Rural concerns raised around Illinois’ push for electric vehicles

012518 Senate Energy Electric Vehicles Hearing pic
Electric cars can both make the power grid more resilient and vulnerable, experts say. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Rural concerns raised around Illinois’ push for electric vehicles

Video Embed

(The Center Square) – As Gov. J.B. Pritzker continues his push for 1 million electric vehicles on Illinois roads by 2030, some legislators say Pritzker is pushing an unrealistic plan.

In July 2022, the Pritzker administration announced the start of Illinois’ Electric Vehicle Rebate Program, which brings about a $4,000 taxpayer-funded rebate for consumers who buy an electric car and a $1,500 rebate for electric motorcycles.

The program is part of a $17.9 million taxpayer-funded plan to pay for rebates on electric vehicle purchases. The state has also set aside over $85 million in grant funding for all-electric public transit.

Pritzker joined stakeholders Tuesday for the Illinois Medium and Heavy Duty Electric Vehicle Policy Bootcamp hosted by the Electrification Coalition.

“As governor, I’m working with industry partners to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles and to fight climate change,” Pritzker said. “I’m excited to welcome the Electrification Coalition to Illinois, as our state’s manufacturing workforce is the best in the nation and second to none. Together, we have an opportunity to shape the next frontier of electrification, and it starts right here.”

The average cost of an electric vehicle in Illinois is nearly $39,000, which state Rep. David Friess, R-Red Bud, said is an unrealistic ask for your average Illinoisan.

“You don’t have 1972 EVs riding around because they weren’t here, so they’re going to have to be new,” Friess said. “People do not have that money lying around to buy an EV. They just don’t. The average working person in lower middle income does not have that kind of money.”

Pritzker said the push toward EVs and the assistance being offered to those who purchase one is helping those working class citizens.

“It’s investments like these and more that are meeting the needs of the industry, while creating opportunities for hard working Illinoisans at every turn,” Pritzker said.

According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois farmland covers 27 million acres, which is about 75% of the state’s total land area. Friess said that makes Pritzker’s plan unrealistic.

“In my area and most of southern Illinois, we are talking about rural communities. Going from point A to point B in an EV then having to get a charge somewhere is just not practical,” Friess said. “It makes zero sense.”

According to previous reporting by The Center Square, the EV program has awarded $19 million in rebates. The law requires Illinois EPA to prioritize application reviews from lower-income buyers and award them with rebates. However, the program also subsidized the purchase of 121 BMWs, 101 Audi E-trons, 25 Lucid Air Grand Touring, 25 Mercedes-Benzs, and 25 Porsches, vehicles that are typically purchased at a much higher price point.

On top of the plan for 1 million EVs on the road by 2030, Pritzker aims to have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

© 2023 Washington Examiner
Facebook Comments