The Delaware GOP has scheduled five town hall meetings during the next two weeks that will focus on Gov. John Carney’s electric vehicle mandate.
That mandate to make 35% of new vehicles electric in Delaware by 2025 and 100% of new vehicle sales electric by 2035, is expected to trigger a raft of new regulations from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control this spring.
The GOP is opposed to the switch.
“Delaware does not need an EV sales mandate,” said Rep. Danny Short, R-Seaford. “EVs are not the right choice for everyone. EV range, utility and load-hauling capability remain challenges in many situations.
“And EVs impose greater hardships on modest-income families, and those living without in-home charging options (apartments, condos, urban areas with on-street parking).”
The town halls are expected to include three speakers: Dr. David Legates, a former Delaware state climatologist; David Stevenson, director of the Caesar Rodney Institute’s Center for Energy & Environmental Policy; and Shawn Garvin, secretary of DNREC.
Garvin will come to two of the five town halls, on March 23 and 30, and send a representative to at least one that he is not able to attend because of scheduling conflict.
The five town halls will all take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 21 at the Indian River Senior Center; March 23 at the Brandywine Hundred Fire Hall; March 28 at 160 Peoples Plaza’; and March 30, at Chambers Memorial Hall/Mill Creek Fire Hall.
A March 29 meeting doesn’t yet have a location.
Carney’s executive order is based on California’s zero emission vehicle regulations.
Legates and Stevenson served the Trump administration. Legates served as assistant secretary of Commerce for observation and prediction at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Stevenson was a part of Trump’s EPA transition team.
Public hearings on the proposed regulations will take place after DNREC releases its regulations.
“The underlying hubris of the electric vehicle mandate proponents is that anyone who disagrees must be forced to comply for their own good,” Short said. “I believe most Delawareans know when they’re being sold a lemon, even when the pitch is delivered with the skill of a used car salesman.”
Jane Brady, chair of the Delaware Republican Party, said Legates will talk about how carbon dioxide doesn’t impact climate change, while Stevenson will say that electric vehicles are too costly, don’t last long enough and are damaging to the environment.
Brady said electric vehicles one day will be able to solve many of the issues they currently face, but they should not be mandated until then.
“Taking away the option of choosing a different mode of transportation is the wrong way to go,” Brady said. “The technology certainly isn’t there to support the way that we live…Maybe someday electric cars will be so cheap everybody will want them, and they’ll be so good at going long distances that everybody will want them.”
Brady doesn’t believe the electric grid can’t handle an increase in electric vehicles. She pointed to California last year asking residents not to charge their vehicles between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. because of the drain on the power grid.
Delaware currently offers rebates of up to $2,500 on electric vehicles purchased before April 30, 2023, with rebates also available for hybrids or natural gas vehicles.
Brady said she also isn’t in favor of the state paying people to buy electric vehicles.
“It doesn’t really put it within reach of most people,” Brady said. “If you’re poor, no matter where you live, Delaware or anywhere, you’re not able to buy an electric car.
Even if the cars are given away, she said, “You still have to be able to charge it.”
The Delaware GOP has created a website for people to register for the town halls.
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