And the governor didn't stop there. He helped dedicate six Proterra-made battery-electric transit buses that were put into municipal service in Worcester. Those buses are expected to save $3 million in refueling costs during the next dozen years. Additionally, the state is also spending $600,000 to deploy electric-vehicle charging stations in 16 municipalities and two universities while buying 200 electric vehicles for various public entities. The state also ponied up another $1.8 million for eight electric school buses.
Gina Coplon-Newfield, the Sierra Club's director of future fleet & electric vehicles initiative, wrote a blog post on the subject and said it'll be tough for the state to meet that 2025 goal. She estimated that state residents would have to buy about 70 plug-ins a day to hit that 300,000 mark, far higher than the current pace. Still, she applauded the state for the recent initiatives. "Massachusetts hasn't had enough EV champions who are focused on nothing but promoting EVs," she told AutoblogGreen. "There are lots of supportive people, though, who have been giving this more attention in recent months. That's why we're seeing progress."
"Massachusetts hasn't had enough EV champions who are focused on nothing but promoting EVs" - Sierra Club's Gina Coplon-Newfield
For those keeping track, about one out of 35 of the country's publicly accessible EV charging stations is in Massachusetts, according to the US Department of Energy. By comparison, Massachusetts accounts for about one in 50 registered vehicles in the US, so the state's slightly ahead of the game in that department. Time to catch up. Check out the press release from the governor's office below.
WORCESTER – Thursday, March 27, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today celebrated the launch of a new fully electric transit bus fleet at the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA). The Governor also announced new investments in two programs designed to support alternative fuel vehicles and related infrastructure across Massachusetts.
"We are committed to using innovative strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, bolster our energy independence and grow our clean energy economy," said Governor Patrick. "The WRTA's new fleet is an example of how we are accelerating the adoption of cleaner vehicles throughout Massachusetts to reduce harmful pollutants and promote a more sustainable environment for future generations."
The WRTA purchased six Proterra plug-in, all-electric buses with more than $7 million in federal funds and matching state funds from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). These buses represent the largest fleet of Proterra all-electric buses in the nation.
"Governor Patrick has been a leader in greenhouse gas emissions reduction," said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rick Sullivan. "Thanks to his support, the transit authority is now home to a fleet that is cleaner, quieter and will save money. Today's announcement shows that alternative fuel vehicles are a win-win for the environmental and economic bottom line."
"The new electric fleet further advances the Commonwealth's goals to provide our residents and visitors access to sustainable, healthy transportation," said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey. "I would like to recognize Administrator Stephen O'Neil and applaud his efforts and vision to bring cleaner bus service to the transit users in the Worcester region."
Each bus eliminates 130 more tons of carbon dioxide per year than buses using diesel fuel. The fleet will also reduce petroleum fuel consumption, eliminate other harmful pollutants and lower operating costs by nearly $3 million over 12 years.
Governor Patrick also announced a new initiative, the Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOREV) program, which will provide rebates of up to $2,500 for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs). All residents of the Commonwealth are eligible to receive incentives on vehicles registered in Massachusetts; these incentives will be funded with $2 million in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction proceeds.
Governor Patrick also awarded on Thursday nearly $600,000 in Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) grants to 16 municipalities, two public universities and colleges, and one state agency for the acquisition of plug-in hybrid or battery-electric vehicles and the installation of Level 2 charging stations. This is the second round of grant awards through MassEVIP since its launch last year. For more information on today's grant awards, go to: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/air/grants/massevip.html
"MassEVIP and the other important programs announced here today demonstrate that Massachusetts is a regional and national leader in deploying electric and alternative-fuel vehicles," said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner David Cash. "And through these programs, the Patrick Administration is committed to protecting our environment and growing the clean energy economy."
"Worcester's adoption of cleaner transportation, through this electric school bus grant and its commitment as a designated Green Community to buy only fuel-efficient vehicles, is a great example of how municipalities continue to lead in clean energy," said Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Mark Sylvia. "Now individuals will also have greater incentives to buy EVs and plug-in hybrids. These are more good reasons to live in Massachusetts!"
"We have made great strides over the past year in improving the financing of our RTA's and highlighting their importance to the Commonwealth's transportation infrastructure, and this new, important investment is a further example of our commitment to providing reliable transportation services to all of the residents of Central Massachusetts," said Senator Harriette L. Chandler.
"As we continue to make important investments in our transportation system, we must look to maximize the technology available to increase efficiency and lower costs. The Worcester Transit Authority's all electric transit bus fleet is a perfect example of that," said Senator Thomas M. McGee. " Not only will these vehicles save money over time, they will have a much smaller impact on the environment."
The Patrick Administration has already invested more than $20 million in electric and alternative fuel vehicles in the Commonwealth. In December 2013, the Patrick Administration announced several additional initiatives, including an electric school bus pilot. Working in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative's ongoing EV V2G School Bus Demonstration, DOER will provide $1.8 million in grants for eight electric school buses with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capability. Electric school buses have energy storage capability and can serve as back-up energy resources during natural disasters and similar events.
In addition, the Clean Vehicle Project aims to replace more than 200 public and private fleet vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel with alternatively fueled vehicles.
In October 2013, Governor Patrick signed a Zero-Emission Vehicle Program Memorandum of Understanding with seven other states' governors to increase the number of clean energy vehicles on the road. Of the overall goal to achieve 3.3 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025, Massachusetts' portion is 300,000.
The initiatives announced today will encourage increased deployment of advanced technology vehicles in Massachusetts, improve air quality, reduce reliance on foreign oil and help Massachusetts attain the Patrick Administration's aggressive emission reduction goals set under the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). The Clean Energy and Climate Plan goal, created under the GWSA, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The transportation sector generates more than one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions produced in Massachusetts. The Clean Energy and Climate Plan establishes a target for the transportation sector to reduce GHG emissions 7.6 percent by 2020.