Federal Infrastructure Package will provide billions of dollars for electric vehicles

Federal Infrastructure Package will provide billions of dollars for electric vehicles

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed the $1.2T Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – better known as the Federal Infrastructure Package – which will provide billions of dollars for electric vehicles, including:

  • $7.5B for a national electric vehicle (EV) charging network
  • $2.5B for zero-emission-only school buses
  • $2.5B for zero-emission and low-emission school buses
  • $6.1B domestic battery manufacturing and recycling, and
  • $65B for electric grid upgrades (to support renewable energy development)

Although this list is not comprehensive of everything included in the Bill, Wisconsin can expect to receive $79M over five years to develop an electric vehicle charging network and be eligible to apply for the $2.5B in grant funding dedicated to electric vehicle charging stations.

Considering that a lack of public charging has been the primary barrier to electric vehicle adoption in the U.S. – especially in Wisconsin – the influx of funds for charging stations will likely result in a boon to the EV market.

Looking forward, to avoid stranded assets and ensure the likelihood of use, Wisconsin should consider a strategic deployment of public charging stations. Planning should include modeling that views EV penetration rates and market data, the volume of traffic data, potential station costs per site, and other relevant information, similar to Michigan’s method for developing its Charge Up Michigan program. Doing so will minimize total investment costs of stations – especially for site hosts and other stakeholders – ensure the feasibility of intercity and intracity electric vehicle trips, and contribute to better grid management.

And speaking of investment, don’t forget that Wisconsin’s slated $79M in funding for electric vehicle charging stations could result in a five-fold return on investment, in addition to a $2.60 private investment for every $1 of public dollars spent on transportation electrification measures. In other words, the $79M investment could result in a five-fold return of $395M, with an additional $205,400,000 in private investments. These numbers don’t include the economic benefits of potential jobs created in a vastly expanding transportation electrification sector.  Wisconsin may also receive federal monies from domestic battery manufacturing, zero-emission vehicles, the Build Back Better Act, or other federal and state clean energy programs.

This bill is a huge win for Wisconsin, and it will go a long way to advance our clean energy transition. Wisconsin will get the most “bang for its buck” if we are purposeful and precise in our planning.

Clean Energy Takes Front Row Seat at Renewable Energy Day at the Capitol

Clean Energy Takes Front Row Seat at Renewable Energy Day at the Capitol

On October 13, RENEW Wisconsin and Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WCEF) hosted their first-ever Renewable Energy Day at the Capitol in Madison. The event included issue briefings by industry experts on a variety of legislation that has been introduced this year related to the solar and electric vehicle industries. Attendees then went to the State Capitol to speak with their legislators to gain support for these important issues.

During a welcome reception, the evening before the Day at the Capitol,  RENEW and WCEF held a panel discussion “Energy in Transition: Policy and Politics.”

From right to left were moderator, Scott Coenen (WCEF), Dan Ebert (former PSC Chairman), Senator Rob Cowles, Larry Ward (Conservative Energy Network), and Jim Boullion (RENEW Wisconsin).

The panel discussed the current uncertainty in world energy markets and the impact that energy shortages and spiking prices will have on the world. There was consensus from the conversation that panelists believe renewables can help stabilize much of this energy uncertainty, but that the industry needs to be realistic about its role in a world where supply is not meeting demand. Businesses, households, and communities in Wisconsin should be empowered to invest in their own energy generation. 

Before attendees went to the Capitol to meet with their legislators, there was an issue briefing with a panel of industry experts moderated by Jim Boullion, Director of Government Affairs for RENEW Wisconsin. The panelists explained in detail what legislative proposals were currently before the legislature, how they will impact renewable energy in Wisconsin, and what arguments are being made on both sides of the issue. 

Issue briefing panelists, Left to right: Jason Mugnaini (Chief of Staff, State Senator Rob Cowles), James Fenley (SJL Government Affairs & Communications), Peter Lund (Financial Structuring Associate, Nautilus Solar Energy), and Amy Heart (Senior Director, Public Policy, Sunrun).

The first panel discussed two solar-related issues: 

  • Expanded Development of Community Solar – (SB 490 / AB 527 – Sen. Stroebel and Rep. Ramthun)  This bill would authorize the development of non-utility owned community solar projects and provide access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar for those who can’t afford the full cost of a system, live in multi-family housing, or own property that is not suitable for solar. 
  • 3rd Party Financing/Leasing – (LRB 1550/1 Sen. Cowles and Rep. Cabral-Guevara) This legislation would clarify that 3rd party financing/leasing of renewable energy equipment is legal in Wisconsin, providing affordable financing options for people, businesses, municipalities, or not-for-profit entities who don’t have the resources to pay for solar on their own property.
Learn more about how to support these two bills at www.wisolarcoaliton.com.

 

The second panel, moderated by RENEW’s Jeremy Orr, Emerging Technology Program Manager, discussed electric vehicle issues such as Wisconsin’s recent Direct Electric Vehicle Sales legislation, SB 462 / AB 439  (Sen. Kooyenga and Rep. Neylon)Albert Gore, Policy and Business Development at Tesla, discussed how allowing manufacturers to sell electric vehicles directly to consumers creates greater access to the electric vehicle market, resulting in growth in the traditional dealership model. Read Jeremy Orr’s previous testimony on this issue here.

Likewise, Justin Ackley, Public Policy Manager at ChargePoint, spoke to the business clarity and consumer transparency that AB 588 / SB 573  (Sen. Cowles and Rep. VanderMeer) would provide, as it would allow non-utility-owned charging stations to charge by the kWh. Similar to a gas pump, where the price per gallon is displayed, kWh charging tells electric owners how much energy they’re paying for, regardless of how long it takes to charge their vehicle. The panel pointed out that while the main goal of this legislation is good, another section of it would create problems by prohibiting charging a fee if any of the electricity going through the EV charger comes from a non-utility source such as a solar+storage system.

Emerging technology allows EV chargers to be installed in areas, especially rural areas, that have inadequate grid infrastructure and can help limit costly spikes in energy “demand charges” for charging station owners. EnTech, a division of Faith Technologies based in Menasha, Wisconsin brought one of their portable solar+storage units to Capitol Square to demonstrate how the technology works and how flexible it can be. A similar system was set up at  Bergstrom Ford in Neenah to help reduce the energy bills at their dealership. John Bergstrom, the owner of the dealership, told the story of why he worked with Faith Technologies to install the system in this podcast. 

 

The panel closed the session by discussing two other bills recently introduced by Sen. Rob Cowles:

  • $10 million in VW Settlement Funds for EV Charging Station Grants – (LRB-0254/1 Sen. Cowles and Rep. VanderMeer) Grants from these funds would be used to install electric vehicle charging stations at key locations throughout Wisconsin.
  • Energy Storage Sales Tax Exemption – (LRB-1513/1) – Sen. Cowles and Rep. Duchow) This legislation would clarify that battery storage devices installed as part of a renewable energy system should be included in the sales tax exemption that already exists for renewable energy system equipment.

The 75 registered attendees made an impact by taking time out of their busy lives and getting involved in the political process. None of these issues will be easy to pass. In fact, most of them face significant opposition from powerful forces. But working together and building coalitions with pro-renewable energy friends helps get important legislation like this adopted.  

If you would like to learn what you can do to help as well, contact Jim Boullion, Director of Government Relations at jim@renewwisconsin.org.

Wisconsin Awarded $1 Million for Electric Vehicle Planning

Wisconsin Awarded $1 Million for Electric Vehicle Planning

On Thursday, October 21st, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration awarded the State of Wisconsin a $1 million Statewide Economic Development Planning Grant, via the American Rescue Plan, for statewide electric vehicle (EV) adoption initiatives. The grant program is aligned with the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better Agenda to increase U.S. competitiveness and boost the economy.

Wisconsin’s Department of Administration (DOA), in collaboration with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), will administer the grant funds, which will focus on end-user demand, as well as EV charging station planning and EV manufacturing supply chain opportunities. 

The funding will also supplement work already underway by the Wisconsin Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy, which is developing a statewide Wisconsin Clean Energy Plan to implement advanced vehicle technologies like electric vehicles to address Wisconsin’s transportation emissions. The Office is also leading efforts on the newly released Regional Electric Vehicle (REV) Midwest MoU, which will focus on medium and heavy-duty transportation electrification across a five-state region in the Upper Midwest, as well as the Lake Michigan Electric Vehicle Circuit, which will create a light-duty electric vehicle corridor around Lake Michigan.

The potential economic growth and job creation from the grant could be substantial. Aside from creating pathways to reduce Wisconsin’s transportation emissions, the $1 million in public funds could spur a five-fold return on investment and job creation, in addition to $2.60 in private investments for every $1 of public investment spent. This means that the $1 million public investment for electric vehicle initiatives has a potential total return of $7.6 million for Wisconsin’s economic growth and job creation.

Wisconsin Businesses call for Federal Clean Energy Investment to Drive Jobs and Economy

Wisconsin Businesses call for Federal Clean Energy Investment to Drive Jobs and Economy

Thirty-one Wisconsin businesses signed a letter supporting ambitious clean energy investments and broad interest in the American Jobs Plan. The signatories, representing higher education institutions, local governments, and biogas, solar, finance, and electric vehicle industries, are committed to “advancing the clean energy economy, building family-sustaining jobs, and expanding economic opportunities for Wisconsinites.”

The letter states, “Wisconsin’s cumulative solar capacity more than doubled in the past year and is anticipated to quintuple in the next 3-5 years. Wisconsin’s clean energy workforce is 76,000 strong, and solar and advanced transportation jobs proved remarkably resilient even during the economic upheaval of 2020.” Investing in these sectors can create jobs and opportunities for Wisconsin to become a clean energy leader in the Midwest.

The electric vehicle sector is a key focus of the American Jobs Plan and an area where Wisconsin has tremendous opportunity to invest. Recent studies and RENEW’s analysis suggest that the federal stimulus funds spent on transportation electrification will yield a 500% return on investment.

Corry Bullis of U.S. FLO said that “Given President Biden’s goal to deploy 500,000 charging stations by 2030, FLO is expanding its manufacturing footprint to meet increasing demand in the U.S and support its climate and air quality goals. Incentives, as outlined by the American Jobs Plan, will be critical to delivering on this promise. We urge Congress to pass an infrastructure package as soon as possible.”

Wisconsin’s solar job market held steady throughout the pandemic. The industry continues to advance, and local job opportunities are growing rapidly, signaling clean energy investments are a bipartisan solution to growing Wisconsin’s economy and advancing careers for local workers.

Ed Zinthefer, an owner of Arch Electric based in Plymouth, WI, says, “More homeowners and businesses are saving money and supporting local jobs in their neighborhoods by going solar.  We are busier than ever, growing and hiring and building more clean energy projects. It’s a great time to get into clean energy in Wisconsin.”

Even as the renewable energy markets are growing, there is an urgent need to drive investment and expand our workforce. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, the solar industry is on a trajectory to reach 400,000 solar jobs by 2030. However, employment will need to exceed 900,000 workers by 2035 to reach President Biden’s 100% clean electricity goal.

Sign your name to support federal investment in clean jobs here in Wisconsin!

An Unexpected EV Journey

An Unexpected EV Journey

Guest Blog by Andy Phelps
Andy Phelps is a local philanthropist who believes in electric vehicles. Recently, he and his family took a trip Up North with their all-electric Chevy Bolt. Continue reading to learn how Andy and his family overcame range anxiety and found charging stations on their trip.

A road trip in an EV? “Someday!” I’ve always said. We love our EV and use it every day, but until now I’ve always assumed that if I took off on a thousand-mile trip, my old gasoline-eating station wagon would be the practical way to go. I know that some folks plan trips from one “destination charger” to the next, but what about my Chevy Bolt? Could we use it for a serious itinerary, with places to go and things to do?

My sister-in-law is a serious photographer, so when she came to visit Wisconsin, we loaded up our car for a meticulously planned trip around the state. We figured we’d use our old Volvo wagon, of course, and weighed it down with suitcases, cooler, lawn chairs, and a giant bag of photography equipment. So four of us — my sister-in-law, my wife, my adult daughter, and I — embarked on our adventure.

And got exactly half a block.

With “Brake Failure” displaying on Volvo’s dashboard, we faced a dilemma. Our first destination, a Clydesdale farm, had pre-paid tickets and an inflexible start time. Switch to renting a car? Unlikely to still be able to make our first deadline. Take the trip anyway in a car that’s claiming “brake failure”? My wife seemed to think that was an unwise way to start a thousand-mile journey.

So, we packed everything into the EV.

First victory: It fit! Well, we downsized to a smaller cooler. But I was astounded that our Bolt carried about as much gear as our gas-eater. Plus, we added the level-1 charge cord and threw in an extension cord for luck. I guess the cargo area goes deep since there’s no gas tank underneath it.

But now, the enormity of it: Start a trip in an EV, when we hadn’t pre-planned charger locations or anything? We decided to just take off and go, and think about that once we were on the road.

We didn’t even start with a “full tank”. We regularly use the car’s “hilltop reserve” setting, which only charges to the 90% point. But we knew that our first destination was within range, and we had pre-paid tickets and a deadline and off we went. Someone driving, someone navigating, and someone googling “best apps for finding EV chargers”. PlugShare and others were soon downloading as we drove. We were also soon experimenting with searching Google Maps for chargers, something I hadn’t even known about. (Not every app shows every charger!)

We actually made it with lots of time to spare, so we had a little picnic by the side of a pleasant country road before the start of our visit. We were happy we’d still had room for those folding chairs! I’m pleased that weighing down the car with four people and all that luggage doesn’t hurt our mileage. The mile-per-kilowatt-hour number depends on speed and wind and whether or not the windows are down, but, unlike a gas car, it does not really depend on how heavy we are! We stayed above 4 miles per kWh, here and on most of the trip.

Unsurprisingly, there are no level 2 chargers at the horse farm, and as we left after our tour, we planned our next move. Overall, our first day’s driving would total 167 miles, which we could probably make on our remaining charge (despite starting without a full battery). But we realized that we might not be able to get any charge that night, so we wanted some extra juice so we wouldn’t arrive empty. Luckily, there are level 3 chargers in Appleton, not at all off our route to Brillion, Wisconsin. While much of northern Wisconsin is a vast desert in terms of DC fast chargers we could use, Appleton turns out to have two of them. We found our way to the back of a Bergstrom auto dealership, plugged in, and relaxed at a beautiful pond and fountain that the dealership had installed.

Level 1, 2, and 3 chargers all have their uses! All were indispensable on this trip.

So, how long to stay charging in Appleton? There was no need to try to fill up all the way, and also, fast chargers slow down as you get over 80% full. Getting to Collins Marsh and then back to our hotel in Brillion wouldn’t require that much additional charge. But with no level 2 or 3 chargers in Brillion and more miles to go the next day, we didn’t want to roll into Brillion on an empty battery. So, taking advantage of the DC charger while we were there, we stayed for over an hour.

(We got a cheery text from our other daughter — “Have fun in Appleton!” Turns out my phone was logged into her ChargePoint account. No worries; she’ll bill me for it.)  🙂

The price of the charger went up after the first hour, from $6 an hour to $25 an hour. We considered moving to Appleton’s other DC fast charger after the first hour but decided that we weren’t breaking the bank with another few minutes at the higher rate. We actually ended up with a total of an hour and a half, adding what the car claimed would be another 100 miles of range.

Then, bidding farewell to our shady rest stop at the pond, we headed on toward Collins Marsh and Brillion.

A lot of our driving this trip was at 55 or 60 mph on scenic rural highways, but part was on 70 mph interstates. It turns out that the allure of speed is a bad idea. Since EVs are so efficient in other ways, wind resistance is a big part of the energy used, and the energy loss from wind resistance goes up disproportionately. Going from 55 mph to 70 mph can lose you a third of your range! And in situations where you have to periodically recharge, any time you gained by zipping along at 70 is just lost again taking longer at a charger. So, my compromise: I set the cruise at 62 mph, and was happy with the range and the speed.

And, keep the windows up! We did some experiments as we went, and it was striking to see that it was much more efficient on the highway to roll up the windows and use air conditioning than it was to roll down the windows and become un-aerodynamic.

We arrived at our hotel that night with charge to spare, but still a long way from full.  We cast our eyes around outside of our hotel, and sure enough, there was an ordinary electrical outlet on a light post. We asked at the office and were told sure, we could plugin. A level 1 charge isn’t fast, but overnight, definitely worth it.

There are two speeds for level 1 charge in a Bolt: 8-amp and 12-amp. Not knowing what all other loads might be on the circuit, we went for the default 8-amp setting. This adds roughly 4 miles of range per hour of charge.  After our overnight stay, our car claimed it was up to 60% charged, and 138 miles of range.

This “miles of range” display bothers me. Of course, no one knows how far I can go on a given charge since it depends on speed and weather and wind and mountains and everything else. For example, if I’d been puttering around town at low speeds, but then I were about to start a trip on a freeway, its estimate will be way off, and I know better than the car does that my mileage won’t be the same as what I’ve been getting. I wish the car would also tell me just how much charge it has in the battery. It does have a bar graph, but it’s pretty coarse, and only increments every 5% (i.e. 3 kWh), and even then doesn’t always update exactly when it ought to.

If you start with a full charge, you can use the “kWh used since last full charge” display, which gives you a much clearer view of the car’s idea of its charge level (showing every 0.1 kWh). But once you start doing partial charges, this becomes much less useful, and it’s back to the bar graph.

Day 2: Brillion to Door County. This is a total of 94 miles, plus a few small side trips. We went first to Sturgeon Bay, where we went to a visitor’s center, the Maritime Museum, the ship canal and lighthouses, and lunch. The visitor’s center had a free level 2 charger, and so did downtown Sturgeon Bay, where we picked up a nice 25 miles of bonus range. That’s an EV-welcoming city!

Then, on to Sister Bay. We stayed for four nights at a vacation home, using it as a base for smaller trips around the area. The extension cord we brought along came in handy, and we could plug in from the front porch of the villa. Should we use 8 or 12 amps? While it seemed fine for 12 (no other loads on the front-porch circuit), I figured 8 was sufficient given how long we’d be there. Each night we’d gain 50 miles or so, and each day we’d spend some of them on trips to neighboring towns. We didn’t seek out any level 2 chargers there, though we did grab some free charge at a nature center, just because it was right there. On our last night, I went ahead and set the level 1 charge to 12 amps so we’d finally get all the way to a full charge by the time we left in the morning.

So the morning of Day 6 was the first time that entire trip (even the beginning) where we were at 100% charge! Good thing, since we had some miles to drive.

We were now headed to the other side of the state. Our itinerary had two days planned: Sister Bay to Wausau, which is 170 miles, then Wausau to Bayfield, another 191 miles. We picked a spot for a lunch stop where we could park at a level 2 charger. But still, we knew we’d like a full recharge in Wausau, so we switched hotels (the only change we made to our itinerary) to a hotel that was across the street from a charger. If we’d needed to, we could have left the car at the charger all night, but actually, by bedtime, we had already completely charged our battery.

Day 7, on to Bayfield. We could have made it on one charge at a pinch, but we didn’t want to arrive on empty. We were going through a town where Harley-Davidson had installed a charger, so we added a bit of charge there while we visited a church service that happened to be going on across the street. Later that day, we found a charger in downtown Ironwood to park at while we ate lunch at a Chinese restaurant. So all in all we arrived at Bayfield with almost half a charge left.

At our cottage in Bayfield, we were pleasantly surprised to find a dedicated 20-amp outlet right next to where we parked our car, so we got a 12-amp charge all night for both nights we were there. Still, level 1 being what it is, we weren’t going to get quite a full charge that way, so we bought ourselves some ice cream and enjoyed a break at a nearby retreat center, sitting at a level 2 charger. A little math says that 30 minutes of 7.6 kilowatts of level 2 charge saves you over 2 1/2 hours of 1.5 kilowatts from a 12-amp level 1 charge, so we knew we’d be able to finish our charge overnight and be able to get an early start in the morning.

When doing the math to figure out charge times, it’s pretty easy to get an approximate number of how long it will take. A basic level 1 charge is 1 kW, so in an hour, that will add 1 kW-hour to the battery. Almost. Actually, I figure something like 90% of what goes in actually stays in, so it’s best to figure on adding 10% slop. So say I wanted to add another quarter of a ‘tank’, and I wanted to know how long I’d need to charge. On a Bolt a full ‘tank’ is 60 kW-hours, so a quarter of that is 15 kW-hours. Using a 7.6 kW Level 2 charger, I’d divide 15 by 7.6 to get approximately 2 hours of charging time. It will take a little longer because of the aforementioned slop, and it will also take longer if you’re trying to charge the battery to the top because the charging slows down when the battery gets close to full. (And why won’t the car just tell me when it’s added 15 kWh? Only on level 3 chargers does it give me a running commentary on how much is in the battery).

Type of charge kilowatts (kW) Charge added per hour (assuming 10% overhead)

Miles of range added per hour

(assume 4 miles per kWh)

 

Level 1

(120 volts)

 

1.0

(using the 8 amp setting)

0.9 kWh 3½ miles

1.5

(using the 12 amp setting)

1.4 kWh 5½ miles

 

Level 2

(240 volts)

7

(some typical chargers)

6.3 kWh 25 miles

7.6

(max level 2 my Bolt will take)

6.8 kWh 27 miles

 

Level 3

(DC fast charge)

25

(many slower level 3 chargers)

22½ kWh 90 miles

55

(max level 3 my Bolt will take)

50 kWh

(but only until it starts to slow down)

180 miles

(but only until it starts to slow down)

 

Day 9:  Drive to Duluth, including scenic byways. Up to 180 miles were planned for this day, so it’s good we had a full charge. We grabbed some level 2 charge at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. (Thanks to my daughter who persevered in figuring out how to navigate the downtown streets to get there; Google Maps had failed me.) When we got to the hotel that night, we were pleasantly surprised by electrical outlets by a dozen or so of the parking spaces. I suppose they had actually intended them for engine block heaters. After our several hours at the railroad museum plus our overnight at 12-amp level 1, we were fully charged again.

Day 10: Drive to Eau Claire. 157 miles. And with another long drive the next day, we were pleased to see that Eau Claire has a level 3 charger — in fact a whole bevy of them at Walmart. I’m not always a huge Walmart person but in EV charging they are outstanding — not a wimpy 25 kW level 3 charger like we’ve sometimes used, not even a 50 kW which pretty much is all a Bolt will take, but 350 kW! We charged at 50 kW up to where it was 80% full (where the charge is slowing down) and spent the night at a hotel without bothering to hunt for outlets. The next day we drove around to some local destinations, so we then charged back up to 80% at the same Walmart again before the drive home.

Back to Madison! We went a total of 1319 miles. If we had taken our Volvo, which gets 24 mpg, that would have been 55 gallons of mid-grade gasoline, which would have cost $176. As it was, the cost of electricity was only $23 ($21 of that in Appleton). Most of the chargers were free.

You’d think we’d be done, but actually, we only had a couple of days to regroup before we headed off to our last destination — relaxing at a cabin on a lake outside of Eagle River, Wisconsin. It’s unlikely we could have gotten the Volvo’s brakes fixed in that short gap, even if we had wanted to, but actually at this point, we had no desire to switch back to our dinosaur-juice-burning ICE-car. (It’s so last century!)

So we headed north again, first to a visit in Keshena, and then on to Eagle River. Once again we needed to pick up a little charge on the way, and, lo and behold, Appleton was on our path again, and we got to visit that nice pond and fountain for another driving break. We calculated how much charge we needed to arrive with a 15% (9 kWh) buffer, and indeed, as we drove to our destination (after a diversion in search of a Dairy Queen) the dashboard was starting to show an orange warning message that indeed we were right about at that mark.

The cabin by the lake had no level 2 charger (though I hear they’re going to put one in!). I’d thought it would be easy to just plug into the cabin, but it had no outside outlets, and the screens on the windows were important to leave in place as mosquito defense. But there was a well-house with a nice outlet good for a 12-amp charge, and my extension cord came in handy again. (My extension cord is thin enough it gets a little warm with 12 amps, but not warm enough to worry me as long as it wasn’t bunched up or confined.)

Moving the car to be closer to the well house, off-roading through the rain-soaked leaves, I miscalculated and got the car stuck in the mud, spinning its wheels. Luckily a shovel was handy, and some friendly folks from adjacent cabins helped me push the Bolt back to solid ground.

I’d thought it would be a piece a cake to charge up when we were staying six nights in one place, but between day trips, and a whole series of thunderstorms (it seemed a bad idea to be plugged in outside during a north-woods thunderstorm), it wasn’t until the last night that we got back to a completely full charge.

Going back to Madison involved a long enough trip that we stopped for lunch and a hike in Wausau since we already knew about the free level 2 charger across from the last trip’s hotel.

We rolled into our driveway fairly low but not showing any orange warnings. It was good to be back to where I can plug in every night in my own garage. But I was pleased to know that I can travel around the state in my EV whenever I please.

Some final thoughts

Traveling with an electric car is a little like traveling with a dog. It can be fun, but you do have to think about it. If you’re going to stop for a break and some refreshment, is your dog (or your car) also going to get its needs met as well? Are you spending the night somewhere that’s friendly to your dog or your car?

Not everyone is into this. Someone recently compared it to being “an early explorer in the Sahara, trying to rely on sketchy maps to find enough watering holes to stay alive, never knowing if the next water is dried up, or poisonous, or not really there at all”. My own experience was positive, but it also helped that I was biased toward a spirit of adventure.

I look forward to the day when every place that one can spend the night has level 2 chargers for an overnight fill-up. Whether you’re a hotel or a vacation rental or a campground, please, just put in a level 2 charger (or two or three) — it’s not that expensive. For now, the hard part for the driver is figuring out not only how to make it to the next destination, but to be prepared to begin the next day’s journey as well when you may not have gotten an overnight charge.

The world is already changing, and chargers are getting easier to find. New EVs have longer ranges and faster charging times. In some ways, Europe is ahead, with level 2 chargers that are three times the power of what I was using! Businesses are catching on, investments are being made. It won’t be long before a trip like mine will hardly be an adventure at all.

Proposed legislation would grow clean vehicle market in Wisconsin

Proposed legislation would grow clean vehicle market in Wisconsin

Did you know Wisconsin is one of over a dozen states that currently does not allow direct sales of electric vehicles?

This week, I had the opportunity to provide testimony – alongside Tesla, Lucid, and other industry experts – explaining RENEW Wisconsin’s support of Senate Bill 462, which would allow direct sales of electric vehicles in Wisconsin.

This is an important and much-needed step towards electric vehicle (EV) expansion in Wisconsin, as it removes market barriers and allows consumers greater access to EVs that better suit their financial and driving needs.

This legislation also ensures Wisconsin does not get left behind in the electric vehicle marketplace.  It has the potential to bring jobs to Wisconsin by opening the door for companies like Fisker, Rivian, Lucid, and Tesla to both manufacture and sell EVs directly in Wisconsin. As Henrik Fisker, CEO and Co-Founder of Fisker, Inc., recently said in Forbes: “The one sticking point for me would be that I don’t want to start producing a car in a state where I can’t sell my car direct.”

And if you’re worried about direct sales putting dealerships out of business, research shows that in states that currently allow direct sales of electric vehicles, the traditional dealership model experienced 52% sales growth and 18% employment growth (higher than the national average).

However, in states that do not currently allow direct sales, the sales and employment growth of the traditional dealership model is lower than the national average and much lower than in states that do allow it.

Senate Bill 462 is about diversifying Wisconsin’s auto industry and Wisconsin’s economy.  In 2020, 45% of electric vehicles purchased by Wisconsinites were purchased in-state, and 55% were purchased out-of-state. That’s 55% in lost sales revenue due to an out-of-state electric vehicle purchase!

The chart illustrates the projected growth in electric vehicle adoption in Wisconsin based on Bloomberg’s EV Outlook 2021 (analysis conducted by Robin Lisowski of Slipstream Aug 2021).

Passage of this legislation would let consumers decide for themselves, how they want to shop for and purchase an electric vehicle. As Kathy Harris from NRDC puts it “Let Drivers Buy Clean Cars.”