On October 4, 2017, the governors of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming signed a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") to provide a framework for an electric vehicle ("EV") corridor through their respective states. The MOU calls for a coordination group to take the following actions:
- Create best practices and procedures that will enhance EV adoption by promoting EV consumer acceptance and awareness by addressing range anxiety;
- Coordinate on the locations of EV charging stations, minimize inconsistencies between charging infrastructure in each state, and leverage economies of scale;
- Create voluntary minimum standards for EV charging stations, including standards for administration, interoperability, operations, and management;
- Identify and develop opportunities to incorporate EV charging station infrastructure into planning and development processes, such as building codes, metering policies, and renewable energy generation projects;
- Encourage EV manufacturers to stock and market a wide variety of EVs within the states; and
- Identify, respond to, and, where possible, collaborate on funding opportunities to support the development of the Regional Electric Vehicle West EV Corridor.
State governors are not the only ones taking steps to facilitate the increased use of electric vehicles. On September 19, 2017, The Climate Group launched EV100, an initiative to bring global companies together to increase the number of electric corporate fleet vehicles. EV100 is currently made up of 10 transnational corporations. The member companies committed to integrate EVs into their corporate fleet by 2030 and/or install EV charging stations for customers and employees.
However, for companies considering a shift to EV fleets, some uncertainty remains. A potentially landmark announcement for EV came in November 2016 when the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it was establishing 48 EV charging corridors on national highways. Under the Trump administration, the ultimate fate of these corridors, or the DOT's ongoing enthusiasm for their development, is unclear.
Further complicating matters is the potential rollback of automobile emissions standards. And, while the IRS currently offers tax credits of up to $7,500 for EV purchases, the program begins to phase out once a manufacturer sells 200,000 qualified vehicles. Recent tax bills have proposed to eliminate the credit, and regardless, it may be unlikely that the current administration and Congress would extend this tax incentive even if it is not eliminated outright. In short, automakers may soon be facing fewer sticks and fewer carrots when it comes to developing EVs, which could in turn make a shift to EV fleets less attractive for companies.
In the end, whether to shift to an EV fleet may come down to situation-specific practical considerations. For example, even if the federal EV charging corridors continue to move forward, it would leave several large areas of the country uncovered, even accounting for the western states' MOU. Therefore, "range anxiety" may remain a real concern for companies that use fleets for long distance operations in these areas.