Berkshire Planning Commission prepares for electric vehicle movement / iBerkshires.com
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is preparing for the statewide and national movement towards electric vehicles.
USRA transportation planner Justin Gilmore presented a Berkshire County electric vehicle charging station plan to the commission on Thursday that aims to bring charging capabilities to every community.
“The main purpose of this plan is really just to educate and inform the reader about the current state of electric vehicles and charging station technology and certainly to provide city officials with the information they need to start making strategic investments around installing charging stations,” Gilmore explained. .
“And it all really comes on the heels of major commitments to tackle climate change.”
The states decarbonization roadmapwhich aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 85% by 2050, outlines the steps for requiring 100% zero-emission light-duty vehicle (LDV) sales by 2035.
This means that after 2035 in the state of Massachusetts people will no longer be able to purchase new internal combustion engine vehicles.
the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan released in 2020 aims to increase the number of electric vehicles in the state from about 36,000 to 750,000 by 2030.
“Transportation is the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions nationally, statewide and locally here in the Berkshires, so this shift to electrification really represents a crucial opportunity to start decarbonizing. transportation industry,” Gilmore explained.
“And we want to make sure the Berkshires aren’t being left behind, that they’re prepared for this transition, and that they can actually get an edge to help in some way the adoption rates for electric vehicles in the county.
The plan recommends the creation of an electric vehicle charging task force, establishment of community liaisons or promoters, capitalization on assistance programs to develop electric vehicle supply equipment in each community of Berkshire, engaging with employment centers and tourist destinations and integrating electric vehicle readiness into new developments.
Gilmore said Massachusetts would receive about $63 million through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act that was signed into law as the Infrastructure and Jobs Act over the next five years. With this, $7.5 billion has been allocated under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program to support the goal of establishing a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030.
The bill also authorized the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation to create a joint energy and transportation office with the primary directive of accelerating zero-emissions transportation infrastructure.
There are currently 53 electric vehicle charging stations in Berkshire County, with most located in the central and southern parts of the county and lacking in more rural towns.
“Most of these charging stations are in some sort of center of South County, Lee, Lenox, Pittsfield, Stockbridge with another concentration in North County, specifically Williamstown,” Gilmore said.
As of May 2020, BRPC received an estimate of approximately 3,280 battery electric vehicles in the county, but does not have a current metric for electric vehicle ownership.
Gilmore presented a variety of electric car deals to the commission to show that prices are becoming more accessible as technology advances. Two are made by Tesla and cost less than $40,000; the Nissan Leaf starts at under $30,000.
“We are seeing wider market adoption and it really shows that electric vehicles are becoming a feasible alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles and the functions they offer,” he said.
Executive Director Thomas Matuszko sees this as an opportunity to attract young people to the county.
“I think it’s a great opportunity if we become a leader in electric vehicle charging stations as a means of attracting young people,” he said.
Windsor delegate Douglas McNally said his town plans to install a charging station in its offices because the community is located between Berkshire County and Northampton, which is a major tourist route.
Windsor is a “green community” because it implements environmentally responsible practices to meet the needs of residents and is eligible for grants because of this.
President John Duval also offered to serve on the task force.
Keywords: USRA, electric vehicle,