ZEVIWG Update: Driving Change in Oregon

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The Zero Emission Vehicle Interagency Working Group is a coalition of state agencies dedicated to helping Oregon electrify our transportation system. Last week, the group held a public meeting to share updates about Oregon’s progress on getting more people behind the wheel of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

In 2017, ZEVIWG members were tasked with implementing Governor Brown’s Executive Order No. 17-21, which creates a statewide goal to increase the number of zero emission vehicles in the state to 50,000 by the end of 2020. The interagency group is made up of the Oregon Department of Energy, Department of Administrative Services, Public Utility Commission, Department of Environmental Quality, and Oregon Department of Transportation. Their mission: implementing the directives from the Executive Order by tackling cost, infrastructure, and information gaps to help accelerate the transition to electric vehicles across the state.

For the May public meeting, state agencies gave updates on recent milestones:

  • Oregon Department of Energy staff discussed our work to develop EV leadership awards for the Governor, to be presented later this year.

  • DEQ highlighted the progress on the EV rebate programs. Staff have approved more than 1300 rebate applications and remitted $3.3 million in rebates!

  • The PUC highlighted work on the transportation electrification programs happening at Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp. These utilities will install more charging infrastructure in their service territories throughout 2019.

  • ODOT highlighted its work coordinating with other state agencies and the state of Washington in proposing EV charging investments for Electrify America, which led to charging infrastructure development in Oregon along I-84, I-5, major highways to the coast and Bend, as well as charging in the Portland metropolitan area.

  • DAS provided an update on its work to budget for higher EV adoption in the state fleets. By 2025, at least 25 percent of eligible vehicles the state procures will be EVs.

Through the remainder of this year and 2020, the ZEVIWG will focus on:

  • ODOE and ODOT collaborating on two budgeting tools that will help transit agencies and school bus owners compare the costs of buying, operating, and maintaining differently fueled buses, including electric buses. These tools will help transit agencies and school districts in Oregon as they make decisions about which buses are the right fit for their activities.

  • The PUC will continue to work with PGE and PacifiCorp as they develop additional transportation electrification plans and utilize revenues from their Clean Fuels Program credits to support EV adoption for their ratepayers.

  • DEQ will hire a contractor to help issue the Charge Ahead EV rebates for low- and moderate-income Oregonians.

This was the first public meeting for the ZEVIWG, and the group will continue to look for ways Oregonians can offer feedback on how the state can identify and address barriers to equitable and widespread adoption of electric vehicles in Oregon. Got a suggestion? Check out the state’s Go Electric Oregon website, which includes more about Oregon’s EV goals and how you can help us meet them.

The ZEVIWG will host another public meeting later this year. You can sign up to receive updates on meetings and other activities on the ZEVIWG Get Involved webpage.