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Photo by John DarlingAn electric vehicle charing station on Lithia Way.

City juices up electric vehicle savings

In another step toward de-fossilization of energy fuels, the city of Ashland has started a plan, the Empower EV Incentive, that will pay electric utility customers for the first year of their electric vehicle (EV) power — or for a workplace charger.

“What we’re trying to do is incentivize any city electric customer to get an EV or get workplace chargers for their company fleet or vehicles of employees,” says Stuart Green, Ashland city climate and energy analyst.

The program started Sept. 1 and can now sign up customers, offering $300 for battery electric vehicles, $200 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or $500 to install a workplace charger. To qualify, you must buy your EV between Sept. 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019.

“Anyone can go for the vehicle incentive. We have lots of energy conservation programs. We’re trying to get people off fossil fuels and into more carbon-friendly programs. It’s a fun fact, but I think accurate, that an average family in Ashland getting an EV is one of the most effective things they can do to reduce carbon emissions.”

The money part of it works like this: You buy an EV. You stop buying gasoline. After the first free year of “juice” for your vehicle, you start paying for the electricity. The city is our energy company. The money we pay them for vehicle power goes into the city’s general fund. It helps pay for energy-saving, carbon-reducing programs like this one.

The incentive amounts are about the amount to run your vehicle for a year, if you mostly just drive around town, says Green, and can vary widely, depending on the type of vehicle and other factors. The charging time on a workplace charger is about an hour for enough to drive around town for a day.

You can find rules, guidelines, application steps, availability of incentives and location of public charging stations at ashland.or.us/ev and ashland.chooseev.com and www.ashland.or.us/EmpowerEV.

John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

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