EEI survey shows support for electric vehicle infrastructure expansion in Maryland

A majority of Maryland residents support the expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in the state, according to an Edison Electric Institute (EEI) survey released on Monday that comes as the Maryland Public Service Commission prepares to hold hearings this week on the issue.

According to the survey results, 76 percent of Maryland residents support advancing an EV charging network in the state, 61 percent believe an EV charging network would have a positive impact on Maryland’s economy, and 81 percent believe an EV charging network would have a beneficial impact on the environment.

“The results of this survey clearly illustrate that demand for electric vehicles in Maryland is widespread and growing,” said Brian Wolff, executive vice president of public policy and external affairs at EEI.

The online survey, which was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of EEI, also found that three in 10 Maryland residents are interested in purchasing an electric vehicle within the next 12 months.

“Based on this survey, it’s apparent that investing in electric vehicle infrastructure is what residents want to improve their economy, environment, and will help their state move forward with meeting targeted emission reduction goals,” Wolff said. “Local electric companies will play a critical role in accelerating and incentivizing the adoption of EVs, in addition to making the necessary investments to deploy, own, and operate charging infrastructure for the benefit of customers.”

For example, Baltimore-based BGE, Maryland’s largest electric and gas utility, has partnered with Nissan and BMW to offer BGE customers thousands of dollars in discounts off the cost of certain all-electric vehicle models, BGE said Tuesday. In addition to the manufacturer incentives, customers could also qualify for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits and $3,000 in Maryland excise tax credits, BGE added.

“Electric vehicles are a key factor in Maryland meeting its clean air and water quality goals, in addition to being cheaper to operate and maintain than gas-powered vehicles,” said Rodney Oddoye, vice president of customer operations and chief customer officer for BGE.

Nissan is offering BGE customers a $3,000 rebate off the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the 2018 LEAF, which starts at $29,990, through June 30. Meanwhile, BMW is offering BGE customers a $10,000 incentive off the best negotiated purchase price of a new all-electric BMW i3 or BMW i3s through July 31.

“These rebates provide a great opportunity for BGE customers to make the switch and receive the benefits of driving electric,” Oddoye said.

BGE and the utilities Delmarva Power and Pepco, along with environmental groups and charging station companies filed a proposal with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) earlier this year for the creation of a Statewide Electric Vehicle Portfolio consisting of 24,000 chargers.

In February, the PSC requested public comments on electric vehicle infrastructure in the state. The PSC will hold legislative-style hearings on the topic of implementing a Statewide Electric Vehicle Portfolio on May 17-18 in Baltimore. If approved, the electric vehicle charging network would be the second largest in the United States, according to BGE.

In 2013, Maryland was one of eight states that signed a memorandum of understanding committing to ensuring the implementation of a state zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) program, according to the Multi-State ZEV Task Force, which was created by the states to advance ZEV deployment. Other states that signed on to the initiative include California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Maryland has set a target of having 60,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2020 and 300,000 emission-free cars by 2025.

Kevin Randolph

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