By on February 9, 2015

Tesla Model S + Space X Under the Space Needle in Seattle

Legislators in the state of Washington have a slate of bills in mind that would encourage more EV adoption in order to help reduce air pollution.

Autoblog reports one bill would create a “statewide electric vehicle infrastructure bank” that would be used to fund new charging stations throughout Washington. The bank would be funded via a $100 annual fee for EV registrations, as well as a change to sales-tax exemptions for such vehicles via a bill that would renew them through July 2021. The exemption would cover the first $45,000 of an EV’s purchase price, so those buying a Nissan Leaf or a Chevrolet Bolt would be just fine, while those buying a Tesla Model S or X would pay the sales tax.

Other bills in the running include a requirement of all cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce and Thurston counties to allow charging stations in nearly all land zoning categories; incentive programs for builders to add such stations to their projects; and utility compliance credits for those who buy new EV chargers.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

54 Comments on “Washington State Looking To Encourage EV Adoption Via Legislation...”


  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I didn’t realize air pollution was a big problem up there. I suspect it’s not.

    • 0 avatar
      DukeMantee

      Air pollution will be the least of Washingtons problems.Without major powergrid upgrades(coal,oil,nuclear plants) there isn’t going to be any way to charge a phone,never mind a fleet of smugs.

      • 0 avatar

        You charge the smugs at night, when electricity demand is down. Since you can’t turn off and store the hydropower, this way you’d get to harvest it. from that point of view, it’s not a bad idea. Or it wouldn’t be if the ranges were up and the charging times were down.

        • 0 avatar
          DukeMantee

          How do you increase consumption of electricity without an increase in production???

          Just curious,cause the world the rest of us live in has consequences for our actions.
          Demand goes up,production follows.
          Let me know when you find more rivers to dam.
          I’m sure the EPA gets there ahead of us.

          • 0 avatar

            You’re not understanding.

            Demand is lower at night than in the day. But you can’t vary production from hydro, or nuclear, it’s costly to vary production from fossil fuel plants.

            So if you have something that can sop up some of the excess nocturnal production, it’s a win-win.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            At night the power demands are lower so there is excess capacity during the night. You can vary the power from a hydro plant there are gates that control the flow of water through the turbines. However Hydro is not the sole source of power in WA, there are some fossil fuel plants as well as a couple of small wood fired plants.

            As wmba noted the entire west is interconnected. WA does not have enough generating capacity to meet the peak day time winter demands due to heating. In the summer we have more that sufficient capacity for the peak daytime demand thanks to the fact that people around here typically do not have AC in their homes.

            In CA the demand peaks are reversed since they have high demands in the summer due to the proliferation of AC but the demand for heating use is relatively low in the winter.

            So in the winter some of the electricity used in the PNW comes from the south while in the summer we send power south.

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          You can store it, they just choose not to for cost reasons. Pumped storage is the best method.

          • 0 avatar
            rolosrevenge

            It’s not even that. It’s fish. They have to keep a certain flow on the rivers. If you can’t use that power, you spill the water to keep the river flow rate at what it should be. But during the spring they have another problem. Too much water. They have to run the dams at max or the water will flood over the top. But then if they can’t use the power the have other problems because too much spillage causes the nitrogen levels in the water to rise to levels that can harm salmon fry making their way to the ocean. So they can’t dump it. And the wind likes to blow at night, compounding the problems. So yeah, nighttime charging of EVs is a solution to a lot of problems up here.

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          Around these parts, we use dams to store hydropower. In British Columbia they do the same. What’s the problem in Washington State?

          “All of the electric utilities in the Western Interconnection are electrically tied together during normal system conditions and operate at a synchronized frequency of 60Hz. The Western Interconnection stretches from Western Canada south to Baja Californiain Mexico, reaching eastward over the Rockies to the Great Plains.”

          Because of this interconnection and the way AC power works, it’s silly to say hydropower is wasted in spring melt on the one hand (you can just run it flat out and replace thermal stations), or incapable of being stored behind a dam at other times. Nor can anyone say who lives in the entire West that they are using locally produced power.

          The system is interconnected, you have no choice where your power comes from. System operators plan the generating plant online sequencing. When this basic understanding sinks in here, incorrect comments may finally disappear.

          I’m not holding my breath. The AC power grid and the way it operates seems to elude the understanding of otherwise competent people.

          My point is, why waste hydropower running it as base load plant when 90% of the time it can be used to cover peak demands at low marginal cost? Sure, when you’re flush with hydropower in the spring, use it flat out then. The rest of the time use it wisely to minimize system costs.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @DukeManitee:
        Washington state has (or used to have) excess hydroelectric capacity ever since the aluminum smelting industry left a decade or two ago.

        They’re removing dams on the Klamath River (if I remember correctly) because they’re not needed, and to return the land to it’s natural state for the Native People and for wildlife.

        So, yeah, I wouldn’t me surprised if they had capacity for a few million electric cars on to their power grid. And the usual “I forgot to run the numbers” arguments about moving the tailpipe to a coal plant apply far less than usual, because of the heavy use of hydroelectric power.

        Also, the average daily power consumption for an EV may surprise you. You can calculate it for a given commute (KWH/mile * miles). For me, my A/C unit uses more power than an EV would during the summer. Yes, it’s a real impact – but it’s not going to break the grid and, as a commuter with an office job, I’m going to be slow charging at night.

        I’ll defer to the people who actually work in the electric power industry and know the state of the grid in that part of the country, but I just wanted to point out how much of your argument was based purely on your own assumptions.

        P.S. Local governments are usually pretty good about understanding their own constraints, in my experience.

    • 0 avatar
      hf_auto

      It’s not a problem of “LA smog” proportions, but air pollution from transportation is an issue in the Duwamish area (South Seattle). Diesel particulates account for 78% of airborne carcinogens in that area.

      That said, it’s a port/industrial area being pumped with emissions from marine, factories, and old port trucks, so they need more than EVs to fix the problem.

      The area is also seeing tremendous population growth from California and abroad, so I suspect some of these initiatives are preventative maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        In the 90’s the greater Seattle are regularly exceeded EPA clean air limits. This resulted in the mandatory implementation of emissions testing. When we continued to fail the standards the EPA required enhanced testing. One of the reasons was that the testing station that failed was located at the busiest intersection of the town just outside of the boundries the state initially set for the area where vehicles needed to be tested. The first time we failed the EPA required that testing be expanded. The state responded by revoking the 25 year rolling exemption. We still failed so the state finally required people that lived in the city where the testing station was located. After a few years of passing they returned the 25 year rolling exemption and went to testing every tow years.

        Of course the state profits from the testing because they contract with a 3rd party to do the testing and they get a fixed percentage of the testing fee. So despite the fact that the EPA no longer requires the testing the state of WA continues to require it.

    • 0 avatar
      RogerB34

      The “air pollution” is carbon dioxide.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Those are actually sounding rather sensible. Have I gone squishy or have they changed the approach?

  • avatar

    I spent five days in the area in may a couple of years ago, and air pollution was not noticeable.

    Some state legislator got a bee in his bonnet for BEVs. They may catch on in France, where the state is paying a ransom for your old diesel, and where things are not nearly as spread out as here, but I don’t see it happening in Washington, or anywhere else in the US until the ranges are up and the charging times are minimal.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      EVs aren’t going to be all things to all people for a while.

      But they are the right tool for some jobs. Right now, my Prius could easily be replaced by an EV, since it’s used mostly for local commuting and errands. We take our minivan on long trips these day because it’s more comfortable for a family of four.

      Commuting appliances for cubicle slaves in murti-car households is a niche, but it’s a big one. Using EVs here could save both money and gasoline for when it matters.

      Back when I was single and poor, I needed one beater car that could be everything to everyone. Now that I’m a family man, I manage a small fleet optimized for my household’s needs. It’s a different mentality.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    “a $100 annual fee for EV registrations” – OMG, they’re actually asking EV owners to pay for something! Better break out the riot gear.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Autoblog reports one bill would create a “statewide electric vehicle infrastructure bank” that would be used to fund new charging stations throughout Washington. The bank would be funded via a $100 annual fee for EV registrations”

    Interesting idea on the registration fee building charging stations, but how much of that is really going to be diverted into pork instead of charging stations?

    • 0 avatar

      that’s going to be more than balanced negatively by the lack of sales tax on garden variety BEVs.

    • 0 avatar
      hf_auto

      The $100 annual fee was originally proposed for road maintenance to make up for lost gas tax revenue. I suspect at least a portion of the $100 would still go to that cause.
      I’d rather have my $100 go to maintaining roads than putting up charging stations- I can charge at home, but I can’t do much about crumbling roads.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I actually believe the road charging station is a better idea, tossing more money at “road maintenance” is not going to necessarily give you better roads (especially given a percentage road maintenance money is already being diverted). If EVs were dominant, I would change my view but they won’t be anytime soon and the $100 could create an infrastructure for them to slowly grow in use.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      If the bank is a source of loans for those wanting to build charging stations, then do they have an exit strategy for when the bank is fully funded and/or sufficient infrastructure is built?

      Indeed, a perpetual maintenance fee ($100/yr at registration) makes more sense for a perpetual expense (road maintenance).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Good point on the perpetuity of it. Maybe ten years of fees to build the infrastructure, the fee goes away, and any excess of the fund at that time goes into a general road slush fund.

  • avatar
    jdash1972

    Excuse me but there is no Tesla Model X. It is “delayed”.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Washington resident here.

    None of these bills will pass the Republican-controlled Washington state senate. Curtis King (the Senate Transportation Committee leader) is being courteous to his Democratic colleague by saying he will look at them, but his record shows that he is hostile to any form of alternative transportation, whether alternative-fuel cars, bikes, or mass transit.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Is that really his view, or is he really hostile to the schemes put forward by the other side?

      If I don’t approve of a plan to spend a billion on bike trails, EV subsidies, etc. that doesn’t make me anti anything except bad ideas.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        He has opposed transportation plans put forth by his own side when they include money for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The state does not have much of a role in mass transit funding in Washington, but he has consistently opposed legislation granting local regions authority to vote for their own local taxes supporting transit. (And such legislation wouldn’t even affect his constituents — his district is in rural Eastern Washington, while it is the urban areas of Western Washington that want to tax themselves to build more trains and dedicated bus lanes.)

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Sounds like he could just be a small gov guy rather than anti alt transport, but there is really no telling with pols.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            He’s been perfectly happy to spend $billions on highways as long as $(low)millions for bike paths aren’t included.

            In this state transportation funding has become tangled up with urban/rural fighting. There is a perception that the urban areas wield all the power, and it is politically profitable for rural legislators to manifest hostility to urban causes even when there is no benefit to rural constituencies in doing so. Bike paths and sidewalks are a highly visible symbol of urban priorities even if they cost peanuts, so they attract opposition far out of proportion to their cost.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Ah, I see some of that in Texas now. The cities have been pushing the rural areas around. We had to pass a new law to get them to do rural Trans projects because they were balancing the budget by not spending the Trans funds.

            Funds are fungible, no matter what.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      dal20402, my sister in Kent-Desmoines told me she doesn’t think this will fly either. And she also told me that their electricity rates for res!dence and business in WA are already very high.

      And since much WA electricity is exported across the border to Canada, it is double ironic that their electricity rates at their res!dence in Vancouver BC are actually lower than in WA state.

      She and her (Canadian) husband maintain res!dences on both s!des of the border. Quite a few people do.

      • 0 avatar

        at 9 cents/kwh, Washington has the cheapest electricity in the country.

        http://www.eia.gov/state/rankings/?sid=WA#series/31

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          David C., it is the fixed, infrastructure and administration costs that drive up the price of electricity on the monthly bill.

          In NM, those infrastructure costs are broken down by category and then pro-rated with an additional percentage for each kw used.

          So, fixed costs remain the same from rate increase to rate increase. But each month the amount of kw used is pro-rated with a percentage and added to each catgory of fixed costs.

          Were I to not use any kw, my bill would still be high because of the fixed costs. And it is against the law for anyone to live off-the-grid in NM if there is a provider like PNM supplying that area.

      • 0 avatar
        greaseyknight

        Part of the problem is that an Initiative was voted in by the people requiring that 15% of electricity by generated by “Renewable Resources” by 2020, not including Hydro.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        People in Washington who think their electricity rates are high have never paid an electric bill in any other part the country. We have the lowest rates in the nation.

  • avatar

    having ridden literally tens of thousands of miles on oft-crowded bike trails in the Boston and DC areas, and probably run a few thousand on the former, I don’t think they are necessarily a bad idea.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Definitely not necessarily. We have spent tens or even hundreds of millions in Houston for little return. The ones along the bayous and parks get used a lot, as do the ones that replaced railways. Still, if not done cheaply enough they can be losers due to our weather. The ones on a street or sidewalk not seperated from a street get almost no use unless a vital part of a longer path.

      Signs for bike routes seem a cheap alternative to get bikes away from main routes and into neighborhoods. Combine that with bike only cutthroughs and crossings and you get a winner. We should also add four way stops with signs that bicycles don’t have to stop. Seems a good idea.

      Still, the best thing is for cyclists and walkers to buy real estate that allows that rather than try to demand it come to their doors.

      • 0 avatar

        Houston? I hear you. I can well imagine they don’t get used much.

        In both Boston and DC they are used, among other things, for commuting. I had a commute in DC for a while that was 6 miles-plus each way, and 4/5ths on bike trails.

      • 0 avatar
        jdash1972

        Houston is a bad example. Houston is a miserable unplanned sh!thole of a mess a riding a bike there is suicide. And no Houston driver would respect a bike lane. On the other hand I rented a bike years ago and rode all over downtown Seattle and I encountered nothing but courtesy and respect from drivers, I was shocked. I live in Texas and I have vivid memories of all the times I was honked at, nearly run off the road and had beer bottles thrown at me – empty and full – by intolerant drivers. Houston is concrete, traffic and noise and little else.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          I’m guessing from your post that you were behaving badly as a cyclist as you are here. Please stop telling people you are from Texas, even if you are, and apologize to your mother for being the embarrassment you have become.

          Seattle is nice, I hope you got to tour the peninsula, it’s fascinating.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    There is no pollution problem in Washington State, dollars to doughnuts this type of legislation is being primarily driven by the people that would profit off such a large government contract constructing such charging stations.

    In the same way, natural gas powered vehicles pollute around 90% less than a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle. How dumb would it be if the state used tax dollars to build and maintain natural gas charging stations for the public? The same with hydrogen powered vehicles.

    Technology simply moves too fast, I could easily see these chargers using technology that’s completely obsolete but the state will be on the hook for decades to maintain.

    • 0 avatar
      FractureCritical

      every gas station is a pollution problem. They out gas and they leak.
      It’s gotten so bad that the civil engineering community will wend roads around gas stations only as a last resort rather than risk the potential clean-up work, which can run hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions.

      Used to be that we’d only avoid true sacred cows like car dealerships and mafia owned car washes. these days, those places are fair game before the local gas-n-gulp.

      • 0 avatar
        eManual

        The reason for the high cost is that the EPA is a perfection driven institution, with a one-size-fits-all mentality to everything. An old gas station in the middle of nowhere probably needs no clean-up unless it leaks into an aquifer that’s being used. It’s not like our predecessors didn’t bury their garbage. Bureaucrats can’t think, they can only react.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Not to mention the basic government problem that they never get blamed for destroying all the good things that won’t happen due to there actions nor even most of the bad things that can’t be directly tied to them.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    In the Puget Sound region sales tax on a new vehicle purchase exceeds 9%. No sales tax on an electric under $45K, plus Uncle Sam giving me $7.5K — this becomes a huge incentive – spend $40K on an electric and you’re saving almost $4K in sales tax alone (admittedly in Washington state if you itemize you can write off sales tax)

  • avatar
    IndigoCoyote

    Puget Sound resident here. We have pollution, like anybody else. And we are a long, thin basin with mountains to the east and west. In mid-winter we get inversions, and in mid-summer a dome of high pressure. The big thing here to remember is that we expect 4 million more people in Western WA in the next 25 years. Almost double what we have now. I commend any pol who is willing to face these facts and could give a hang as to what party etc. comes up with out of the box solutions. As long as we get enough forward thinking.

    However, so-called “Blue” WA now has a D governor, D-ish House and R Senate. I can only hope that we get something besides gridlock. Or we will end up with, umm, gridlock.

    Oh, and my private utility now rewards me for using more juice at night (on a pilot program for now.) My for-profit electricity costs less than .03/kwh after 10pm. SO, yeah, what that guy said about hydro power not being too storable? Better believe it.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • slavuta: dal, this is [another] example of reality vs wishful thinking “December 7, 2011 Today’s Moscow News...
  • slavuta: Jeff S US is already somewhat dependent on Russia. If it wasn’t, why Trump and Biden, both talk to...
  • slavuta: Jeff, for your last comment, there will be 1 country 2 systems. Do you know what’s interesting? Around...
  • mcs: What about indigenous people claiming parts of the US. Or even Mexico taking back Texas?
  • Boxerman: The car companies are looking for government money to compete with tesla a product none of the existing...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber