By: Andrea Sears
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania is lagging behind some other states in creating the infrastructure to support electric vehicles, but a bill making its way through the Legislature could change that.
Transportation is one of the main sources of carbon pollution. But without a reliable network of charging stations, consumers are reluctant to switch to clean electric vehicles.
Noah Garcia, transportation policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says passage of House Bill 1446 would be a major win for clean energy in the Commonwealth. It would establish a statewide goal for transportation electrification.
“That goal would be to achieve levels of transportation electrification at least 50 percent above what would be expected to be business as usual by 2030,” says Garcia.
HB 1446 passed the House Transportation Committee with strong support and is expected to reach the floor of the House for a vote in the coming weeks.
Garcia notes that the bill also would require the state’s electric utilities and electric-vehicle charging service providers to create and implement a plan to meet the electrification goals.
“Those plans will include the deployment of charging infrastructure necessary to support a greater number of electric vehicles in the state,” says Garcia.
There are currently fewer than 300 charging stations and about 12,000 electric vehicles in Pennsylvania. In contrast, New York now has 600 charging stations and 30,000 electric vehicles.
Garcia notes that H-B 1446 has broad support not only from environmentalists but from vehicle manufacturers and business.
“We’re really seeing electric utilities playing a key and complimentary role in breaking down barriers to EV adoption,” says Garcia, “that we think is necessary not only to fight climate change but to modernize our transportation systems, clean up our air and boost economic growth.”
He adds that as electric vehicles get more efficient and extend their range, expanding the charging infrastructure will become critical to support growing demand.