Governor Dan McKee  & “Energy Commissioner” Nicholas Ucci announced a rather flawed, poorly thought out, almost cartoonish trial balloon kind of Electric Vehicle Rebate Program today. Long on flash, (It’s got the requisite snappy gub’ment name DRIVEEV … Get it? Drive EV) but short on specifics, the announcement seemed more “Campaignish” that an attempt at a serious policy initiative. And while the first sunshine of early spring helped in maintaining the feel good nature of the event, and the proposed legislation, Mr. Ucci and his staff’s embarrassing inability to provide any real specifics brought to mind virtually every campaign stump speech ever made. The objections of your reporter, Pat Ford, and others were met with the now ubiquitous request to circle back. Suggestion? Watch the video for the Q&A, to see just how NOT ready for Prime Time this proposal, and this crew really is.
From Governor Dan McKee:
Governor Dan McKee, joined by Energy Commissioner Nicholas S. Ucci, announced today the establishment of an electric vehicle (EV) rebate program by the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER). The program, called DRIVEEV, will be made available to state residents by the summer of 2022 and supported by an initial $1.25 million commitment by OER.
The adoption of sustainable transportation solutions, such as electric vehicles for commuters and fleets, is crucial to Rhode Island’s fight against climate change and achieving the mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals contained in the 2021 Act on Climate. The Act on Climate requires a 45 percent reduction in the state’s GHG emissions by 2030, leading to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. Currently, the transportation sector accounts for more than one-third of statewide greenhouse gas emissions
Speaking at an event held at the Capital Good Fund’s new Level 3 electric vehicle fast charging station, the Governor highlighted complementary funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that will be used to increase the number of publicly available electric vehicle charging stations across Rhode Island. Together, the two initiatives will increase electric vehicle adoption and ensure more convenient and accessible charging locations for commuters.
“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,” said Governor McKee. “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 frontline communities. My budget also includes $23 million in federal funds to expand our network of electric vehicle charging stations. When combined, these investments will encourage more Rhode Islanders to invest in electric vehicles and support the state’s progress toward a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.”
The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) will administer the DRIVEEV program and direct existing, non-general revenue funds to support its launch.
“Governor 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,” said State Energy Commissioner Nicholas S. Ucci. “Cost and range anxiety are two significant barriers to electric vehicle adoption and, thanks to the Governor’s leadership, we are now addressing both. Coupled with proposed investment in our state’s charging station network, this EV rebate program will help reduce GHG emissions and other pollution-driven impacts from our transportation sector. Accordingly, OER is focused on providing additional support to those who need it the most, such as those living in communities with high asthma rates.”
In December 2021, the McKee Administration submitted a comprehensive report to the General Assembly that provides strategic policy guidance for improving access to electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the state. This guide may be viewed at http://www.energy.ri.gov/evplan.
OER is now working to finalize the DRIVEEV incentive program and anticipates releasing a draft program proposal for public review and comment at the next full meeting of Rhode Island’s Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) on April 7th.
To read more about how Rhode Island is addressing climate change mitigation and resiliency, please visit: http://climatechange.ri.gov.

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