By on May 19, 2021

Texas lawmakers have presented Senate Bill 1728 as a way to nail electric vehicles for circumventing fuel taxes, sending everyone into a tizzy. Electrification has become about more than simply developing new powertrains under the auspices of environmentalism and it’s observable in this week’s headlines. But let’s discuss what SB 1728 hopes to achieve so that you might make up your own mind without this author’s forthcoming influence.

If passed, the bill would raise fees on EVs as a way to make up for the gas tax they’re not paying. The proposed legislation stipulates an annual fee of between $190 and $240, an additional fee of at least $150 for anyone who drives their car more than 9,000 miles a year, and then 10 bucks per year for the local charging advisory council. The rules would come into effect this September and raise an estimated $37.8 million for the State Highway Fund in 2022. While we cannot say whether that money will be used responsibly, the pretense is that the funds will be used to “[equalize funding for] road use consumption for alternatively fueled vehicles.” (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2021

On Thursday, President Joe Biden spent part of his day listening to a group of lawmakers discuss how much the United States might need to spend on fixing its horrible infrastructure. It’s an issue America has neglected through multiple administrations and has frequently been set back by partisan conflict.

Considering the White House is ruminating on how to source trillions of dollars in new infrastructure spending after the U.S. just printed $9 trillion (almost 25 percent all USD currently in circulation) for COVID relief, that’s unlikely to change. Everyone is worried about raising taxes and causing inflation during a period of economic uncertainty, or skeptical that the government will use the new funding responsibly. But our roads (among other infrastructure projects) are reaching a point where they can no longer be ignored, placing the entire country in a particularly sour pickle.  (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2020

Getting something for nothing always feels good, like when the dealer serves up complimentary air freshener or a water bottle during your regularly scheduled servicing. Alright, so you’re paying for it in a roundabout way, but it’s still nice. Even the complimentary coffee in the waiting grotto counts as something.

For buyers of the Lucid Air, a very long-range electric sedan due to arrive in driveways early next year, a three-year perk awaits. This week, Lucid announced buyers will be table to tap into Electrify America’s charging network for free. (Read More…)

By on July 22, 2020

What if you had to pay a toll to drive anywhere? It’s entirely possible that such a proposal would spark a backlash in the road-hungry United States, but the idea hasn’t won over everyone in eco-conscious Europe, either.

In addition to existing steep fuel taxes, Germany wants to see a blanket road toll go into effect across the continent. (Read More…)

By on December 23, 2019

Prior to Congress taking the rest of the month off to relax and presumably gear up for an impeachment trial, they first had to settle their year-end tax package. Automakers were hoping that would include an extension of electric vehicle tax credits, but it was a doomed proposition.

An extension was initially included in the bipartisan Driving America Forward Act, which manifested this spring, before being incorporated into the Democrat-friendly GREEN Act (Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now). That got it through the House but not the Republican-controlled Senate, which wasn’t interested.

While the current $7,500 EV tax credit remains in place, Tesla and General Motors have both reached their 200,000-vehicle quota. Naturally, they (and other automakers) lobbied for an expansion, one which would have seen a $7,000 credit kept in place until a manufacturer sold 600,000 electric automobiles. Several Republican lawmakers openly shared their distaste for the plan, though few more openly than Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, who had an opposing bill — called the Fairness for Every Driver Act — interested in reducing subsidies on the grounds that EV credits have already done enough.  (Read More…)

By on November 19, 2019

If you hop around this country on a semi-regular basis, you’ve likely noticed that California seems better equipped to endure the onslaught of electric vehicles poised to reshape our society. For all the complaints about the state’s managerial issues and a homelessness situation that’s spinning wildly out of control, it’s one of the few places you can regularly encounter EV charging stations without actively looking.

It’s also an area you see them frequently in use. Many states still harbor large distances between charge points that don’t see a lot of use in the first place. But things are different in California. There are dedicated EV stations along most major highways, increasing in frequency the closer to you get to metropolitan hubs. Once inside the city limits, there are are countless office parks, service stations, and parking structures offering ground-floor charging — many of which will actually have cars plugged into them.

You’ll also notice many are broken and some don’t let you pay via a single swipe of your credit card. Instead, the machine will ask you to make an account with whatever company is offering the service, often trying to push you into using a proprietary app. It’s unfortunate and probably the last thing you want to do after scouting out a particularly well-hidden station because the first three you came across were occupied or out of order.  (Read More…)

By on November 4, 2019

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Sunday that her country will soon have one million charging stations ready for electric cars. Her words came ahead of numerous meetings with German automotive manufacturers on how best to spur EV adoption in Europe.

Pivoting to zero-emission vehicles has many worried about job losses. The United Auto Workers issued a nearly 40-page report on the implications of electric vehicles and how to address them during its negotiations with General Motors — after the automaker said the battery plant it was eyeballing in Ohio would require hourly employees to take pay cuts. The Center for Automotive Research has also indicated that EVs simply don’t take as many man hours to manufacture. It’s even mentioned in the Trump administration’s fuel economy rollback proposal — an effort bent on furnishing cheap automobiles and American jobs.

Germany is worried too, with groups echoing similar employment concerns. To mitigate those fears, while encouraging electrification and maintaining jobs, the nation wants to take its 20,000 charging stations to 1 million.  (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2019

Image: Ford/YouTube

There’s rumblings that Ford’s upcoming electric crossover — you know, the “Mustang-inspired” hot rod EV for the whole family ⁠— may make an appearance very soon. Due to go on sale in 2020, the vehicle is Ford’s first serious attempt to enter the electric vehicle field (apologies to the defunct Focus Electric, which found itself outclassed almost as soon as it appeared).

Getting Americans out of their brodozers will not be an easy feat, however, and the folks at the Blue Oval know it. With this in mind, Ford is offering future…Mach E?…buyers as many places to juice up as possible. (Read More…)

By on September 30, 2019

A gas station in Takoma Park, Maryland, has become the first in America to abandon fuel pumps for EV chargers. Established in 1958, RS Automotives was your typical, small town oil change place. There were three service bays, a convenience store, some light parking, and what used to be a trio of fueling pumps. On Thursday, the station reopened — having replaced gas pumps with 200 kilowatt electric charging stations.

While there are other devoted EV charging locations dotted around this great nation, this is the first mom-and-pop fuel store we’re aware of that’s made the switch.  (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2019

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Based in a region where internal combustion is treated by lawmakers with the same respect as the guy who cuts one in an elevator, Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralph Speth knows there’s only one way forward for his company. To remain viable in Europe and China and hedge its bets in North America, the JLR range needs electrification in a hurry.

Diesel market share is dropping like pants at a kegger and emissions standards aren’t getting any less stringent. No time to waste.

However, with one electric crossover already on the market and a range of EVs coming down the pipe, JLR faces the same hurdles as other automakers going the green route. And Speth doesn’t see things getting easier for a while — unless someone outside the company takes the heat off. (Read More…)

By on September 11, 2019

With electric-vehicle owners eligible for sizable tax breaks, and ineligible for federal fuel taxes, it often feels like they’re not pulling their weight when it comes to maintaining this great nation’s transportation infrastructure. However, feelings are sometimes wrong — when it feels like an Arby’s night, for example.

There are actually 26 states that presently impose fees upon EV owners and, according to Consumer Reports, 11 charge more than the amount drivers of similar, gas-powered cars pay in gas taxes, with 3 charging more than twice the average amount. Another dozen states are considering adding fees, with CR’s own research stipulating that 10 would require electrics to pay more than they would if they were powered by gasoline.  (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2019

fca

The United Kingdom, a highly populous (and heavily taxed) country that’s smaller than 11 U.S. states, may serve as a canary in the coal mine for electric vehicle adoption. If there’s enough places to charge up your EV, will buyers make the switch?

From across the pond comes news that, for the first time, the number of public electric vehicle charging stations has surpassed that of gasoline and diesel stations. It’s been a long road, as “normal” stations have been on a steady decline since 1970. EV stations popped up in earnest earlier this decade, fueled by government investments and green group initiatives, as well as efforts by automakers eager to provide fuel sources for their new vehicles.

Battery-electric vehicle market share in the UK in July? 1.4 percent. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2019

Roughly a year ago, Volkswagen subsidiary Electrify America announced a partnership with Walmart to help proliferate EV charging sites across the United States. Equal parts penance for VW’s illegal diesel shenanigans and shrewd business arrangement, the deal sought to establish plug-in points at 100 store locations in 34 states.

On Thursday, the companies announced the completion of 120 charging stations and signalled their intent to continue collaborating — citing future development programs in the District of Columbia and 46 U.S. states.  (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2019

With China having become the world’s largest automotive market by individual sales, it’s worth keeping tabs on it for burgeoning driving trends. While that’s predominantly revolved around electric vehicles, the People’s Republic also has pretty strict driving rules backed by some of the tightest monitoring of a civilian population imaginable. China is setting up a vast surveillance system that tracks every single one of its 1.4 billion citizens and is adapting it for use in its new “social credit system,” which sounds like the most Orwellian thing in existence.

The system is intended to publicly shame criminals, debtors, jaywalkers, and those with “controversial” political views while monitoring their every move but it’s also doing a fine job of making life harder for drivers.  (Read More…)

By on May 13, 2019

tesla model 3

Like most states, Illinois hasn’t raised its gas tax in years, keeping it at 19 cents since the musically gifted year of 1990, and, like most states, Illinois needs cash for pressing infrastructure repairs. Illinois’ state gas tax joins a slew of other taxes, including income tax, that’s bundled into local pump prices, but one type of driver was able laugh at all the chumps lining up for dino juice.

The electric vehicle driver.

By virtue of their emissions-free powerplant, EV drivers side-step this area of taxation. Unfortunately for the Tesla owners of Cook County and other jurisdictions, those days may soon come to an end. A proposed law would see EV owners dinged $1,000 a year — their contribution to maintaining the roads and bridges their hefty EVs ply on a daily basis. As you’d expect, many are not happy.

Neither are conventional vehicle owners, however, as the proposal would more than double the state’s gas tax. (Read More…)

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