We kicked off our 2018 networking events in Seattle with a discussion on electric vehicle incentives and why they are critical to advancing the electric mobility industry. The discussion was timely because Washington state's EV tax incentive has a cap on the number of vehicles that qualify and is set to expire next month.
We were joined by guest speaker Dr. Scott Hardman, a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis' Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Reseach Center, which is housed in the Institute of Transportation Studies. Scott shared the key findings from the Research Center and highlighted the most important things we need to know about EV incentives:
- Incentives are effective in growing PEV (plug-in electric vehicles) markets. The states with the greatest number of EV sales all have an existing incentive (California, Hawai'i and Washinton). Washington state has emerged as a market leader and Forth is working with our partners to extend the tax incentive beyond the cap on 7,500 vehicles. Oregon had a purchase rebate signed into law in August 2017 and we are confident it will increase sales in the state.
- Removing these incentives too soon can disrupt market growth. EV sales declined significantly when incentives were removed in Georgia, the Netherlands and Denmark. Georgia is the best example in the U.S. - the rebate, established in 1998, helped Georgia become one of the top sellers of electric vehicles in the nation. In 2015, the credit expired and since then Georgia has seen an 80% drop in EV sales.
- Purchase incentives alone cannot drive the market. Infrastructure development, education and awareness programs, and other incentives such as free parking, HOV lane access, toll waivers, must be implemented as well. Scott noted that consumer awareness is not often addressed in the industry and there is not a lot of research around it currently.
Scott's presentation can be viewed here: