Comment: State can lead the switch to electric vehicles

Legislation will set a specific goal for EV sales by making sure infrastructure is in place.

By Marko Liias / For The Herald

The momentum toward electric vehicles (EVs) keeps building, with industry innovations, consumer choices and government programs aligning to address the urgent need for greener, more cost-efficient transportation solutions.

The Biden infrastructure plan contains $174 billion for EVs and EV charging. Chevrolet just announced an electric Silverado pickup, following GM’s commitment to EV-only sales by 2035. Ford has nearly doubled its planned investments in EVs to the tune of $22 billion.

Now that the electric vehicle transition is underway, Washington state must be ready for it.

Electric vehicle cynics often raise concerns about the feasibility of a rapid transition to electrified transportation. They claim EV charging infrastructure is too sparse to support American driving habits, and the electrical grid cannot handle the pressure of charging hundreds of thousands of new EVs. They argue that many households, especially those in apartment buildings or multi-unit dwellings, will not have access to charging and cannot afford a new EV.

All of the concerns about EVs have solutions, provided that the solutions are properly planned and resourced.

Today, we have the technology and clean energy right here in Washington to support the transition from polluting gasoline and diesel to cleaner electric vehicles. EV battery technology and driving ranges continue to improve, charging technology is getting faster, and automakers are announcing new, more affordable EV models all the time. Plus, once you own an EV, there are no oil changes, no engine maintenance, and zero stress about fluctuating gasoline prices.

To ensure a smooth, equitable transition to electric vehicles will require planning and preparation. That is why I am enthusiastically supporting legislation to prepare Washington state for a zero-emissions transportation future.

The bill we are working on now, engrossed second substitute House Bill 1287, sets an ambitious goal to end the sale of new gas cars by 2030 and puts into place systems and infrastructure to help us reach our goal. It requires utilities to account for EVs in their capacity planning so our grid remains stable, it increases EV charging requirements for new buildings in increase access, and it creates a tool to map available charging and forecast demand to support data-driven infrastructure planning.

This legislation takes the guesswork and uncertainty out of the electric vehicle transition by creating a clear timeline — with the data, tools, and guidelines we need — to help businesses, developers, governments and consumers plan with confidence.

Certainty is good for business, which is why we are seeing automakers and other members of the business community throw their weight behind a date certain for the EV transition. The Washington State Auto Dealers Association is just one example of the many groups supporting the 2030 gas car phaseout target.

By embracing the shift to EVs, we will create thousands of new jobs, achieve energy independence, save on fuel and maintenance costs, and build healthier communities for all Washingtonians.

The age of gasoline will and must end. The health of our climate and our communities depends on it. Washington is leading the United States into a new era. This bill will ensure that our communities, businesses, infrastructure, and economy are ready to take full advantage of the opportunities that come with an electric transportation future.

State Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, represents the communities of the 21st Legislative District, which includes neighborhoods in Edmonds, Everett, Lynnwood and Mukilteo.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 14

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

In this Wednesday, March 24, 2021 image from video provided by Duke Health, Alejandra Gerardo, 9, looks up to her mom, Dr. Susanna Naggie, as she gets the first of two Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations during a clinical trial for children at Duke Health in Durham, N.C. In the U.S. and abroad, researchers are beginning to test younger and younger kids, to make sure the shots are safe and work for each age. (Shawn Rocco/Duke Health via AP)
Editorial: Parents have decision to make on vaccinating kids

With one vaccine now approved for kids 12 and older, parents shouldn’t wait for a school requirement.

Comment: What Cheney’s wearied expression says about GOP

The Congresswoman is mourning the loss of a party’s soul, not over policy but over expedience.

Comment: $6 trillion’s a lot of money; here’s why it’s a bargain

Biden’s plans would invest in infrastructure and families, solidifying American prosperity.

Snohomish magazine used for political purposes

I just received the latest glossy-print City of Snohomish Quarterly Magazine which… Continue reading

Tell Congress you support Medicare for All Act

People are waking to the possibility of Medicare For All, a transformative… Continue reading

Editorial cartoons for Thursday, May 13

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Craig Jacobsen, a technician at Everett Transit, demonstrates how the electric buses are charged. The new system takes about four hours to charge the batteries. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)
Editorial: Get shovels ready for Biden’s transportation plans

The state and Sound Transit have work to do to benefit from Biden’s infrastructure investments.

toon mothers day
Editorial: What Mom really wants is help for her family

For Mother’s Day, how about backing proposals for equal pay, child care and family tax credits?

Most Read