since the carbon emissions in the lifecycle of a battery electric vehicle are more concentrated in the manufacture of the battery, a battery electric vehicle that is very lightly driven could actually be a carbon negative choice. (See the note on life cycle costs below.)

It also makes sense to target the fleets that cause pollution in urban areas, like delivery fleets, taxi fleets and Uber/Lyft drivers. Incentives to electrify taxi and Uber/Lyft vehicles could be conditioned on improved coordination of rider/share with public transit, so that trips could more easily include both modes.

I recently heard from a constituent a new suggestion: Massachusetts could help market electric vehicles to high emission households (taking care to protect privacy) using vehicle mileage and efficiency data from the registry of motor vehicles. This could turn out to be a low cost measure to effectively reduce emissions.

For equity and cost-effectiveness, we should consider means-testing the incentives. The easiest way to means-test incentives is to use tax credits instead of point-of-sale rebates, but this is less attractive for consumers than point-of-sale rebates.

The other big barrier to electric vehicle adoption is the charging network. At the gas pump, one can load in a minute or two enough fuel to travel three or four hundred miles. Typical household chargers only add 4-5 miles of range per hour of charging. Tesla’s 240V home charger takes ten or fifteen hours to give a range of 250 miles. The fastest Tesla supercharging stations take 15 minutes to give enough charge to drive 200 miles.

President Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” contemplates investing in 500,000 charging stations by 2030. This substantial public investment will allow consumers to buy electric vehicles with more confidence as to the availability of charging on the road. It remains to be seen what kind of charging speed the new public charging network will offer and what standards will govern its interaction with the rapidly evolving assortment of batteries offered by different manufacturers. Massachusetts may need to have its own initiative to complement the federal initiative and assure that all areas of the state are well served.

I revised this text on April 15 to incorporate the points related to life cycle cost and am still looking for more comments and critique.

Note on Life Cycle Carbon Costs of BEVs (4/14)

The analysis below suggests that the life cycle carbon emissions from a battery electric vehicle (if manufactured and charged on a very green grid) are approximately 83% below a comparably sized conventional vehicle. At Massachusetts current grid carbon intensity (see note below), the emissions savings are more modest — a reduction of 57% as compared to a conventional vehicle. The carbon savings on the Massachusetts grid would be reduced to approximately 30% if the battery has to replaced once in the full life of the vehicle. Carbon savings decline for people who drive less. Carbon savings from owning and driving an electric vehicle instead of a traditional or hybrid vehicle decline to zero or below if a person drives less than 2000 miles per year. Carbon savings are not very sensitive to the grid carbon intensity where the vehicle battery is manufactured, because much of the carbon emitted in manufacture is from manufacturing processes themselves, not from electric power used.

MIT did a great report on the future of mobility, which included some careful analysis of life cycle carbon emissions from battery electric vehicles. It was funded by oil companies and the auto industry, who do have an interest in pointing out the carbon costs of batteries, but it appears to be a comprehensive, thoughtful, objective, academic study. The study condensed the analysis into the following chart :

Source: MIT Energy Initiative, Insights into Future Mobility (2019), Figure 4.6, page 68.

The chart compares the relative emissions per mile traveled for several different power trains in vehicles of roughly the same size. The Camry HEV (Hybrid Electric) is the baseline of 1.0. On a full life cycle basis, the emissions from a battery electric vehicle (Honda Clarity BEV) are 25% below that of the base line HEV, assuming that the grid is only as green as the US average.

As the following chart from the MIT report shows, the relative efficiency of the BEV gets much better as the grid gets greener. With a “much ‘greener'” grid, the BEV has only 23% of the life cycle emissions of the hybrid.

Source: MIT Energy Initiative, Insights into Future Mobility (2019), Table 4.7 page 69.

To one commenters point below, yes: It is striking how much the battery adds to the life cycle emissions of the BEV. Most of the incremental vehicle production costs of the BEV over the ICEV (internal combustion engine vehicle) are the battery. If the battery is manufactured in China, where the grid power from coal plants is dirtier than the average US grid power, the carbon costs of manufacturing go up from what is shown above. However, the effect of adjusting the grid power to Chinese emission levels only raises the US average scenario to .79 from .75. See note below.

The life cycle analysis highlights the importance of targeting support for battery electric vehicles for those who drive a lot. The person who is already using public transportation or cycling to meet much of their needs does not necessarily benefit the environment by keeping an electric car in their garage.

Note: The sensitivity analysis in MIT chart 4.5 reproduced above shows a drop from .75 to .71 by substituting Washington grid carbon for manufacturing. That adjustment (436-101 = 335) is roughly the same as the adjustment to Chinese grid carbon but in the other direction (774-436 = 338), in other words an increase to .79. To get to the exact same result in a more elaborate way, one can back out the underlying model’s values for key parameters by solving simple linear questions using the model variations in Table 4.4. With these parameters, one can estimate values for the Massachusetts grid as in the text. See computations here.

Note on Battery Production Constraints (4/13)

A couple of commenters raised the issue of battery production constraints, specifically supply of lithium. I spoke with Professor Bill Green of MIT about this. The general gist of opinion seems to be that the supply of lithium is widespread around the world and that while production may occasionally lag needs, there is no long-term supply constraint. Same answer for necessary “rare earth” minerals. Cobalt is a riskier component — current supply is concentrated in the Congo where political stability is an issue. But even for cobalt, there is an expectation that world supply will respond to demand and/or that technology will evolve around the constraint. Supply of raw materials will, however, set a floor on the ongoing reduction of battery prices and recycling of battery metals will become economically important.

Here are several articles on the point. I welcome additional information on this:

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

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120 Comments

  1. The consumer reluctance is definitely around charging station availability and the range EVs can travel. I myself am looking at a hybrid as an interim step. The new Toyota Prime is estimated to get 100 miles a gallon. That said, lithium production/availability is a major problem. I think Bill Gates is right that more attention needs to be paid to the construction industry (and industry in general). E.g., the production of concrete is a tremendous contributor too greenhouse gasses.

  2. I am a senior and have been driving a Tesla model3 for two years; marvelous experience. I believe battery and charging technology will continue to improve; my suggestion for marketing is to provide free charging for the first few years. I installed a charger in my garage; Tesla program arranges to charge it at night in low-demand time.
    If a prospective buyer knows that he/she won’t have to pay to ‘gas up’ for the foreseeable future, and had appropriate credits and discounts available, motivation will be there.

  3. For me, bottom line is that we need a REAL commitment in SHORT timeframe — the CO2 deadline is real, and every month we dither in debate, the timeline shrinks.
    This is why I throw the grenade: our projections of use, adoption, etc. for EVs is wholly inadequate — not because the projections are bad, but because they are already (as of today) outdated, and every day/week/month of inaction further renders the projections moot.

    This is not a mode (for me) of just slide in under the deadline — this is one of those GO BIG moments: people react to $$$ not talk, and too many (above) reference wallet issues. SO, need to put up some $$$, not just talk and regulations, to get buy-in (literally).

    So, in the above notes (replying to others’ comments):

    — reply to Mark — hows bout incentives for shops/service-stations/auto-parts stores for providing EV battery-swapping service (swap out discharged battery for charged battery)?

    — and, second reply to Mark — hows bout incentives for large-parking-space locations (single level, multi-level) to install EV chargers?

    — reply to Priscilla Cobb — ideas for targeting “ride-sharing” — and redefining the industry as all taxis, uber, lyft AND all rental car companies (zipcar, enterprise, budget/avis, hertz, whoever).

    and freshies:
    — tax credits for “exchange” or “elimination” of vehicle ownership — not just incentive for purchase, but incentive for turning in vehicles (and bonus for NOT replacing) for EV (new or used). this reduces the incentive for increasing driving.

    — tax credits for reduced short-distance driving (the greatest problem: start, go, stop, go, stop, go, arrive), including reduced overall mileage (year-over-year). how to track, an issue — BUT, what about those computers that get hooked up to inspection stations? possible to have the car computer measure driving distance (per trip), mileage between inspections, etc.? may be technological-enhancement required — BUT propose and get automakers involved (and get California on board)?

    — EZ Pass/Drive discounts: it should be knowable what the car is that is being transponded (or plate-tracked), as the RMV has the registration, which has the car make/model/year! SO, why not give discounted EZdrive rates for EVs?

    — incentives for automakers and dealers/sellers/re-sellers: remove production caps (and sales volume caps) on incentives — the goal is ALL cars are EVs (yes?). and goal should be exchange/swap out ASAP of all non-EV cars. Also, remove “linked” incentives (e.g., get incentive for # EVs, but up to a # of non-EVs) — incentivize lower production of non-EV, incentivize increased production of EV, and likewise for sales (non-EV, EV). make it crystal clear about the incentive and the rules.

    last thought: incentives rather than punishment. punish only if you have teeth, but incentivize broadly (even if thinly).

    myriad great suggestions by folks in this chain!!! hope some possibility of these ideas making it through the meat-grinder of partisanship and negotiation.

    thanks once again for providing the opportunity to share ideas — very much appreciate you, Senator, and your team!!!

  4. Thanks for the update and thoughts regarding EV’s. In addition to whatever incentives apply, there are at least three externalities to greater use of EV’s that are critical. There is also an broad policy perspective that is entirely missing from the piece you sent out.

    The first is how to raise revenues for transportation, including but not limited to roads and bridges. We currently rely very heavily on fuel taxes, which, is, in effect, a user fee. As we rely less on fuel, fuel tax revenues will be declining, likely very dramatically, so where do we replace those lost revenues. They will have to be replaced because EV’s are dependent on the very same infrastructure as are vehicle powered by internal combustion engines. In looking at how to replace those revenues, we need to consider a tax that, like the fuel tax, is effectively a user fee, or whether we scrap that notion and simply find it from the general treasury. The structure under which revenues are collected is not inconsequential when it comes to economic signals and distribution of the tax burden.

    The second external factor, which is being heavily debated in electricity policy circles, is how to manage and allocate the costs of system upgrades to electric distribution networks needed to meet increased demand caused by an increase in use of charging equipment. The problem is made even more complicated by the fact that it is impossible to do any geographically specific planning for the increased demand, because it is not possible to correctly anticipate where chargers will proliferate and how much or when they will be in use. Closely resisted to that issue, is that the system for pricing electricity will have to be changed. We certainly, from both environmental and economic perspectives, do not want vehicles bring charged at times when demand for electricity is at or near peak. That means that we will have to move away from flat electric rates that do not even remotely reflect supply and demand realities nor recognize the environmental realities of driving up demand at peak. We will need to adopt a much more dynamic system for pricing that reflects the economic and environmental effects of when and how we consume energy. To make that transition, will require a great deal of investment in smart technology to make certain that consumers have the ability to respond to price signal as they decide when and how to charge their vehicles. Massachusetts has been one of the laggard states in moving toward smart technology, particularly in regard to installing smart meters. That has begun to change as some utilities have been deploying smart meters, but others, including one of the state’s largest utilities, have been very reluctant to do so. Succinctly stated, there will have to be some fundamental changes in electricity pricing and policy, and making those changes will pose many challenges, not the least of which are political.

    Finally, there is the issue of equity. As you know, many, including me, believe that the burdens for dealing with environmental problems, have disproportionately been borne by low income people. EV’s, despite declining costs, are still beyond the reach of most low income households. Whatever we do in regard EV’s, we must take care to avoid inadvertently limiting the mobility of low income folks, impeding thriller access to work, childcare, medical care, etc.

    Finally, the broad policy perspective is whether it is optimal, from both environmental and economic perspectives, to achieve carbon reduction by throwing money at “favored” technologies, or by explicit emission limitations ( whether by command and control, emission taxes, or cap and trade). Most of what you suggested falls in the category of subsidizing EV’s. That may be a major policy mistake, not because EV’s are not useful, but rather, because none of us know whether that technology will be optimal, but throwing a lot of public money at it may well have the undesirable effect of focusing investment decisions on the “favored” technology and discouraging investment in new and perhaps more customers effective ways of achieving the emissions reductions website seeking. As you know from our discussions of rooftop solar, my view is that we could, with the best of intentions, be limiting our ability to optimally obtain our desired environmental results by throwing money at the technology du jour rather than focusing directly in what it is we are trying to achieve.

  5. Please do not discount:
    — complete re-alignment of electrical grid to alternative energy sources — if there are ################s of EVs, then they will gobble electricity. AND, must eliminate (seriously!) all coal burning and petroleum burning plants — ASAP. natural gas, let it be the transition energy — with a deadline.

    — trucks — apply similar incentives surfaced above for ownership, drivership, distance, tolls, charging stations, etc. trucks can/do have a separate infrastructure (truck-stops/service areas, road lanes), and they should be leveraged — trucks do distance.

    — trains — love the trains. we NEED high-speed rail. we need more-frequent T / subway / metro. this is budget stuff (rider fees will not cover it all).

    — buses — seriously, why are we not making all buses EVs?! not hybrid, not natural gas, but EVs?

    I fall back on this: where government has total control, move faster/broader/deeper (e.g., MBTA, electrical utilities).

  6. Thank you for your thoughtful approach to climate-friendly transit. I’m writing in my personal capacity to point you some resources you may find helpful. My colleagues at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard Chan School of Public Health are investigating the health benefits of climate-friendly transit policies as put forward by the Transportation and Climate Initiative. EVs are part of the solution, but as you know they are just one piece of a comprehensive strategy to address health and equity issues stemming from historically racist policies.

  7. I 100% support requiring all new vehicles to be electric by 2030. The concern over slow home charging is a non issue for most daily drivers. With EVs there isn’t the need to “fill up”. You only need to replace the 50 or so miles driven per day overnight which makes the home charging doable for the daily commute. I’m in Brighton and I’ve had an Ev for the last 2 years, unfortunately, I don’t have a parking spot and have to street park and rely on stopping at public chargers which can be difficult as there aren’t that many around this neighborhood and if they are in use you have to wait. For city drivers, I think we really need 1. Public chargers that are not trapped in parking garages which makes charging unaffordable. 2. Incentive employers to have charging available at work. 3. Add overnight charging for those who street park overnight. I think there could be a great opportunity to add basic charging throughout the city. Maybe basic plugs or chargers could be built into street lights since there’s already wiring there. That would cover a lot of daily driving as I mentioned before.
    As you said I t’s also important to convert the delivery fleet sooner than later. Uber/Lyft/Amazon/DoorDash and others add significant amount of miles ever day.
    One other change that should happen is buses. These are large heavy polluting vehicles. School buses are mostly driven short distances and could easily charge in between routes. While MBTA and college bus routes should also be converted too. This would create cleaner and quieter streets for us all.

  8. As the owner of a hybrid I would be very happy to have an electric car as my next vehicle, but the logistics around charging in the city are complicated. My Back Bay building is looking into installing charging stations in our parking area.

  9. To clear up charging options:
    Level 1: Plugging into a standard 120Vac outlet at home, using the module and cord that comes with the vehicle, will provide around 6 miles of range per hour.
    Level 2: A home charging installation, as well as most commercial chargers found in parking lots and garages, will provide between 24 and 33 miles of range per hour.
    Level 3: A high speed DC charger such as those provided by Tesla and others along major highways at rest stops will provide approximately 80% full charge (depending on the vehicle’s range) in 45 minutes to an hour.

  10. From folks at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government
    “Autonomous Vehicles Are Coming: Five Policy Actions Cities Can Take Now to Be Ready”
    https://www.hks.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/Taubman/Research/Autonomous%20Vehicles%20Are%20Coming_Five%20Policy%20Actions%20Cities%20Can%20Take%20Now%20to%20Be%20Ready.pdf

    And, tangentially, should the Commonwealth be subsidizing research and development of this potentially huge industry?
    “New studies show cultivated meat can have massive environmental benefits and be cost-competitive by 2030”
    https://gfi.org/blog/cultivated-meat-lca-tea/
    (like electric cars, the benefits are most evident where the process is powered by renewable energy)

  11. I could be mistaken, but isn’t there an issue regarding manufacturers (e.g., Tesla) selling direct to consumers? Which is to say, aren’t manufacturers prohibited from owning and operating dealerships in Mass? If so, this seems like a big problem.
    And given that Teslas may be thought of as computers with mobility, are repair prices high because of the lack of training and tools for independent car repair places? ( I realize that there are myriad liability and and insurance issues lurking in the repair issue.)

  12. That MIT comparative life cycle study you cite seems like a plausible, and very useful, comparative analysis of carbon emissions… But when contemplating legislative action, it may make sense not to focus too exclusively on carbon emissions. Those are of tremendous import… but so are a bunch of other environmental repercussions of battery production for the people in affected locales…

    “For example, abandoned mine sites and tailings resulting from exploited cobalt-copper mines in DRC may contain sulphur minerals that undergo various reactions to generate sulfuric acid when exposed to air and water, allowing the dissolution of the metal elements. This behaviour known as Acid mine drainage (AMD) causes pollution or contamination of surface water by increasing the toxicity of water. It pollutes rivers and drinking water. Another environmental challenge at cobalt mines is associated with dust released from mechanical excavation, digging or breaking of rocks by hand, as in artisanal mining and pulverized rock. Dust from some of these cobalt mines may contain toxic metals including uranium which is linked to health impacts such as respiration and birth defects.”
    https://unctad.org/system/files/official-document/ditccom2019d5_en.pdf (pg. 46)

    Should inclinations to subsidize purchase of electric vehicles be constrained at all by considering such circumstances? If pursued nevertheless, should they at least be accompanied by serious investments in attempting to directly remediate such remote impacts… and others cited on pg. 46 of that same document? If not, why not?

  13. Soviet government used to make such detailed plans. They somehow never worked out. I respect that you talked to a couple of experts, but this is level of effort way lower than a private company will do. One thing your analysis shows is how uncertain things are – one more battery, different driving assumptions, one more shortage of rare earths controlled by an aggressive non-democratic supplier and you are looking at negative outcome at a huge cost. But then you are not risking your own money, so it’s OK!
    Government should be minimally invasive – propose some modest subsidies and see what works. There are other ways to subsidize reduction in driving. Why not reduce taxes for those who work from home (both employer and employee) and have kids at school at home. Report number of days working from home and get a state income tax deduction. Cross-check employers and employees to reduce fraud.

  14. Will, thanks for including the chart (with 2018 numbers) comparing GHG emissions. I would like to comment about the rightmost bar- FCEV (Fuel Cell EV).

    Some years ago, I did not have much optimism about Hydrogen EVs because of the GHG cost at that time of producing (and distributing) Hydrogen as a fuel. However, times have changed. There is now direct production of Green Hydrogen in offshore wind installation in Scandinavia, using excess electricity from the wind turbines. If we find a way to get Green Hydrogen into our vehicles without generating more GHGs in the process, we could minimize the GHG cost of electric vehicles down to the cost of vehicle production.

    Since Green Hydrogen is both fuel and energy storage, there will be a transformative effect in many sectors of the economy that currently account for most of our GHG emissions (e.g. cement production), not just transportation. It will take a while, but we are headed in the right direction.

  15. So, Will, to my original point: your own data shows the so-called “zero emissions”, “renewable” vehicles you were pushing at the outset are of course far from it. And, their “advantage”, modest at best given the stunning associated cost increases and loss of function, assume some buffed up projections in an “MIT study” are correct, which, given the author’s biases, you can be certain they are not. It’s easy to sit in an office in Cambridge and prattle about mining and manufacturing practices in China or the grid of the future over there. Chairman Xi is not listening. The plain truth is that your costly, impractical “solutions” to a non-existent problem won’t work. But they do come at the certain strategic and moral cost of increasing our already dangerous dependence upon a coal-powered, totalitarian regime operating race-based concentration camps, harvesting prisoners organs for transplant. That is the only certain outcome of your EV policy recommendations.

  16. The next thing to consider is chip supply. A gas-powered vehicle can run without chips. Can a battery-powered vehicle? If China decides to jack up the price on solar panels, batteries, and chips among other technology needed for going green then all the financials for EVs are out the window. The price we’re going to pay and the life-style changes we’re going to have to make for hollowing out our national manufacturing capabilities and dumbing down our educational system will sooner rather than later put going green on hold for many years. Good intentions and self-righteousness don’t beat sharp-elbow nation-state economics. China is playing to win and we don’t seem to even understand there’s a game on.

    1. Gas powered vehicles are rolling computers already. The electric power train is simpler than the gas power train.

      But I agree we need to be worried about maintaining manufacturing capacity.

  17. Lots of good ideas. A major problem is that current gas cars are heavily subsidized, but that subsidy is hidden. For instance, the cost of increased asthma from particulate emissions, of public health issues from emissions – borne not by each user but by society at large, or frontline communities. If people had to pay the full costs of their emissions, the price differences would be less, since the price of gasoline and cars fueled by gas would be double. Which would make EVs reasonable in comparison. And there are many discounts people may not know – our Chevy Bolt (with only the $1750 tax credit) cost just $21,000 after discounts and rebates. And it is fun to drive.

    EV chargeing infrastructure is needed – already Boston requires new condo developments to have all parking spots EV charger ready AND 25% EV chargers installed.
    I am trying to do the same in CAmbridge. We need all new developments to do the same. And then put in chargers in existing parking spots, including in the public right of way so folks not lucky enough to have a garage have easy access. Cambrige is starting a pilot based on other cities which have done it to install a charger on a public street using an existing streetlight – which since it was converted to LED has excess capacity to put in a charger. That kind of project might prove replicable elsewhere..

    We also need to get people out of cars – France is trying to get people to reduce emissions – by paying up to $3000 if someone trades in a polluting car. We need to do everything we can – status quo is not an option.

  18. Will,
    * Copper is also mentioned as critical for the green-transition, but again I read contradictory statements – some going to the extent to start banning copper for product not absolutely requiring it… so still unclear there.
    * Resilience to outage/disaster – power outage gets addressed quickly in Belmont, and boston area, but it is not unusual to see multi-day outage in more rural area. I would be anxious to see an evolution enforcing electric only vehicle – that is so dependent of the grid. I am still looking toward hydrogen cars, but my point is: global warming is happening and with it plenty of weather and other havoc (think I just summerized my snowblower earlier this week :-), I feel that resiliency should be a key element of any green policies.

  19. Senator B: “At Massachusetts current grid carbon intensity (see note below), the emissions savings are more modest — a reduction of 57% as compared to a conventional vehicle.”

    If one imagines a circumstance where there are clean sources available to power 50 units of electric grid capacity and dirty sources available to power 150 units of grid capacity, and there is current demand for 100 units of grid capacity, one might reasonably hope that it’d be a 50/50 mix used in practice, given preference for use of clean sources, with dirty sources kept in abeyance to the degree possible.

    But if one were to then imagine adding 20 units of demand via electric vehicles would one properly calculate their impact as involving 50% clean/50% dirty sources? Or 100% dirty? The latter, yes?

  20. Dear Senator,
    Thank you for your thoughtful post on going electric and your ask to constituents for their comments. The conundrum that consumers face in investing in a new vehicle is does it fit their particular needs and desires such as safety, image, durability, range, fueling, cold-weather performance, all wheel drive, SUV, and resale value, to name just a few. I would also suggest that a consumer will not buy a car that does not meet their needs regardless of government incentives.
    When you discussed EVs you did not mention Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) which use hydrogen that the consumer fills up at a station much like they do today with gasoline. FCEV drivers fill up in minutes and travel approximately 400 miles on a full tank. This long-range vehicle provides consumers with another EV choice, especially if they have mileage concerns. Equally important, there is no mileage loss during our cold NE weather as I personally witness with my EV. FCEVs are also an excellent choice for apartment and condo owners that do not have access to home charging. The largest constraint facing FCEV use is the lack of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure. California has taken the lead in investing in a robust hydrogen infrastructure and has sales of over 9,000 FCEVs from manufacturers including Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, and Mercedes. The governments of Germany, South Korea, China, and Japan have taken significant steps to promote the purchase of FCEVs (from forklifts to passenger cars to buses and trains). Regardless of the type, we need to embrace and support all EVs in order to meet our ambitious greenhouse gas redecution goals.

    Thank you for your continued leadership on climate change and transportation issues both in the district and on Beacon Hill.

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