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Dustyn Thompson is on his third electric vehicle. He’s bought a Kia Soul, Nissan Leaf, and this year, a 2023 Tesla Model 3.
The Tesla’s sticker price was $38,000, but with a $7,500 federal tax credit and a $2,500 rebate from the state of Delaware, the electric-powered sedan cost him $28,000.
Thompson also has charging capability at home and says the electricity cost is minimal, certainly far lower than buying gasoline, which currently costs about $3.50 a gallon.
The Wilmington-area resident isn’t your average Delawarean, though. He heads the state’s chapter of the Sierra Club environmental protection group and is committed to being in the vanguard of the local effort to reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.
To that end, Thompson applauds two new electric vehicle-related laws that Gov. John Carney signed Thursday.
One law codifies a $2,500 rebate for Delaware residents who buy new EVs, and $1,000 for new plug-in hybrid vehicles, and for the first time extends the rebate to buyers of pre-owned vehicles. To qualify for the state rebate, the cost of the vehicle cannot exceed $50,000. Dozens of eligible vehicles are listed on the state’s website.
The other measure requires that starting in January, all new single-family homes statewide to have EV charging infrastructure. That means builders must add the necessary wiring, conduit, and junction box. That law also requires that starting in 2025, all new apartment and condominium complexes must have EV charging stations in 5% of parking spaces, with the charging infrastructure in another 10% of spaces.
Thompson also hopes the Carney administration follows through on its plan to adopt California’s Zero-Emission Vehicle program. The regulation would require that in 2035, all new cars, SUVs, and light trucks for sale at Delaware dealerships must be EVs. That number would start at 35% of new cars sold in 2026 and increase each year.
The proposal has generated pushback from Republican lawmakers, who held a series of town halls during the spring. Delaware environmental secretary Shawn Garvin, who has the ultimate say, is still mulling whether to adopt the regulation.
State environmental secretary Shawn Garvin is mulling whether to adopt California’s Zero-Emission Program that will require that by 2035, new cars, SUVs, and light trucks on Delaware dealership lots must be EVs. (State of Delaware)
Delaware would be the 15th state to adopt the standard. Among Delaware’s neighbors, Maryland and New Jersey have adopted the rule, but Pennsylvania has not.
Thompson said the new laws and the California regulation are needed to cut the state’s dependence on vehicles with fossil fuel-burning internal combustion engines. Doing so on a local and global scale, he said, will help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and protect the state and the rest of the planet from devastating climate change.
“We have to move forward on a lot of different fronts all at one time and we have to do it immediately if we’re going to have any hope of saving the environment for future generations,’’ Thompson said. “Transportation is a huge part of that. Electrifying transportation is the current best way possible to reduce and eventually eliminate the impact” of greenhouse gas emissions.
He said the rebate, “if that’s all we were doing, is not even close to being enough. But if you combine that with making sure that when folks are ready to go EV that our infrastructure’s there, and you add in the [California regulations] to make sure the cars are on the lot, it all comes together to greatly impact the transportation portion of our emission portfolio.”