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Corp Comm leads charge with support of electric vehicle plan

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On behalf of the Arizona Technology Council’s vast membership and dedicated board of directors, I thank the Arizona Corporation Commission for its leadership on renewable energy and applaud the commission’s vote on the Electric Vehicle Implementation Plan.

As Arizona continues to foster innovation and grows into a world-class technology hub, approving a new electric vehicle policy such as this is critical for our state to lead our renewable energy transition. It’s imperative the Corporation Commission continues to move us forward, and the utility companies should play a significant role in enabling the growth of Arizona’s transportation electrification market and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

This is a win-win decision from which everyone stands to benefit. Increased adoption of electric vehicles not only will reduce harmful pollution but will also cut utility costs for Arizona families and transportation costs for drivers. The Electric Vehicle Implementation Plan will open the door for investment in electric vehicle infrastructure and programs across Arizona. In turn, this will attract even more innovative technology companies like Lucid Motors and Nikola to Arizona, facilitating greater economic development and supporting the local economy. It’s estimated that        1 million EVs will be on our roads by 2030 and more than 7 million by 2050, generating $31 billion in net economic benefits statewide.

I’m not just talking about electric cars and individual owners who will benefit from electrification. Beyond personal vehicles, electrifying delivery vehicles, 18-wheelers, public transit, school buses and ride-sharing services will result in cost savings for both the public and private sectors in Arizona.

It’s no surprise that the demand for electric vehicles continues to increase as prices drop and consumers look for ways to save money at the gas pump. New innovations from the electric car industry are already driving down total costs for ownership of an electric vehicle.

According to a recent report from Wintergreen Research, the global electric vehicle market reached a value of $39.8 billion in 2018 and is projected to be worth $1.5 trillion by 2025. Sales are anticipated to total 97 million vehicles worldwide by 2025. In addition, worldwide sales of electric vehicles reached 2.7 million vehicles in 2018 and are projected to increase to 11 million in 2020.

With more electric vehicles comes the increased demand for recharging solutions. It’s time for utility companies and the private sector to build more electric vehicle charging stations across the state instead of just ratepayer-funded power plants.

This growing interest in electric vehicles coincides with a greater awareness of environmental concerns, renewable energy alternatives and energy security. Consumers recognize the need to embrace renewable energy programs and so should utility companies. And it’s great to see the Arizona Corporation Commission leading the (electric) charge.

— Steven G. Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.

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