May 11, 2021 - News

Minnesota makes a play to get more electric vehicles on the road

Reproduced from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; Chart: Axios Visuals

With an administrative judge giving Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and the Pollution Control Agency authority to implement clean cars' emission rules, there's fresh hope that the state will see an even steeper rise in electric vehicle sales.

How it works: The initiative would require manufacturers to deliver more EVs and hybrids. Minnesota would become the 15th state to adopt such rules.

Context: Minnesota has a very small number of EVs on the roads — just 18,759 as of February, or about 1 in every 400 cars, according to PCA data.

  • Their popularity is growing. In 2018, EVs accounted for 1 out of every 100 new vehicle sales, according to evadoption.
  • But that still lags way behind California and Washington, where 1 out of 13 and 1 out of 23 new vehicles sold were electric, respectively.

Supporters of the "clean cars" rules say forcing dealers to carry more EVs will lead to more sales, though dealers argue it will stick them with unpopular cars that don't sell.

  • "There are 40 or so models of EVs out right now, but at any given time you might find less than half of them available in Minnesota. That's because the states that have these clean car rules are the ones that are getting the most vehicles," Paul Austin of Conservation Minnesota told Axios.

Yes, but: A 2020 Consumer Reports survey indicated that EV availability is not even close to being the biggest factor holding Minnesotans back from going electric.

  • Only 10% of those surveyed cited lack of options as a factor.
  • 50% said the cost was too high, 43% cited a lack of public charging stations and 36% said the range was a concern.

What's next: While increasing the number of EVs for sale might solve a small piece of the puzzle, it still faces an uncertain future.

  • Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) said his caucus will shut down state parks by not passing an environmental budget if Walz and the MPCA don't back back down, according to the Star Tribune.

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