Oregon Governor Kate Brown Opens Electric Vehicle Ride & Drive Event at State Capitol

Earlier this week Drive Oregon hosted an Electric Vehicle “Ride & Drive” at the Oregon State Capitol. The event attracted dozens of legislators, staff, and community members all enthusiastic to learn more about going electric. Attendees had the opportunity to test drive a variety of EVs – including the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Chevy Bolt, Ford, and BMW i3, and electric bicycles.

The event was held as the Oregon Legislature considers HB 2704, a measure that would provide a rebate of up to $2,500 for electric vehicles and a larger rebate of up to $250,000 for electric transit buses. The package also includes funding for demonstration projects to increase electric vehicle use in low income households most heavily impacted by air pollution and high transportation costs.

Governor Kate Brown provided opening remarks, emphasizing the economic and environmental benefits of electric vehicles for Oregon:

“Oregon has blazed new trails by investing in the West Coast Electric Highway and pursing strategies to help reach our greenhouse gas reduction goals,” she said. “More and more, Oregon drivers are turning to electric vehicles as a clean, cost effective transportation option, and Drive Oregon is making electric vehicle ownership accessible to even more Oregonians, while supporting continued innovation in Oregon’s related industries.”

Jeff Allen, Executive Director of Drive Oregon, noted, “For most families, transportation is the second highest monthly expense. The average Oregon family can save hundreds of dollars per month driving an electric vehicle – and that extra savings can help them buy clothing, food, and healthcare for their children. Plus, when families shift spending away from gasoline, more of that money stays in Oregon, contributing to economic growth and increasing tax revenue.”

“Cash on the hood” incentives are widely believed to be the best way to drive increased electric vehicle sales. These types of incentives have worked in California, Washington, and Norway. The opposite is also true; electric vehicle sales dropped 80% after Georgia eliminated its state incentive. HB 2704 is sponsored by Representative Helm. You can follow its progress throughout the legislative session on the Oregon Legislature’s website.