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July 24, 2023 Other Voices

EV growth represents electric opportunity for CT’s commercial businesses

Gabe Phillips

Electric vehicles are expected to experience significant growth in the next 10 years, ushering in the EV revolution.

A recent report by BloombergNEF projected the global EV market to grow to over 540 million vehicles by 2040 — that’s an eye-popping average annual growth rate of 29%.

According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of EVs on the road in the U.S. is projected to reach 20 million by 2030, representing approximately 7% of all passenger vehicles.

I think the IEA’s projection is closer to the floor and that EV sales will far exceed those projections. Policy has joined with product innovation to supercharge this growth.

Major U.S. states, including New York and California, have set ambitious targets for EV adoption, aiming for 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.

The Biden administration, and the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, will spur investment in charging infrastructure and incentivize consumers to purchase EVs.

However, to support the widespread adoption of EVs, an extensive and reliable electric vehicle charging network is required. While governments and utilities can play a role in building this infrastructure, commercial businesses will play a critical role in expanding and sustaining the EV charging network.

The requirements for refueling an EV are very different from gasoline cars. It takes time to refuel, or recharge, an electric vehicle.

That simple fact is what makes commercial businesses so important for expanding the reach of the EV charging network. Customers and employees will value the ability to charge while they shop, work or run errands. The existing parking infrastructure at shopping malls, restaurants, and office buildings is an asset ready to be unlocked.

That is why EV growth represents an electric opportunity for Connecticut’s commercial businesses. By utilizing their existing on-site parking infrastructure to add EV charging, businesses can reap multiple rewards: provide an employee and customer perk, while adding a revenue stream and accessing state and federal incentives.

Here are the different benefits and incentives available to commercial businesses:

Tax credits: The U.S. federal government offers a tax credit of up to 30% of the cost of installing EV charging stations for businesses. This credit is available through the end of 2023.

Grants: Several states and local governments offer rebates or grants to businesses to help cover the costs of installing EV charging stations. These grants may cover up to 80% of the cost of the charging station.

Rebates: In 2021, Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority established a nine-year program to support the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Under the state’s Electric Vehicle Charging Program, commercial customers of Eversource and United Illuminating Co. are eligible for rebates of up to $250,000 for some projects.

Property tax exemption: A 2022 state law provides a property tax exemption to level two EV charging stations (that supply 208- to 240-volt alternating currents) on commercial or industrial property.

Increased revenue: Installing EV charging stations can attract new customers and increase revenue for businesses, especially those in high-traffic areas or near highways. In addition, businesses can collect user charging fees.

Public relations: Businesses that install EV charging stations can benefit from positive publicity by showing their commitment to sustainability and reducing emissions.

The EV revolution is inevitable, and it’s a momentous change. That change comes at a time when it is more important than ever to make your business stand out to attract customers and employees.

For smart Connecticut businesses, that represents an opportunity. For early adopters, becoming “the place” where customers and employees charge their vehicles is the most important value.

Gabe Phillips is the CEO of Catalyst Power, a clean energy services provider for the commercial and industrial sectors.

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