On LI, the electric-vehicle revolution is fully charged

Lighting up: With one in five Americans desiring an electric vehicle, the future of EV transportation is bright indeed, according to John Billard.

It’s National Drive Electric Week, and drivers across the country are showing off their electric vehicles.

Americans are looking towards the future when it comes to their vehicles. According to a 2018 AAA survey, 20 percent of Americans want their next vehicle to be electric. Fortunately, the future of electric vehicles is only looking better and brighter than ever – particularly right here on Long Island.

Last fall, Ford partnered with Nassau Community College to educate the campus and the public about electric vehicles and sustainability. However, many Long Islanders are still unaware of the many upsides of driving electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles, or EVs, come in three types: hybrids, which use both a battery and gasoline as a source of power; plug-in hybrids, whose batteries can also be recharged by plugging into an external source of power; and all-electric vehicles, which are solely powered via plugging in at a charging station. In any shape or size, electric vehicles save their drivers some serious money.

John Billard: Electric avenue.

There are a number of benefits for Long Islanders who drive electric vehicles. EV drivers are eligible for New York’s Clean Pass Program, which enables single-occupancy electric vehicles to drive in the HOV lane on the Long Island Expressway. EV drivers can even get a 10 percent discount from E-Z Pass on their tolls through their Green Pass Discount program. And at the federal level, EV drivers are eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits.

New York has an additional Drive Clean Rebate, which offers up to $2,000 in rebates at the point of sale to New Yorkers who buy a new electric vehicle. In the first year after the rebate went into effect (in March 2017), 5,750 New Yorkers received a rebate for buying a new electric vehicle. Long Island led the state in the number of rebates received, with almost one-third going to Long Islanders.

All of these benefits are in addition to what drivers save at the pump. As of August 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a driver of an electric vehicle in New York saves $1.23 per “gallon” compared to their non-electric counterparts. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority estimates that electric vehicle owners save anywhere from 50 to 70 percent per mile.

It seems like a golden age for green vehicles. But, in fact, they are just getting started. Automakers are on the precipice of a new horizon for all things electric. Ford is making an all-in push on hybrid-electrics and intends to introduce hybrid versions, either traditional or plug-in, for every new SUV introduced.

The future of electric vehicles has never been brighter – and all Long Islanders will benefit.

Mr. Billard is president of Hempstead Ford Lincoln and chairman of the Tri State Ford Advertising Board.