Policy hearing discusses status of electric vehicles in Pennsylvania

Testifiers identified need to effectively utilize federal funding to support EVs

HARRISBURG, June 6 – As electric vehicle use grows nationwide, House Democratic lawmakers convened in Harrisburg Monday to talk with industry experts about positioning Pennsylvania to benefit from the economic growth of the industry, including infrastructure improvements like additional charging stations.

“I’ve personally experienced the scarcity of electric vehicle charging stations in Pennsylvania and the struggles that come along with it. With the growing number of electric vehicles being used in the commonwealth, we need to make sure electric vehicle charging stations are as available as gas stations,” said Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, who hosted the hearing.

Electric vehicle use is skyrocketing in the commonwealth. Of the 12 million registered vehicles in Pennsylvania, nearly 30,000 are electric passenger vehicles, a number that’s more than doubled in the past five years.

Pennsylvania is set to receive more than $25 million per year until 2026 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Pennsylvania received the fifth-highest funding amount in the nation, which will go toward supporting the Biden administration’s goal of installing electric vehicle charging stations every 50 miles along major highways. To access that funding, states must submit their National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Plan to the federal government no later than August 1st, something PennDOT is currently preparing.

“It is critical that Pennsylvania is positioned to receive and apply for all available EV federal funding opportunities and to assist communities and local partners to be successful for an effective and efficient rollout of EV initiatives,” said Natasha Fackler, PennDOT’s Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. “PennDOT is committed to providing EV awareness, education, and technical capacity to our partners, especially to support EV industry job skills, local small business development and educational opportunities for all job-levels.”

According to the Pa. Dept. of Transportation, there are currently more than 2,700 public electric vehicle chargers at more than 1,100 locations in Pennsylvania. Tony Bandiero of the Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Transportation says that number needs to double to fully support electric vehicles in Pennsylvania.

“It is estimated that 4,300 DCFC’s are needed for a fully functioning electric vehicle economy in Pennsylvania. Once the designated corridors have been fully built out, the federal NEVI Plan funding can be used to help fill in the gaps along ancillary roadways and in communities that would meet the environmental justice guidelines,” said Bandiero.

Testifiers also pointed to the tremendous economic benefits of continuing to support the electric vehicle industry in Pennsylvania. Electric vehicles help consumers save money on fuel and maintenance costs, and electricity rates paid to utilities and generation companies stay within the local economy. Additionally, the increased production and installation of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure will create good-paying jobs in clean energy industries.

“The benefits on the electric industry from electric vehicles can include environmental aspects, reduction of oil and natural gas dependence, community impact, as well as job creation. All of these benefits come with the caveat of the equipment being installed safely, on time, and reliably,” said Iggy Fletcher, a 17-year member of IBEW Local Union 98. “That is where the IBEW can help. We are prepared with a skilled and educated workforce that only the IBEW can produce.”

Full testimony from the electric vehicle charging stations hearing can be found here.

“Today’s hearing showed the need for more electric vehicle charging stations in Pennsylvania and the need to capitalize on the federal funding to expand this industry, which will have a great impact on the state’s economy and environment. I look forward to continuing this important conversation and the seeing the changes that will come as a result,” said Daley.

Information about this hearing and other House Democratic Policy Committee hearings can be found at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.