Wisconsin’s state legislature has acted swiftly this January to move legislation impacting electric vehicles (EV) through the legislative process. The Senate version of the proposed EV bill, SB 791, has already passed through the Senate Utilities & Technology Committee with a recommendation for passage. Similarly, the Assembly version of the bill, AB 846, cleared the State Assembly Committee on Energy & Utilities.
The legislation also passed through the Joint Committee on Finance and Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions, gathering favorable votes. Most recently, the full Senate passed their version of the bill in a 30-2 vote. The next step is a vote by the full Assembly after which the bill will go to the Governor’s desk.
As with all legislative bills, amendments and tweaks along the way are common. There have been three amendments added so far, and we are analyzing the impact of these on the original bill.
The focus of the bill is to allow non-utilities to seek payment from EV drivers based on the amount of electricity they use to charge their vehicles rather than the time it takes for the vehicle to charge. This qualifies Wisconsin public and private entities to receive federal dollars to help build charging infrastructure while also establishing operational and maintenance requirements for the chargers.
National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) funding would be available for up to 5 years, which is especially beneficial for areas where the market is not yet ready to support EV infrastructure but could in a few years. This allows the areas that currently have less EV traffic to build EV charging infrastructure to support a growing user base.
RENEW initially raised concerns about the impact the bills would have on existing EV charging facilities and the need for the state to have similar opportunities for infrastructure that local governments would. Those concerns have been addressed in part within the proposed amendments.
SB 791 and AB 846 bring Wisconsin in line with 48 other states while providing uniform access, pricing, accountability, and standards for EV Charging. We expect to see the bill become law.