Massachusetts Fosters Electric Vehicles with New Municipal Program

Jenny Rushlow

Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program DEP Municipal

MA DOER Commissioner Sylvia, Chelmsford Town Manager Paul Cohen, MA EOEEA Secretary Sullivan, and MA DEP Commissioner Kimmell at the Earth Day announcement in Chelmsford. (Photo credit: Emily Norton)

Today the Patrick Administration took an important step toward meaningful deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) in Massachusetts. Building on momentum from the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Roundtable that CLF co-hosted with the Administration in March, the Patrick Administration launched a new incentive program yesterday: the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program for Municipalities. The Administration announced this new program on Earth Day at events in Greenfield and Chelmsford. CLF attended the announcement, and you can watch a video clip of MA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Kimmell and MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Sullivan announcing the new program in Chelmsford here and here (pardon the occasional wind!).

Following the MA EV Roundtable in March, the Administration created the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Initiative to promote EVs in the Commonwealth. The new incentive program, focused on helping increase use and visibility of EVs in Massachusetts towns, is a noteworthy first step for the MA EV Initiative. This program will help municipalities purchase EVs as well as fund installation of charging stations. The program offers $7,500 grants per EV and $15,000 per publicly accessible charging station to eligible communities. The program, which is administered by the MA DEP,  has $2.5 million available for these grants.

At yesterday’s Earth Day launch for this program, Secretary Sullivan noted that increased deployment of EVs is an essential step toward meeting the climate commitments contained in the MA Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). Increased EV deployment is indeed an important step if the Commonwealth is to meet its mandatory greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction targets, and CLF is pleased to see the Commonwealth taking initiative with this measure. At the same time, the big picture for GHG reductions in Massachusetts still requires significant progress that can only be achieved through markedly stepped up action. The Administration has not met the GWSA’s deadlines for adopting and implementing regulations to reduce GHGs commensurate with the requirements of the GWSA across all sectors – including transportation. While steps to promote EVs will help move the needle, the newly announced Initiative must complement, rather than serve as a substitute for, much more expansive action that is urgently needed across the transportation sector and beyond.

The Commonwealth’s press release following the launch indicated that this program “is the first of what the state plans will be other state incentive programs to increase electric vehicle deployment and ease their use.” CLF is pleased that the Patrick Administration is taking its commitment to fostering meaningful deployment of EVs in Massachusetts seriously, applauds the Commonwealth for this important first effort, and is optimistic for meaningful next steps for the MA EV Initiative. We hope that the successful launch of this program will help fuel a broader effort to reduce GHGs and ‘green up’ all of our transportation options!

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