Did You Miss the Earth Day Electric Vehicle Parade?

Last Thursday (April 22), RENEW Wisconsin partnered with the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change and Slipstream on the 2nd Annual Earth Day Electric Vehicle (EV) Parade. 

Several dozen EV owners and car dealers gathered in Madison with an assortment of all-electric vehicles, hybrids, and electric motorcycles, including the new Ford Mustang Mach-E, BMW Roadster, and the Harley LiveWire Motorcycle, amongst other makes and models. 

Parade participants started at Brittingham Park in Madison, drove through the city and Capitol Square, and then returned to Brittingham Park. You can watch the parade on Channel 3000.com.

The parade was inspired by EV drivers who see the transition to electric vehicles as another tool in the fight against climate change. Other EV owners mentioned that EVs are fun to drive and even stand up to the challenges of Wisconsin’s cold winters!

For more information about the parade or upcoming electric vehicle events, please contact Jeremy Orr at (608) 210-1428 or jeremy@renewwisconsin.org.

Funding Opportunity Announcement: $162 Million to Decarbonize Transportation

Funding Opportunity Announcement: $162 Million to Decarbonize Transportation

The Department of Energy recently announced $162 Million in grant funding to electrify medium- and heavy-duty trucks, expand electric vehicle infrastructure, and increase vehicle efficiency.  This funding is an important step towards EV adoption, decarbonization, and emerging technologies in general. The programs will help to electrify transportation while allowing enough flexibility for project applicants to focus on different low emissions concepts that suit their communities.

$100 Million in SuperTruck 3 Funding

The Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) and Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office are partnering on the “SuperTruck 3” funding opportunity, which will provide up to $100 million to electrify medium- and heavy-duty truck projects that increase vehicle efficiency and decrease emissions. The funding will be available over four years and can be used for:

  • All-electric vehicle concepts
  • Hybrid systems using renewable biofuels
  • Hydrogen fuel cell technologies and hybrid concepts such as fuel cell range extenders

$62 Million for Low Greenhouse Gas Vehicle Technologies

In addition to SuperTruck 3 funding, the Vehicle Technologies Office is offering $62 Million for on- and off-road vehicle projects that reduce emissions and increase vehicle efficiency. Eligible activities include the expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and community-level projects that reduce barriers to EV adoption, such as the installation of EV charging stations at multi-family dwellings.

Concept papers are due May 13, 2021, at 5 PM EST, with full applications due July 12, 2021, at 5 PM EST. Applicants for both funding opportunities are required to submit a plan detailing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, including project benefits for underrepresented communities.

For more information, please visit the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange.

Second Annual Earth Day Electric Vehicle Parade to be Hosted by Dane County, RENEW Wisconsin, and Slipstream

Second Annual Earth Day Electric Vehicle Parade to be Hosted by Dane County, RENEW Wisconsin, and Slipstream

On Thursday, April 22, the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate ChangeRENEW Wisconsin, and Slipstream, will be hosting an Earth Day Electric Vehicle (EV) Parade in downtown Madison. At 1:30 PM, a variety of electric vehicles will converge at Brittingham Park. The parade will depart the park at 2 PM, drive through the city and university, make a loop around Capitol Square, and then return to Brittingham Park around 2:30 PM.

All electric cars (as well as electric trucks and electric motorcycles) are welcome to join the parade. For more information and to register for the event, please visit Earth Day EV Parade.

Spectators are encouraged to attend at Brittingham Park, Capitol Square, or along the parade route. All attendees are asked to social distance and wear masks when interacting with others.

With transportation emissions accounting for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, EVs are a significant solution to the climate emergency. Electric vehicles are clean and produce zero tailpipe emissions. Even in a state like Wisconsin, where coal-fired power plants are the largest supplier of in-state electricity generation, EVs emit lower annual emissions than comparable internal combustion engine vehicles. As Wisconsin continues to transition to clean energy, the environmental benefits of “driving electric” will continue to increase.

“Dane County is excited to participate in the Earth Day EV Parade and help showcase that electric vehicles are already being utilized in our community,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This parade gives people an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of EVs. Dane County added several EVs to our fleet in 2020, and we hope to see even more on the road in the future.”

Local citizens organized Madison’s first Earth Day EV Parade in 2020, which went from Middleton to Capitol Square and back to Middleton. Several dozen EVs participated in last year’s event, and more are anticipated this year. Vehicles that have signed up this year include the Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4, Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona, Toyota Prius Prime, Audi E-tron, and Harley Davidson Livewire.

PSC Finalizes 2020 Grant Program

PSC Finalizes 2020 Grant Program

Update: The Request for Proposals (RFP) pursuant to the 2020 grant cycle of the Energy Innovation Grant Program has been posted on the Public Service Commission’s web site. You can access the RFP here. The due date for grant submissions is January 22, 2021.


October 19, 2020

The Public Service Commission approved $7 million in funding that will be awarded through the 2020 round of the Energy Innovation Grant Program (EIGP). The EIGP awards financial assistance that supports the Office of Energy Innovation’s mission relating to energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, planning and resilience. In the previous round in 2018, the EIGP distributed nearly $5 million to more than 100 recipients. EIGP presently has a cash balance of more than $26 million.

The final order (PSC REF# 398392) was issued on October 16th, setting forth elements including (1) eligibility criteria; (2) eligible activities; (3) program budget; (4) procedures for tracking and reporting; and (5) development of the Request for Proposals (RFP).

The most important decisions rendered by the Commission are itemized below, interspersed with tables providing greater granularity on the program design and schedule.

Key decisions

  • The following entities are eligible to seek funds through this program: manufacturers of all sizes; and cities, villages, towns, counties, K-12 school districts, tribes, municipal water and wastewater utilities, municipal electric utilities, municipal natural gas utilities, University of Wisconsin System campuses and facilities, Wisconsin Technical College System, public or nonprofit hospitals, and 501(3)(c) nonprofits (collectively MUSH Market).
  • A budget of $7 million was authorized for the upcoming round. This represents an increase of $2 million from the previous round. The allocations for each of the four program activities are listed below.
  • Projects involving all statutorily defined renewable energy resources are eligible for funding.
  • The additional $2 million were allocated to Activities 1 and 2.

 

Optional Available Funds Per Activity for 2020 Program Year
Activity Maximum grant request Available funds per activity
1. Renewable Energy + Energy Storage 22% up to $250,000

(solar PV only)

$2.5 million
$500,000 (other RE)
$250,000 (energy storage system)
$500,000 (solar + storage)
$750,000 (other RE + storage)
2. Energy Efficiency + Demand Response $1 million $3 million
3. Electric + RNG Vehicles + Infrastructure $100,000 $1 million
4. Comprehensive Energy Planning $100,000 $500,000
Total $7 million

 

The Commission also approved a timeline for the upcoming round of funding, the milestones of which appear in the table below.

 

Tentative 2020 Energy Innovation Grant Program Year Timeline
Date Activity
9/2020 PSC consideration of 2020 Grant Program Design – final order issued
10/2020 Final order issued; Circulate RFP 90-day application period
1/2021 Applications due
2/2021 Review and score proposals
Spring 2021 2020 EIGP Award recommendations considered; announce awards
Spring 2021 Contract negotiations; sign award agreements

 

It’s National Drive Electric Week!

It’s National Drive Electric Week!

National Drive Electric Week, celebrated from September 26 to October 4, is a 9-day long event raising awareness about the environmental and social benefits of driving all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars. In its tenth annual commemoration, National Drive Electric Week events will include webinars ranging from topics on how to get started with an electric vehicle (EV) to making ownership more inclusive. 

RENEW Wisconsin, in partnership with Wisconsin Clean Cities, will be hosting the fourth and final webinar of our Virtual Electric Series on September 30 from 1:00PM to 2:00PM. The Local Utilities & Infrastructure Webinar will feature utility experts as they talk about incentives and programs offered to help Wisconsinites drive electric.

Why Drive Electric? 

From 2017 to 2018, EV sales grew 80% across the nation, with a total of 1.18 million EVs on the road by the end of March 2019. Wisconsinites drive electric vehicles for many reasons, some cite the safety and speed and others love the efficiency and environmental benefits of EVs. 

For Madison resident Matthew Ploeger, driving an EV means having the perfect car for a road trip. Ploeger, who owns both a Tesla Model S and a plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt, said he particularly enjoys the safety features of his Tesla, as well as the smooth and quick acceleration. 

“I love being able to drive the Tesla … and make use of the supercharger network, which makes a road trip fantastic,” Ploeger said. “We can go for 180 to 200 miles, stop for 25 to 30 minutes to charge, stretch our legs, get something to drink, and then we’re back on the road in 30 minutes with 80% charge and we go another 175 to 190 miles.”

Echoing that sentiment, Bayfield resident Roger Aiken enjoys driving his roomy all-electric Chevy Bolt, which he says is an ideal way of travelling with his two labradors and his wife, Susan. Pre-COVID, he drove 20,000 miles a year, getting 107 electric miles per gallon.

Living in a hilly neighborhood, Aiken has found that his EV drives more efficiently than a gas powered car, as his car generates electricity as it’s going downhill, so that he can use that energy for driving uphill.

EVs are efficient, especially when powered by the sun

Madisonite David Brow says his all-electric Tesla Model S is easy to maintain and fun to drive. He and his wife chose to drive electric for the environmental benefits. Brow has solar panels on his home, which means his car is powered by the sun! Solar powered EVs minimize emissions and create a cheap way to produce energy. Even without access to renewable energy, EVs don’t produce any tailpipe emissions, limiting the amount of smog-forming pollutants in the air and having a positive effect on human health.

Similarly, Lee Gasper-Galvin of Sun Prairie cites her vehicle’s efficiency as a primary reason why she chose to drive electric. 

“I drive electric because electric vehicles are much more efficient than internal combustion engine vehicles,” Gasper-Galvin said. “For example, this Tesla Model 3 has a 95% efficient electric motor, as compared to an internal combustion engine vehicle, which is only 20-30% efficient.”

Other ways to ride

Choosing to drive a car is not the only way to drive electric. 

Jim Holmes, a Marshall resident, rides an electric motorcycle and an electric lawnmower. He said his electric motorcycle is his preferred way to ride, as it is low-maintenance and can go 90 miles per one full charge. 

Holmes chose to invest in an electric lawnmower not only because of the convenience of not having to get gas, but also because of the added  environmental benefit.

Whatever you choose to drive, EVs have a plethora of individual and environmental benefits, such as savings on fuel and maintenance costs, and reduced emissions and cleaner air.  EVs are becoming increasingly popular, and driving electric has never been easier. EVs are becoming increasingly popular, and driving electric has never been easier. For more information, visit renewwisconsin.org/electric-vehicles

RENEW Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Blog: Racine Getting Electric Buses

RENEW Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Blog: Racine Getting Electric Buses

UPDATE: Racine is set to get 2 additional new electric buses for a total of 8!  Racine is leading the pack in investing in electric buses. The second round of Wisconsin’s Volkswagen Mitigation Program Transit Capital Assistance Grants were announced on September 9, 2020. This round, totaling $18 million, was awarded to Beloit, Wausau, Sheboygan, Madison, Eau Claire, Racine, Green Bay, and La Crosse. The funding will allow those cities to purchase a combined 34 transit buses.

Racine is again the only city that has opted for electric buses, getting funding for 2 more electric buses and the infrastructure to re-charge them. With this additional funding, Racine will be able to purchase 8 all-electric transit buses with Volkswagen Mitigation Program funding.

Between the first and second rounds of the Transit Capital Assistance grants, the Volkswagen Settlement Program has spent $50 million to bolster the State’s public transit systems. The total funding available to Wisconsin through the Volkswagen Settlement is $67.2 million, which leaves about $17 million yet to be awarded.


Published December 14, 2018

Racine is set to get 6 new electric buses!

The RENEW Wisconsin Volkswagen Settlement Blog reviews the Volkswagen Settlement and how Wisconsin allocated two-thirds of our settlement funding. A large portion of the funding is going to the Transit Capital Assistance Program for cities and counties to replace aging diesel buses.

Transit Capital Assistance Grant Recipients

The grant recipients have been announced! $32 million of settlement funding is set to replace a total of 58 polluting diesel buses in 9 cities and 1 county.

At least 6 of those buses will be electric, all in Racine. Appleton, Eau Caire, Green Bay, Janesville, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee County, Sheboygan, and Wausau are also award recipients.

Per the award announcement, Racine is set to receive $6.2 million for the 6 buses and overnight charging stations. Racine also wanted to install a fast charger toward the end of the route out to the “Wisconn Valley.” The awards aren’t yet final, giving parties time to negotiate grant terms.

Racine’s Electric Buses

Racine’s application states, “the new buses will attract commuters by providing a quiet, high tech experience commensurate with the new economic opportunities and technologies in the service area.” Of course, by “new economic opportunities and technologies,” they are referring to Foxconn. Which makes sense – a key aspect of the competitive grant program was to connect employees to employers. Foxconn voiced their support by signing on to Racine’s application.

It will likely be more than a year before the new buses are operating. Once they are in operation, the new electric buses will replace the oldest, most polluting, diesel buses in Racine’s fleet.

Benefits of Electric Buses

No matter where they operate, electric buses are a win for all stakeholders.

  • There’s no diesel smell and no loud engine. Electric buses are more comfortable to ride in!
  • Electric buses are cheaper to operate. Lower fuel costs and less maintenance means extremely reduced costs to operate.
  • Fewer emissions mean a cleaner community for everyone. Whether you are a bus rider or not, everyone will benefit from the reduced emissions from switching to electric buses.
  • Clean, electric buses can be powered by renewable energy. We can create the energy to run our transit right here in Wisconsin instead of sending billions of dollars out of state for fossil fuels.

I’m excited to see more electric buses being added to transit fleets in Wisconsin. They truly are a win for all transportation stakeholders – the riders, owners, and community at large.