EV plan is not a rapid, disruptive transition

January 20, 2023

I read your article of Nov. 23 about Gov. Carney’s executive order instructing Delaware to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Cars 2 standard, which would require car manufacturers to gradually move to offering only electric vehicles – battery-electric and plug-in hybrid cars – for sale in Delaware. The articles and letters on this topic contain several misconceptions.

This is not a rapid, disruptive transition to electric vehicles. They will become available gradually, as car manufacturers provide increasing numbers of EVs to Delaware dealerships over the next 12 years. Gas-powered vehicles will continue to be sold until 2035. This timeline aligns with that of car manufacturers like GM which will no longer produce gas-powered vehicles after 2035.

Adopting ACC2 is not forcing anyone to drive electric vehicles. Used gas-powered vehicles will be legal to drive even after 2035.

Meanwhile, as EVs begin making up a larger percentage of cars on the road, a used-EV car market will develop. As with any new technology, EVs are becoming less expensive. Lower-income Delawareans who rely on pre-owned cars for their transportation will benefit from decreasing prices and the used-EV market. Federal tax credits for EVs already exist, as do rebates.

The idea that Delaware does not need clean cars because we have made progress with pollution levels is not borne out by fact. More than 80% of Delawareans live in counties that do not meet federal EPA clean air standards for ozone. Implementing ACC2 is much needed to lower levels of ozone and particulate matter that cause respiratory and other illnesses, and will benefit our health, and our healthcare system.

Concerns are expressed about the capacity of Delaware’s electric grid.

It is true the grid needs upgrades, but population growth, not EV charging, is the big driver of increased electricity needs. In Sussex County alone, population increased 24.5% between 2010 and 2023. 

Investment in the electric grid is needed whether ACC2 is adopted or not. Knowing that electric vehicles will eventually predominate, it is only prudent to plan and invest for the entire set of known requirements.

Claims that the needed infrastructure must be in place before transitioning make no sense. Rather, infrastructure to support the transition to EVs must be built while the transition is taking place.

Planning for this has already begun: Delaware will receive almost $18 billion from the Infrastructure Act to build out the state’s electric vehicle charging network, and has added $1.4 million in state funds.

As electric vehicles become more common, demand will drive additional infrastructure investment, which will provide good-paying jobs to Delawareans.

ACC2 is a needed step toward protecting our future. Delaware has many coastal communities under threat from hurricanes and coastal flooding.

Climate change affects rainfall patterns and the ability to grow crops. We must take steps now to ensure a livable planet for our children and grandchildren.

Alison White
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