Governor and senators seeking more electric vehicles with COVID money

Michael Bielawski/TNR

NOT ENOUGH USAGE: A charging station in Plainfield stays mostly unused as lawmakers and the governor are pushing incentives to promote EV adoption at a faster rate.

The governor and state senators are working to ensure that low- and middle-income Vermonters transition to electric cars and buses, and they hope to pay for the transportation overhaul with federal coronavirus relief dollars.

On Thursday, Gov. Phil Scott announced that the Agency of Transportation is getting more than $26 million in federal money via the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. Scott wants that money put toward “energy-efficient” transportation.

“Investing in more energy-efficient public transportation is important for our economy and environment,” the governor said. He added that the money is enabling the transportation agency to replace as many as 30 buses and fund energy-efficient projects. Part of the funding will go to purchasing PPE and sanitization to prevent COVID19.

On Wednesday, the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee took testimony from representatives of the Vermont Energy Action Network regarding why the state should invest more in EV adoption.

“We also think that by bringing in the concept of electrification, then you can improve health by reducing exposure to diesel fumes, and we can also reduce emissions overall,” said Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur, director of clean transportation at the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.

EVs are advertised as being green and fuel-free. However, electric autos must plug into the electric grid for energy, which is powered by mostly fossil fuel sources. Also, while motorists who own electric vehicles no longer have to purchase gasoline, the cost of the vehicles is much higher than gasoline-powered counterparts. Currently, a 2021 Nissan Leaf lists for over $40,000, and the  buyer can apply for up to $7,500 in federal tax rebates. EVs also offer inferior performance — cold weather reduces an EV’s range by an average of 18.5 percent.

During her testimony, Wallace-Brodeur said carbon emissions from Vermont keep rising.

“We’re a small state and emissions for transportation keep moving up,” she said. “So how do we put Vermont carbon on a diet? How do we deal with this and how do we deal with this across the board?

” … We should acknowledge that public transportation is a carbon-reduction strategy in and of itself; the more people that take transit, the fewer people who are in a car by themselves, and that’s a really important way that we can reduce emissions.”

To put Vermont’s current EV adoption targets into perspective, Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan aims to increase renewable energy in Vermont’s transportation sector to 10 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050. As of 2018, Vermont was reported to have 1.92 percent EV adoption among its motorists.

So far, the cost of this transportation overhaul is unknown. Sen. Chris Bray, D-Addison, chair of the Senate Energy Committee, said he believes it will be in the range of $600 million.

Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Orange, was not impressed by the proposals to pay for the initiative.

“They are all someone else’s money,” he said.

MacDonald suggested that if the money is going to be too much, it would be better to be up-front about it now than later.

“We’re not bold people and if you have bold ideas, include the money and then let us inevitably disappoint you,” he said.

Wallace-Brodeur said another idea that’s being talked about is combining the state’s public transit efforts with its school bus efforts — for example, having the school buses be allowed for public use, or vice-versa, let public busses be used for school children.

“What we’re really looking at as a team is whether we can expand rural transportation opportunities by offering combined bus services for schools and community members using electric buses,” she said. “So we are trying to really think about all the ways in which we can provide greater efficiencies to Vermonters.”

Wallace-Brodeur is also the chair of the steering committee for “The Future of Rural Transit,” an Energy Action Network project.

Linda McGinnis, a Senior Fellow at the Energy Action Network, spoke on how federal funding will play a big role in the electrification of vehicles if it joins regional multi-state efforts such as the Transportation Climate Initiative.

“With that, this state would receive predictable regular funding coming in to be able to support something like this,” she said. ” … We need to set up a system so that when other resources become available be they from a federal stimulus package or infrastructure package or through TCI, we have a system to be able to ramp up and have learned some of the difficulties of implementation in the beginning and being able to move quickly on that front.”

McGinnis also said programs that promote the purchase of EVs are numerous.

“So as I mentioned, these stackable incentives: there’s the federal incentive, the state incentive that has different rates for low and moderate-income Vermonters, utility incentives, Mileage Smart [has incentives] and then Replace Your Ride (a subsidized vehicle exchange program) on top of that. So we can have folks who see significant savings.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

20 thoughts on “Governor and senators seeking more electric vehicles with COVID money

  1. “Investing in more energy-efficient public transportation is important for our economy and environment,” the governor said. He added that the money is enabling the transportation agency to replace as many as 30 buses and fund energy-efficient projects.”

    At present, the Vermont House Energy/Environment committee and the VT Transportation Department sing the same song, to “convince” people in the Governor’s Office to buy electric buses, for SHOW PURPOSES and VIRTUE SIGNALING.

    They urge to buy buses at about $300,000/each, plus high-speed charging systems, even though they know the Massachusetts electric bus experiment has been a flop.

    They are throwing OUR good money into another black hole.

    Are they hoping for a different outcome in Vermont with hills and snowy roads and dirt roads in rural areas?

    Those buses would need 4-wheel-drive, or all-wheel-drive

    See page 4 and 45 of URL

    Here is an evaluation of the MA electric school bus project by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.

    The project was funded through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) with about $2 million, and administered by the Massachusetts State Department of Energy Resources.


    The THREE buses logged A TOTAL OF 14,000 miles, and provided school transportation for about 279 days (including some summer school transportation);

    Each bus traveled 14,000 miles/(3 x 279) = 16.7 miles per day. That means the $300,000 buses were utilized about ONE HOUR EACH DAY.

    Participating school districts encountered a number of mechanical and logistical challenges that suggest this emerging technology requires further testing and refinement before widespread deployment can occur.

    All three of the buses were out of service for a relatively high number of days and ultimately logged fewer than half as many miles than the average diesel bus.


    Energy savings from electric buses were much smaller than anticipated, due primarily to uncontrolled charging and high ‘vampire loads’ associated with auxiliary fans and heaters used to heat or cool batteries during charging.

    Fueling costs were NOT lower for the electric buses than traditional diesel buses, due to unmanaged charging of batteries and excess electricity usage and demand charges; the buses likely were having battery-draining systems in operation while not traveling.


    Electric buses emitted less than half as many tons of GHG than a comparable diesel buses.
    Emissions of other harmful pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, NOx, and SOx, were also lower.

    NOTE: If the embodied emissions of the batteries, and the embodied emissions of manufacturing the $300,000 buses were included, there likely would be NO REDUCTIONS of emissions, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis.

  2. There’s an opinion piece by Jenkins in today’s WSJ describing the scam of EV promotion in relation to the real effects on climate change, so aptly described by Willem Post above.

  3. Just totally unbelievable!!!!!

    What planet are these people from?

    E V concepts have nothing TO DO WITH COVID!!!!! COVID money should be used for the intended reasons it exists in the first place.

  4. VT is not interested in greenhouse reduction. I ran and met all the candidates for multiple years, sat with Shumlin and Scott, many others, showing them the climate virtues of building with hempcrete.

    Sequesters 38 lbs of carbon per cubic foot, can’t be burned down, lasts for centuries, is toxin free for indoor air quality (less asthma) , mold and pest free. ZERO uptake, the Loans for risky new ventures, VEDA, zero uptake zero interest.

    ZERO INTEREST< ZERO FUNDING< ZERO BACKING< they couldn't be less interested in reducing green house gases. it is ruse.
    The reason they want to buy vehicles is it is a convenient way to launder the money. VT got, thank you True North, 5.4 Billion. Now I can tell you without a shred of proof yet still with confidence that they are dreaming of the ways they can launder that money. Such as renovating motel buildings for homeless, 16 units for 6 million. Give me 6 million for the homeless and we'd see something for the money.
    22 in sVT for same amount 6 Million. Thats believable, sure, when you can buy 40 mobile homes and place them on land with all the tie ins for under that amount..

    And if you don't think Scott is banking with Fauci, well, look again, why do you think we are still in emergency? Cuz it brings with it zero liability for those who harm anyone with the experimental injection that the Scott admin is pushing for Fauci and Gates.

  5. “Going EV” implies major costs that are often ignored by naive RE zealots, who want to “electrify everything” because it is so clean.

    Total cost of an EV, c/mile = Operating cost, c/mile + Owning cost, c/mile, i.e., amortizing the difference of the MSRPs of an EV versus an equivalent, efficient gasoline vehicle; no options, no destination charge, no sales tax, no subsidies.

    CO2 reduction is the difference of the CO2 emissions of an EV and of an equivalent, efficient gasoline vehicle, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis.

    It may not be such a good idea to have a proliferation of EVs, because of:

    1) Their high initial capital costs; about 50% greater than equivalent gasoline vehicles.
    2) The widespread high-speed charging facilities required for charging “on the road”.
    3) The loss of valuable time when charging “on the road”.
    4) The high cost of charging/kWh, plus exorbitant penalties, when charging “on-the-road”.

    High-Mileage Hybrids a Much Better Alternative Than EVs

    The Toyota Prius, and Toyota Prius plug-in, which get up to 54 mpg, EPA combined, would:

    1) Have much less annual owning and operating costs than any EV, for at least the next ten years.
    2) Have minimal wait-times, as almost all such plug-ins would be charging at home
    3) Be less damaging to the environment, because their batteries would have very low capacity, kWh
    4) Impose much less of an additional burden on the electric grids.

    Hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, save about the same amount of CO₂ as electric cars over their lifetime, plus:

    1) They are cost competitive with gasoline vehicles, even without subsidies.
    2) They have none of the EV downsides, such as:

    – Not requiring EV chargers,
    – Not inducing range anxiety
    – Refilling in minutes, instead of hours.

    3) Climate change does not care about where CO₂ comes from.
    Gasoline cars are only about 7% of global CO2 emissions,
    Replacing them with electric cars would only help a little.

    “Electrify Everything”, an easily uttered slogan

    It would require:

    – Additional electricity generation plants, such as nuclear, wind, solar, and hydro
    – Additional grid augmentation/expansion to carry increased loads for future EVs and heat pumps
    – Additional battery systems to store the midday solar electricity surges for later use, aka, DUCK-curve management.
    – Major command/control-orchestrating to avoid overloading distribution and high voltage electric grids regarding:

    1) Charging times and duration of EVs and heat pumps
    2) Operating times of major appliances
    3) Control of electricity demands of commercial/industrial businesses

    New England Poor Wind and Solar Conditions

    New England has the worst wind conditions, except for the US South, and the worst solar conditions, except for the rainy Seattle area

    “Electrify everything” would be a major challenge just to figure out (never mind the cost and environmental impact of implementing it), how all this would actually be working during:

    1) Five to seven-day periods, when both wind and solar are minimal (such periods occur at random throughout the year), and
    2) Multi-day periods of cold weather, 0 F or less, with snow and ice on solar panels, while electricity demands of heat pumps and EVs would be maximal.

  6. Typical Vermont MO – take money from our children and make them pay interest on it for another STUPID climate idea. It is amazing what they will claim is COVID related. They are so full of it. If that Covid money is not being used to help a business stay in business through a forced shut down as a bridge. Or help someone who’s job has temporarily disappeared and not for someone who COULD be working but prefers to sit on their butt and collect funds then those funds should go straight back to the debt. This is ridiculous – how in the hell are they getting away with this misappropriation of funds! Aren’t there guidelines that would prevent them from doing this? I’ve ripped up two checks that I received because I want to be able to look by nieces in the eye. Even though I really could have used that money. I will NOT take funds from their future. I wish our leaders had a little integrity. It is IMMORAL for us to crush their future with debt. UGH! SO irresponsible.

  7. From the article linked below, which shows electric cars are not nearly as clean as they pretend. It is a pretend clean. Do the $15/hour minimum wage promoters really believe in minimum wages and healthy work conditions? Maybe someone there in Vermont can present this to Phil Scott.”

    “This remote landscape in southern Africa lies at the heart of the world’s mad scramble for cheap cobalt, a mineral essential to the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles made by companies such as Apple, Samsung and major automakers.

    The world’s soaring demand for cobalt is at times met by workers, including children, who labor in harsh and dangerous conditions. An estimated 100,000 cobalt miners in Congo use hand tools to dig hundreds of feet underground with little oversight and few safety measures, according to workers, government officials and evidence found by The Washington Post during visits to remote mines. Deaths and injuries are common. And the mining activity exposes local communities to levels of toxic metals that appear to be linked to ailments that include breathing problems and birth defects, health officials say.”

  8. The Socialists believe they can ration the amount of energy used through (1) controlling what is produced (by controlling the means of production) and (2) rationing the amount of energy distributed into homes and businesses. The latter is the reason for wanting all electric vehicles. Once the power source is centralized, it can be monitored and rationed.

    • The unspoken agenda of Vermont’s socialists is de-growth and deindustrialization. The degrading of our energy grid helps to accomplish this. The socialists want managed-decline. This can only occur in a totalitarian and authoritarian regime.

  9. “Currently, a 2021 Nissan Leaf lists for over $40,000, and the buyer can apply for up to $7,500 in federal tax rebates”.

    The $40,000 MSRP is for a vehicle with much less utility than an IC vehicle that costs at about $25,000, such as an ALL-WHEEL-DRIVE Subaru Outback, which gets 30 MPG

    Amortizing the $15,000 cost difference at 3.5% over 10 years, and driving 100,000 miles, would be $1779.95 per year, or about 18 c/mile, on top of the about 6 – 7 c/mile for electricity.

    MASS ADOPTION BY over-taxed, over-regulated Vermonters, who do not have money to pay for:

    1) EVs
    2) Chargers at home and on the road
    3) Grid expansion/augmentation, to connect additional wind and solar, and to serve the greater demand of EVs and heat pumps
    4) Additional electricity generation plants to serve consumption of EVs and heat pumps
    5) Utility-scale battery storage in case of wind and solar build-outs, and DUCK-curve management, as proposed by EAN “to meet Paris”

    NOTE: On-the-road data from privately owned EVs was analyzed: 158,468,000 miles from 21,600 EVs
    EV travel ranges from 9,548 to 9.697 miles/y. This article uses 10,560 miles/y. See table 7
    See page 17 of URL

    NOTE: Gasoline vehicles travel about 11,467 miles/y
    See image in URL


    EAN used a simplified method of CO2 reduction analysis, and calculation parameters which yielded very large reductions of CO2 per EV.


    A vastly more realistic CO2 reduction analysis would be based on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis. Here is an example.

    Description of More-Inclusive Method used in this Article

    Any CO2 reduction analysis must be the difference of the CO2 emissions of an EV and an equivalent gasoline vehicle, on a lifetime/A-to-Z basis. Such evaluations of EVs versus gasoline vehicles have been performed for at least 25 years. All show EVs would reduce very little CO2 compared with efficient light-duty vehicles, LDVs, using gasoline or diesel.

    As future electric grid CO2 emissions, g CO2/kWh, decrease more and more (a decades-long process), EVs would reduce CO2 emissions more and more, compared with LDVs, using gasoline and diesel.

    Engineers, including at Vermont Energy Action Network, EAN, very well know, a proper evaluation of EVs versus gasoline vehicles must be based on:

    1) Lifetime/A-to-Z basis such as the 105,600 miles for 10 years used in this article. Usually, batteries are manufacturer-warranted for 8 years. Very few people would replace an old battery with an expensive, new battery in a 10-y-old EV, i.e., the EV likely would be scrapped. See Notes.

    2) CO2 of a gallon of gasoline = CO2 of upstream energy, 5.759 lb/gal + CO2 of combustion energy, 17.612 lb/gal = 23.371 lb/gal. EAN ignored upstream CO2

    3) CO2 of NE grid, 304 g/kWh, per ISO-NE; EAN used an artificial/concocted 34 g CO2/kWh.
    See URL

    4) CO2 embodied energy in the vehicle body and battery; EAN ignored embodied CO2

    5) Comparison of EVs with efficient gasoline vehicles; EAN used the VT LDV fleet average of 22.7 mpg.
    Typically, EVs replace vehicles that have 30 mpg or better.

    6) Long-term wall meter and vehicle meter readings, obtained during real-world driving conditions, as show in the above four examples.

    The more-inclusive method would yield a CO2 reduction of only 3.035 Mt/EV/y, on a lifetime/A-to-Z basis, which would include: 1) the CO2 of upstream energy, and 2) the CO2 embedded in the vehicle, 3) a realistic g CO2/kWh for EV electricity. See table 6 and 7.

    EAN would need 4.5/3.035 x 90,000 = 133,443 EVs, plus chargers, to reduce 0.405 MMT/y by 2025, if the VT LDV mix,
    22.7-mpg, were used for comparison. See tables 6 and 7

    EAN would need 4.5/1.705 x 90,000 = 237,537 EVs, plus chargers, to reduce 0.405 MMt/y by 2025, if a Subaru Outback, 30-mpg, were used for comparison.

    Whether 90,000 or 237,537, such increases in EVs, by end 2025, are a total fantasy, because, the capital cost would be at least $10.0 BILLION, at $40,000/EV, which over-taxed, over-regulated Vermonters do not have to pay for:

    1) EVs
    2) Chargers at home and on the road
    3) Grid expansion/augmentation, to connect additional wind and solar, and to serve the greater demand of EVs and heat pumps
    4) Additional electricity generation plants to serve consumption of EVs and heat pumps
    5) Utility-scale battery storage in case of wind and solar build-outs, as proposed by EAN “to meet Paris”

    NOTE: The EAN “parameters” likely were chosen to deceive non-technical Legislators and non-technical Vermonters to obtain favorable RE-subsidy legislation, such as the Global Warming “Solutions” Act, GWSA.

    – GWSA is designed to subsidize the RE companies of EAN members for decades, at everyone else’s expense.
    The members of the GWSA “Committee of 23” are the same or similar people, who presided over 20 years of government energy programs, costing about $2 billion, which had the net result of increasing Vermont’s CO2.

    – Vermonters would be much better served with increased energy efficiency of buildings and vehicles.
    See URLs for much more information.

    • There’s also another element to consider regarding VT’s cold weather and the efficiency of batteries.the colder, the less efficient. and in running such vehicles, the mileage will drop and more often re-charging is required. At a overnight outside charging also keeps the battery warm? Don’t think so. EV’s are a pie in the sky good for the “feel good” attitude of politicians.

      When I was in Fairbanks Alaska and rented a car, the dealer said the only car that stared at 50 below without the batteries having electric warming jackets was the KIA. In the cold, whether at home or work, the car was plugged in and a dipstick to keep the oil warm. Cars had two batteries.

      The northern states along the Canadian border all experience extreme cold, so much for efficient batteries. And they are expensive to replace when shot. I’ll keep my efficient nice F350 dually diesel. I get 20mpg and can do many things with it. Load plywood sheets or a ton load in an EV. Diesel fuel costs more than reg gas, loaded with taxes. Costs less to refine diesel, but costs more. I travel the country and know. Also go on the web site gasbuddy to see gas prices around the county from state to a neighborhood. I’ve had two diesels since 2003. Wouldn’t travel without and feel safer.

  11. “GOING EV” implies

    Grid Upgrades, Peak-Smoothing, Load-Shifting, Storage

    Vermont’s maximum grid load is about 1100 MW, and peak demand of users is about 900 MW, without significant quantities of heat pumps and EVs.

    Major distribution and high-voltage grid upgrades, peak-smoothing and load-shifting and electricity storage systems, using battery systems and demand management, would be required, if, in the future:

    – Vermont’s 200,000-plus EVs would plug in, demanding 200,000 x 9 kW; see table 2 = 1,800 MW, most of them recharging for 2 – 4 hours, some of them up to 10 hours, for next day driving.

    NOTE: Vermont total registered gas/diesel vehicles was 547,000 in 2019

    – Vermont’s 200,000-plus heat pumps would be operating, demanding 200,000 x 2.8 kW = 560 MW, for many hours on cold days, to heat buildings. Each free-standing, 2000 sq ft, well-sealed/well-insulated house, would require 2 such heat pumps. See URL

    “GOING HEAT PUMP” implies

    Heat Pumps are Money Losers in my Vermont House

    It is important to assess the cost and operating impacts of large-scale use of heat pumps on electricity generation, grid capacity and energy storage capacity, during the coldest days of the year, on an A-to Z basis.

    My annual electricity consumption increased about 50%, after I installed three 24,000 Btu/h heat pumps for heating and cooling my, well-sealed/well-insulated house. They displaced a fraction of my propane consumption.

    My existing propane system, 95%-efficient in condensing mode, is used on cold days, 15 F or less, because heat pumps would have low efficiencies, i.e., low Btu/kWh, at exactly the same time my house would need the most heat

    There have been no energy cost savings, because of high household electric rates, augmented with taxes, fees and surcharges.
    Amortizing the $24,000 capital cost at 3.5%/y for 15 years costs about $2,059/y.
    There likely will be service calls and parts, as the years go by, in addition to service calls and parts for the existing propane system.

  12. If the Governor and others think CO2 would be significantly reduced by Vermont “going” EV, they would be seriously mistaken.

    The reason for their thinking is not because they did their own CO2 analysis, because that is too complex for non-technical people.

    The reason for their thinking is they have been MISLED, by SELF-SERVING folks, who performed POLITICAL CO2 reduction analyses.

    Remember, these same self-serving folks have proposed 20 years of energy programs, and Vermont CO2 INCREASED during that time.

    It is obvious those folks should not be listened to, because they are either incompetent or misleaders, a polite word for liars.

    This article explains all in detail.



    EVs are Money Losers Compared to Efficient Gasoline Vehicles and Hybrids

    Increasing the use of high-mileage vehicles, such as hybrids, and getting gas-guzzlers off the road (which need not involve any government subsidies), would reduce CO2 at much less cost per vehicle, than would the government-subsidized replacement of light duty vehicles with EVs.

    The table shows the total cost of owning and operating four vehicles.

    The Nissan Kona EV, and Toyota Prius L eco hybrid, both without all-wheel-drive, AWD, are not as versatile as the Subaru Outback and the Tesla Model Y for New England conditions, especially in rural areas.
    All four have similar cargo space. See Part Four.

    The difference in vehicle purchase cost was amortized at 3.5% for 10 years. Subsidies were omitted.
    See table and Part Five

  13. Hey you idiots in Montpelier.. The Covid19 care package money wasn’t sent to VT for the friggin Climate change. It wasn’t for you to buy electric cars/buses.. It was for the small businesses and the people.. not your friggin pet projects.. You morons.. !!!! We need to get these fools out of the legislation NOW !!!!.. Let’s give them a one-way bus ticket back to where they came from..

  14. How about paying back the pension fund that was spent and never repaid? How about some money for small business? Turning VT upside down for green initiatives changes nothing in the climate change world. The data doesn’t support it. Pretty sure Covid relief isn’t meant for this bs. Maybe more vaccines for the immigrants? Teachers can’t get it but we must protect our non-English speakers first!

  15. Close businesses and then give the money to people to buy fancy cars?

    How does that help Vermont business? I didn’t realize we were a major auto manufacturer.

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