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New Vermont Electric Vehicle Incentives

Based on a press release from Burlington Electric Department

On October 3, Vermont utility representatives from Burlington Electric Department (BED), Green Mountain Power (GMP), Stowe Electric Department, Vermont Electric Cooperative, Washington Electric Cooperative, and Drive Electric Vermont, along with Governor Phil Scott and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, announced that new electric vehicle (EV) incentives designed to provide opportunities for all Vermonters to transition from fossil fuel burning vehicles to EVs. The incentives included:

  • Additional rebates from BED and GMP for EV purchases by low- and moderate-income Vermonters;

  • General Motors employee pricing on Bolt EVs and Volt plug-in hybrids from Shearer Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac through October; and

  • An extension of the $10,000 rebate on the purchase of 2017 Leaf EVs from Freedom Nissan as long as the dealer is able to find inventory.

Mayor Miro Weinberger addressed the gathering, saying, “For Burlington to become a net zero energy city, we must tackle the transportation sector’s significant and growing greenhouse gas emissions.” He added, “Electric cars powered by renewable energy and driven by Burlingtonians of all backgrounds will be a big part of our city’s future. Today’s announcement is a step towards this inspiring, achievable vision.”

Neale Lunderville, General Manager of BED who hosted the announcement at BED’s Pine Street headquarters, said, “Sweetening the deals for electric vehicles has literally opened up the doors for all Vermonters to go electric. Our collective, groundbreaking incentives have led to unprecedented growth in EV sales.”

Each of the utilities offers its own incentives to its customers, as does each car company, so the combinations of incentives depend on what car the customer wants and what company is providing that customer with electricity.

Vermont’s utilities are offering these impressive incentives as part of their efforts to meet requirements of Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES), which was passed by the Vermont Legislature in 2015 and requires electric distribution utilities to get increasing percentages of their electric sales from renewable energy. The RES also includes an “energy transformation” requirement that electric utilities look for ways to reduce fossil fuel emissions, even where doing so may increase electric consumption. One way utilities plan to meet this requirement is through various EV incentive programs. EVs reduce fossil fuel use and emissions, and they save customers money on fuel and maintenance costs compared to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.

When charged during non-peak times, EVs can contribute to a more efficient use of the electric grid and help keep rates stable for all customers. In fact, when charged off-peak, EVs can help put downward pressure on rates by using kilowatt hours during times when the grid has extra capacity. By adding energy use without requiring additional infrastructure costs for more power plants or poles and wires, EVs can help make the per unit cost of providing a kilowatt hour less expensive overall.

It is especially noteworthy that the incentives are very impressive. For example, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price starting at approximately $30,000, BED customers have been able to purchase a new 2017 Nissan Leaf from Freedom Nissan for as low as $11,300. And Shearer Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac is offering employee discounts to customers, which also combine with utility incentives to produce very low costs, below dealer invoice by thousands of dollars.

But potential customers should note that though the incentives were originally intended to last to dates in September or October, they have been extended and may still be available. As noted above, for example, Freedom Nissan is offering rebates as long as it can find inventory.

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