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Electric Vehicles: Sorting through Common Myths

by Kelbe Goupil, SLCgreen EV intern

Are you skeptical about electric vehicles? If so, you’re not alone! Many people have questions and worries about driving an electric vehicle. We’ve busted some of the most common myths to ease your mind and encourage you to consider becoming an electric citizen.

Mayor Biskupski unveils new Level 2 charging stations in Salt Lake City on Earth Day, 2019.

Myth #1: I will run out of power and get stranded without a charge.

This is called “range anxiety” and is a common concern. Research shows that on average, drivers in the U.S. travel about 31 miles per day. Any EV on the market can handle well above that on a single charge. Generally speaking, the range of EVs spans 80-230+ miles.

The average EV battery range is projected to reach 300 miles as soon as 2023. The bigger the battery, the more energy it can store and the further you can go without refueling. Additionally, EV drivers do more than 80% of their charging at home!  For those that have long commutes or otherwise drive long distances frequently, a hybrid can eliminate range anxiety, and is cleaner than a gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle. Public and workplace charging are also available to help you fuel up as needed.

Check out the ChargePoint app or the charging map on slcgreen.com/ev to find charging stations near you. PlugShare.com is another resource and provides open source listing of EV stations.

Myth #2: EVs are too expensive.

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U Drive Program Puts 127 New Electric Vehicles on the Road

You may remember how excited we were to collaborate with Utah Clean Energy and the University of Utah on the second round of U Drive Electric this fall.

The goal: Get more EV’s on the road to promote cleaner air.

The how: By spreading the word about the limited-time bulk discounts available through the University of Utah’s innovative program.

Over the course of September and October, we worked with the U. and Utah Clean Energy to speak with hundreds of people about what “going electric” really means– including how cost-effective owning an electric vehicle is.

Now that this round has wrapped up, we’re excited to announce that 127 electric vehicles were purchased through U Drive Electric II!

When combined with Round I there are now over 200 new electric vehicles on the road thanks to U Drive Electric. These new EV owners have taken an important step towards improving air quality along the Wasatch Front.

  • Electric vehicles produce up to 99% less of the criteria air pollutants that cause bad air quality. With winter inversion season upon us it’s easy to see the importance of driving electric.
  • Furthermore, the EVs purchased through U Drive Electric will significantly reduce green house gas emissions. The carbon dioxide avoided over the next five years is equivalent to not burning nearly 2 million pounds of coal, or 200,000 gallons of gasoline.
  • Put another way, this is like switching 63,000 incandescent bulbs to LEDs, or the equivalent amount of carbon sequestered by 1,700 acres of forest in one year. 

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Testimonials from U Drive Electric participants can be found at utahev.org

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City Continues Efforts to Reduce Emissions with New Electric Vehicles

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With ongoing air quality problems, the City continues efforts to reduce its overall emissions. Seven new, all-electric vehicles are being added to the City’s fleet this year, replacing older, fossil fuel-burning vehicles and helping to achieve aggressive emission reduction goals set by Mayor Becker. Salt Lake City has a total of 224 clean vehicles as part of its fleet, including clean diesel, CNG, all-electric and hybrid-electric options.  Since 2009, the percentage of clean fleet vehicles operated by the City has grown from just over 2% to more than 15% of the total fleet.  The City has historically focused on integrating hybrid-electric vehicles, with 120 of these in the current fleet, but new all-electric sedans represent an even greater air quality benefit due to zero tailpipe emissions.

“Our program to carefully assess emissions and local air pollutant impacts, as part of the cost-to-own analysis for fleet purchases, is paying dividends,” said Mayor Becker. “We weigh these factors to produce outcomes that mitigate climate and air quality impacts and save taxpayer resources.”

Salt Lake City currently operates public EV charging stations at six separate locations.  The City recently received a $200,000 grant from the Utah Division of Air Quality to expand public charging options and will use these funds to install 25 new charging ports throughout the City.

Residents can review, and weigh-in on, the City’s work to reduce its overall carbon footprint via the Sustainable City Dashboard tool, here.

Salt Lake City Debuts All-Electric Parking Enforcement Vehicles!

By Ryan Anderson, SLCgreen intern

(Originally published on the Utah Clean Cities blog. We thank them for helping support this initiative!)

The Salt Lake City Compliance Division has a colorful, new addition to their Parking Enforcement fleet. Four all-electric Chevrolet Bolts have replaced old JEEP Wranglers to deliver financial savings and notable pollution reductions.

Chevy Bolt Compliance 1

Salt Lake City’s new all-electric Chevy Bolts help the City reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and meet our Climate Positive goals.

“It’s important that we lead by example and demonstrate how electric vehicles offer a reliable, safe and efficient alternative to gas-powered cars,” stated Greg Fieseler, Compliance Division Field Supervisor. “The electric cars are fun to drive too!”

Greg acknowledged there was initially some skepticism among staff that the new EVs would prove viable as fleet vehicles. That skepticism has been replaced by enthusiasm as the electric cars are now “the preferred choice” for most employees.

Compliance has been able to seamlessly integrate these vehicles without any modifications to routes or other significant operational changes.  Even with 90 degree-plus heat throughout July and the A/C running for most of the day, the 200-plus mile range of the Bolts has allowed officers to complete their daily routes with energy to spare. Read more

Check out our new electric vehicle page

We’re excited to announce a new electric vehicle page on slc.gov!

Electric vehicles can improve our health and our economy. That’s why electrification of our transportation system is an important focus of SLCgreen’s activities. EVs are one of the most important tools for cleaning our air, improving the health of our citizens, strengthening our economy, and reducing our carbon footprint.

Market projections show that electric vehicles sales are increasing, and will soon take over as the standard form of single-passenger travel in the U.S.

In Salt Lake City, we hope to be ahead of the curve for electric vehicle adoption, as we know how much it benefits the health of our citizens and strengthens our economy.

With support from the City Council and Mayor Biskupski, we have installed a number of SLC Corporation owned and operated charging stations throughout the city. We are also committed to cleaning up our energy grid, making EVs an even cleaner option!

We are working hard to provide comprehensive and accessible information for SLC residents on electric transportation. You may have heard our interns talking about EVs at community events, and we write about EVs on our blog a lot! However, we felt it was time to provide a one-stop-shop for EV information.

Enter slcgreen.com/ev.

Check out www.slcgreen.com/ev to see all the great information we put together on electric vehicles.

On this page, you will find our Electric Transportation Roadmap, how EVs help the environment, charging information, links to our partner organizations, and more.  We hope all our readers will understand why swift EV adoption is an important part of our initiatives after visiting our webpage.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office with questions, concerns, or comments about electrified transportation in Salt Lake City. You can find us at slcgreen@slcgov.com.

EVs are a key part of our commitment to a healthier, cleaner, and more equitable city.

Spread the word by visiting slcgreen.com/ev and sharing the link!

Salt Lake City Unveils 8 New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Mayor Jackie Biskupski “unveils” the latest electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Salt Lake City, April 22, 2019.

Salt Lake City recently unveiled the latest electric vehicle (EV) public charging infrastructure.

These stations increase the total number of City-owned public EV charging ports to 38 plus 16 at the Airport, and complement an even more robust charging network available throughout the city.

The newest Level 2 EV charging ports opened last month at three separate Salt Lake City locations: Mountain Dell Golf Course, the Regional Athletic Complex, and on-street parking on 500 South, just south of The Leonardo.

“Electrifying transportation is one of the most meaningful ways we can tackle air quality problems in the Salt Lake Valley,” said Mayor Biskupski. “The City applauds the many residents and businesses investing in electric vehicles and is pleased to offer charging opportunities for these clean air champions.”

Funding for the project was provided in part by a grant from the Utah Division of Air Quality, building off the initial installation of 28 ports in 2017.

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Salt Lake City Co-Hosts Electric Vehicle Charging Workshop for Local Governments

by Ryan Anderson, SLCgreen intern, and Tyler Poulson

Salt Lake City Sustainability recently helped host a workshop at the Utah Division of Air Quality to educate a diverse range of local government leaders on electric vehicle charger site selection, installation, and management.

EV DEQ Workshop

Attendees at the electric vehicle charging infrastructure workshop | Sept 20, 2018

In partnership with Leaders for Clean Air, Rocky Mountain Power, Utah Clean Cities, and the Utah Division of Air Quality, we engaged dozens of representatives from local governments, plus staff from higher-education institutions, companies, and non-profits on how to build  a robust charging network while leveraging local incentives.

Salt Lake City’s Climate Positive 2040 goal of Clean Transportation requires swift electric vehicle adoption throughout the region. Our recently published Electrified Transportation Roadmap highlights opportunities to support EVs which reduce local air pollutants along the Wasatch Front up to 99% relative to gasoline vehicles.

Fortunately, broader trends suggest a move to electrified transportation. Electric vehicles are expected to make up 55% of global new car sales in just a couple decades and by planning ahead and installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) we can make that transition as smooth as possible. Read more

Electric Vehicle Registration Fees May Skyrocket

Do you drive an electric or hybrid vehicle? Do you breathe the air along the Wasatch Front?

If either of those are true, we encourage you to pay attention to the “Transportation Governance Amendments Bill (SB0136)” going through the state legislature.

It is rapidly making its way through the session and, as of February 13, will be heard by the full Senate in the coming days, followed by the House of Representatives.

Overall, we support the bill because of the many good things it would do for funding public transit and road improvements.  You can read more via the Salt Lake Tribune.

However, the bill also proposes significant increases in the annual vehicle registration fees for all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, which are troubling.

We encourage you to learn about the bill and contact your elected officials if you’re concerned about the high fees proposed on electric vehicles– a stymie to clearing the air– even though the bill offers other positive changes.

For an all-electric vehicle, your annual registration fee would increase from $44 to $194.

For a hybrid, the fee would jump from $44 to $65. For all other vehicles, the fees remain at $44.

It is only electric vehicles that are being targeted for annual increases. Read more

Salt Lake Leaders Celebrate Utah’s Largest Electric Vehicle Charging Installation

This Tuesday, local business Packsize International unveiled its new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its Salt Lake City campus.

The site now hosts 52 total EV charging ports, including two fast-charge stations, making it the largest charging installation in Utah.

And the best news is that the stations will be available for use at no financial cost both to Packsize employees and the general public. 

Rocky Mountain Power awarded Packsize International with a $111,280 incentive check to offset the cost of the Level 2 electric vehicle chargers. These EV incentives are available to any Utah company that wants to install charging infrastructure! 

Packsize is a leader in sustainability and forging solutions to our local air quality problems.  It spearheaded the creation of a non-profit, Leaders for Clean Air, in 2015 to encourage businesses to install charging infrastructure. Because vehicles are the largest source of wintertime air pollution and EVs have no tailpipe emissions, incentivizing employees to make the switch to an electric vehicle by offering workplace charging is a tangible way businesses can get involved in promoting better air quality.

Leaders for Clean Air now has an alliance of dozens of businesses and has helped catalyze the installation of 184 workplace EV charging stations in the last two years.

At the ribbon cutting, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, along with other Leaders for Clean Air founding members, provided updates on the clean air advancements and future goals for Salt Lake’s airshed. Leaders for Clean Air also presented a charging unit to Attorney General Sean Reyes, who spoke at the event.

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Mayor Biskupski and Rep. Patrice Arent, Clean Air Caucus founder & Chair, demonstrate how to use a new Level 2 EV charging unit at Packsize’s campus.

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“Live Electric” EV & E-Bike Discounts Through Sept. 30

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Do you hate bad air days? We do too. Luckily, there are more and more options for cleaner transportation in Salt Lake City from Ride With Hive to the Live Electric EV & E-Bike discount program, a deal worth looking into if you have ever considered purchasing an electric vehicle.

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