Rhode Island to offer rebates for electric vehicle purchases

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island is offering a new rebate program to make it more enticing to purchase an electric vehicle as part of an effort to meet the state’s greenhouse gas emissions goals, Gov. Daniel J. McKee and the R.I. Office of Energy Resources announced Monday.

The program, called DRIVEEV, is the next iteration of the state’s DRIVE program, which stands for Driving Rhode Island to Vehicle Electrification, and will be made available to state residents by the summer of 2022. The rebate program will be supported by an initial $1.25 million commitment by OER using existing, non-general revenue funds.

McKee made the announcement in the back parking lot of the Capital Good Fund in Providence, where there is a new Level 3 electric vehicle fast-charging station. McKee was joined by State Energy Commissioner Nicholas S. Ucci and Capital Good Fund founder and CEO Andy Posner.

“I am proud to announce that Rhode Island residents and businesses will soon have access to electric vehicle rebates that will help meet their transportation needs in a more sustainable manner,” McKee said. “Increased adoption of EVs will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere – a key driver of climate change and pollution-induced heath impacts, especially in our front-line communities.”

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McKee said the adoption of sustainable transportation solutions such as electric vehicles is crucial to achieving the state’s mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals noted in the 2021 Act on Climate he signed into law in April, which requires a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030, leading to net-zero emissions by 2050. According to the governor’s office, the transportation sector accounts for more than one-third of statewide greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the rebate program, McKee said his fiscal 2023 budget proposal includes $23 million of funding from the state’s receipt of $2.5 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that will be used to increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations across Rhode Island.

“Gov. McKee and I are committed to combatting climate change and connecting Rhode Island families and businesses to more affordable and sustainable energy solutions such as electric vehicles,” Ucci said. “Cost and range anxiety are two significant barriers to electric vehicle adoption and, thanks to the governor’s leadership, we are now addressing both.”

OER is finalizing the electric vehicle rebate program and anticipates releasing a draft proposal for public review and comment at the next full meeting of the state’s Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council on April 7.

Cassius Shuman is a PBN staff writer. Contact him at Shuman@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter @CassiusShuman.

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