Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich issued a challenge to County residents and businesses this week to “Lead the EV Charge” by pledging to buy electric vehicles as the County launched the Washington Region’s first Electric Vehicle (EV) Purchasing Cooperative pilot program. The initiative is designed to accelerate the adoption of EVs by the public in an effort to reach the County’s Climate Action Plan goal of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2027 and a 100 percent reduction by 2035.
“If we are to achieve our Climate Action Plan goal of zero emissions by 2035, we will need to completely transition our transportation system away from fossil fuels, and we need to start right away,” County Executive Elrich said. “Community members and businesses who take the pledge to make their next vehicle electric will help demonstrate consumer demand for electric vehicles in Montgomery County. We are working to get more people into electric vehicles by making the purchasing process easier. Electric vehicles have lower emissions and operating costs and the program will make them more accessible. It’s going to take all of us doing our part to realize a cleaner future for our community.”
The pilot phase of the program is scheduled to run from January through May 2022. As a centerpiece of the pilot, County Executive Elrich is challenging residents and businesses to sign an online pledge stating that their next vehicle purchase will be a new or pre-owned electric vehicle. The County set a goal of getting 1,000 Montgomery County residents and 50 businesses to take the pledge this year.
“The transportation sector comprises 42 percent of Montgomery County’s community-wide greenhouse gas emissions,” said County’ Climate Change Officer and Acting Director of the Department of Environmental Protection Adriana Hochberg. “To reach Montgomery County’s climate goals we will need to transition from fossil-fuel vehicles to electric vehicles, walk and bike more and use more public transportation to get where we need to go”
Showing support will serve as the foundation for the purchasing cooperative, whereby the co-op members and partners will seek to educate residents and businesses and negotiate favorable pricing for EV purchases and leases on behalf of those who have taken the pledge.
The pledge is available on the County website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/zev.
“If you need to own a vehicle, an EV is great choice for you and your community,” said County Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin. “MCDOT has started the switch to a zero-emissions bus fleet, and we are asking residents and businesses to follow in our footsteps. By aggregating demand through the co-op, we will position ourselves to be able to negotiate favorable EV pricing, as well as draw attention to our region from EV manufacturers and dealers to increase supply. This program will be used as a model for the region.”
The program also will provide EV information resources for consumers and dealerships. The program includes an “EV Ambassador” program that encourages EV owners to share their experiences with community members and an “Electrified Dealer” program that offers EV training to dealerships sales teams.
Ron Kaltenbaugh, president of the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington DC (EVADC), said he supported the new initiative.
“EVADC has been active in the County since 1980, and our members have collectively driven millions of electric miles,” said Mr. Kaltenbaugh. “EV adoption is critical to eliminating transportation emissions, and EVADC is excited about the launch of this Montgomery County EV Purchase Cooperative and are looking forward to supporting it. We are happy to continue providing a forum for EV discussion and discovery and promoting the enormous benefits local families and businesses can reap from the transition to zero-emission electric vehicles.”
The Electrification Coalition, a nonprofit organization that works to facilitate widespread adoption of EVs across the country, will serve as the program’s lead implementation partner under a contract with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which also is providing guidance.
“Montgomery County is ready to Lead the EV Charge when it comes to deployment and adoption of EVs,” said Electrification Coalition Program Manager Matt Stephens-Rich. “This program will help empower residents and businesses to be a part of the solution for lowering emissions, improving air quality, strengthening energy security and supporting public health.”
To learn more about the Montgomery County Electric Vehicle Purchasing Cooperative pilot program, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/zev or email the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection at AskDEP@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov.