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Local organization pushes WA bill that would mandate electric cars by 2030

Feb 1, 2021, 11:29 AM

electric cars...

An electric car and a plug-in hybrid car charge at a public charging station on Oct. 12, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Germany is hoping to encourage electric car sales as a means to brining down CO2 emissions and combat climate change. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

One locally based organization, Coltura, is working for a gasoline-free America by 2040 or sooner. Right now, the organization is trying to pass Clean Cars 2030, a bill in Washington state Legislature that requires cars made in model year 2030 or later be electric.

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“What the bill does is that it says that you can’t buy a 2032 gas car, for example, and register it in Washington,” explained Coltura founder Matthew Metz.

General Motors is planning to phase out all gasoline engines, KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross pointed out, but if that does not happen, doesn’t that leave a lot of people in the lurch?

“Well, not really, because electric vehicles will be available in pretty much every single model type, and so people will be able to drive whatever kind of car that they want,” Metz said. “It just will be electric rather than gas.”

This is the way the world is going, Metz added.

“Most of Europe now has similar policies. For example, the United Kingdom, by 2030, it’s the exact same thing,” he said. “You’re not going to be able to register a new model year 2030 gas car in England anymore either.”

Coltura recently had some polling don in the state that suggests there’s a lot of support for a switch to electric cars.

“It was 59% of people in favor versus 35% opposed,” Metz said. “And among Republicans, it was very close, it was 49% opposed to 46% in favor. So it actually has a fairly strong bipartisan appeal. Independents, I think, I don’t have numbers in front of me, but it was about like 55-45 among independents.”

So, as KIRO Radio reporter Chris Sullivan asked, if 60% of people want electric cars but only 4% of cars being sold in the state are electric, why haven’t people put their money where their mouth is?

“First of all, we’re looking at 2030 and not 2020,” Metz replied. “So by 2030, there will be a lot more electric cars available. There’ll be a lot more public knowledge about the cars. There will be more charging available everywhere, so it will be an easier experience. But I think, actually, one of the biggest problems is just lack of understanding and knowledge about electric cars.”

“In other countries, and in California right now, they’re up to about 10%. So the momentum is gaining and … a lot of it has to do with consumer education,” Metz added.

Additionally, price could be a barrier for some at this point as the average price of an electric, Sullivan says, is about $20,000 more than an average gas car.

“A lot of people have looked at this question, including investment banks, and J.P. Morgan just came out with a study. They say by 2024, the sticker price of a gas car is going to be the same as for electric cars,” Metz said. “… And it may even get a little bit cheaper as we go forward. So the battery prices are coming down a lot, and so that’s driving everything towards parity.”

“I think where that [$20,000] number comes from is that since most of the cars being sold right now are Teslas — I think almost 70-75% electric cars that are being sold in the U.S. are Teslas — and that’s kind of up market, luxury car, and so that started driving the curve upward. But if you compare sort of apples to apples, which would be, let’s say, a Chevy Bolt and … a Honda Civic or something like that, that is going to be more like $4000, $5000.”

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As far as the Clean Cars 2030 bill, Metz didn’t want to make any predictions as to whether it will pass, but he thinks there will be a strong push.

“We’re trying our best, … but there’s always things that come in from the side. So I’m not going to make any predictions, but I do think you’re going to see a really strong push.”

If it doesn’t pass, Metz says they haven’t yet looked into running an initiative and it would be expensive to run one, but he does believe in working through the Legislatures.

“I think there’s something about that process that’s healthy, that brings a lot of people together, … so that’s our first option is just to try to work with the Legislature and get it done,” he said. “We have a lot of good legislators in Olympia, so hopefully we can find a way to work with them.”

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Local organization pushes WA bill that would mandate electric cars by 2030