Oregon is joining seven other states in a plan to bring 3.3 million electric vehicles to the nation's roadways.
Many other states in the alliance are working to have more charging infrastructure built -- something Oregon has been working on for years now. For that reason, Oregon's strategy will focus on getting more car dealer involvement.
About 90 percent of the state’s population has access to fast charging stations, according to said Ashley Horvat, Oregon’s chief EV officer.
“The EV is not just relegated to Portland, Eugene, Salem, Ashland, and Medford. You can actually extend your trip outside of the I-5 corridor,” Horvat said.
The state will work to reduce congestion at charging stations along the Interstate 5 corridor and other major roadways.
Increasing zero emissions cars on the road will also mean more help from dealers, one of the key points in Oregon’s plan.
“We’re going to continue to work with [the Oregon Dealer’s Association] to make sure that they have the training they need, whether it’s on the education standpoint or some type of incentive to get the dealers a little bit more engaged in getting those cars off the lot,” Horvat said.
That's a concern for EV advocates in other states in the alliance, too.
“The states recognize that we cannot accomplish these goals alone. We need the auto dealers to step up to the plate to get these cars into our states,” said Deb Markowitz, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.
Horvat said she'd like to see Oregon lawmakers enact a tax incentive or rebate program to encourage more consumers to buy electric cars. Currently, Oregon provides tax incentives for charging infrastructure, but not plug-in vehicles.
Zach Henkin, program manager for Drive Oregon, said he plans to answer fleet managers’ questions, as well as increase charging stations at workplaces and apartments.
“Electric vehicles are not great for everything but they do work well for some of these high mileage uses, where we’re just using a lot of gasoline and it’s a waste,” Henkin said.
Currently there are about 4,500 electric vehicles on Oregon’s roads. Advocates would like to see that number reach 130,000 by 2025.
The other states involved in the zero emission vehicle action plan are California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Each state will come up with its own plan. Together, the eight states make up about 23 percent of the electric vehicle market in the U.S.