On May 26, 2021 Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed H.B. 2165 into law, expanding access to electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure, particularly to the state’s low-income communities and people of color.
The bill takes three key actions to support Oregon’s goal to electrify the transportation sector in order to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. First it extends Oregon’s EV Rebate indefinitely. Second, it strengthens the Charge Ahead Rebate to better support low-income communities, people of color, and rural regions. Finally, the bill requires large electric service providers to collect a small fee, equivalent to 0.25 percent of annual revenue, to finance investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. At least half of these funds need to be invested in disadvantaged communities to ensure equitable access to electric infrastructure.
“In Oregon, we are taking action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and address the climate crisis head on. From commercial trucks to personal cars, the future of transportation in this country is electric,” said Governor Kate Brown. “With this bill, we will build on Oregon’s ambitious goals for increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles on the road.”
“The next generation of electric cars, vans, trucks, and SUVs will have the range and capability to handle even the toughest conditions rural Oregon roads can throw at them. With the passage of HB 2165, these next generation vehicles can become more accessible to all income levels and communities.”
Oregon is also active in supporting regional electrification efforts, leading an Electric Vehicle Roadmap Initiative as Chair of the Western Governors Association. This year-long initiative has helped western states coordinate, with connections made between the Pacific Coast Collaborative and REV West collaboration and will result in a final report to support states in their efforts to develop electric infrastructure and the growing number of support EV drivers.
In addition, the Oregon Department of Energy will be releasing the inaugural Biennial Zero Emission Vehicle report in September 2021. The report will provide information on zero-emission vehicles in Oregon, including the current state of EV and charging infrastructure adoption, the benefits of EV adoption, and the challenges the state must meet as EV adoption increases. This forthcoming report will be informed by data from the new Oregon Electric Vehicle Dashboard. The dashboard provides information on the types of electric vehicles on the road today and their locations, and was funded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program.
Finally, the Oregon Department of Transportation will be releasing the Transportation Electrification Infrastructure Needs Analysis study at the end of June 2021. ODOT was directed to complete the study by the Governor in Executive Order 20-04, and will identify gaps in EV charging infrastructure across the state and include policy recommendations to address those gaps.