Reality Pulls the Plug on Even a Modest EV Fleet Target
Excellent work by Jim Hummel of the Hummel Report with this investigative report, published on the front page of yesterday’s Providence Journal, pertaining to a state mandate that 25% of its vehicles be electric; i.e., zero emission.
The goal was to make one quarter of the state’s light duty vehicle fleet EV’s by 2025. So already excluded from that calculation is all of the state’s medium and heavy duty vehicles – plow trucks, dump trucks, etc. Seems like a reasonable, even modest, goal.
Apparently not. From Hummel’s investigative report:
The state has struggled to reach zero-emission goals for its own fleet of vehicles, as cost, supply and unwillingness by some departments to purchase all-electric and hybrid vehicles have left Rhode Island significantly short of hitting its initial target.
McKee quietly issued a new executive order in May giving the state five more years to reach the 25% goal, although the administration insists it wasn’t moving the goalposts
Interesting. So it turns out that it isn’t just the private sector who finds electric cars costly and impractical. In fact, it came to light a couple of weeks ago that even US Energy Secretary Granholm couldn’t make one work for a summer road trip without a staffer in a fossil fuel vehicle acting as an advance team at the next charging station(s).
No criticism of McKee here. The initiative that mandated the state’s fleet be 25% EV, called “Lead by Example” (gosh, its name is sure turning out to be inadvertently prescient), is not Governor McKee’s but his predecessor’s, Governor Gina Raimondo, via an Executive Order that she signed in 2015.
The push from certain isolated quarters to change from fossil fueled to electric vehicles is a huge proposition and one that is fraught with … um, challenges, to put it mildly. As we are seeing in real time, you cannot ignore the reality of those challenges and make it happen by rigid, blind order – even a modest one.
In pushing the goal back, Governor McKee simply took action that is grounded in reality; in stark contrast with the basis of Governor Raimondo’s 2015 Executive Order.
The fact that a state government, with all of its power and resources, could not achieve even a 25% change-over to electric vehicles in a ten year timeframe speaks volumes about the practicality of the proposal.
Rhode Island via the Department of Environmental Management will soon hold hearings on new “clean air” regulations, Advanced Clean Cars II (ACCII) and Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT), that would effectively phase out the sale of all new fossil fuel cars and 75% of fossil fuel trucks in Rhode Island by 2035.
Nowhere in the draft regulation does it guarantee that manufacturers will have adequate inventory to supply the state. Nowhere in the draft regulation does it explain how Rhode Islander consumers and businesses will be able to pay for an EV, notoriously more expensive than fossil fueled ones.
In short, the draft ACCII and ACT regulation has no more grounding in reality than Governor Raimondo’s 2015 “Lead by Example”.
The infrastructure, production and affordability of electric vehicles is nowhere close to real world applicability. Issuance of another government mandate based in fantasy is not going to bring that about, as we are seeing play out in real time with the prior governor’s Executive Order.