House Agriculture Committee holds a hearing on Electric Vehicles

The Electric Chevy Silverado pick-up truck has a range of 400 miles and 664 horsepower. David Strickland, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at General Motors, says it’s got the same performance as the original to get the job done on the farm.

“We have every expectation to be able to meet the wants and the needs of Rural America and for farmers to have that same capability. In addition to that, you know that you’ve seen some advantages with an electric vehicle because it also out in the field, it becomes an individual power supply or power plant for other missing tools that may need to be charged.”

GM expects the new Silverado to roll out next year. In the meantime, the Renewable Fuels Association says biofuels and the renewable fuel standard are still the best way to reduce emissions now.

“It is law that’s been on the books for more than 15 years now we have seen significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions result from the renewable fuel standard. In fact, one study estimates we’ve seen nearly a billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided because of the renewable fuel standard and the use of biofuels under that program. So, we agree that a strong RFS that is consistent with the statutory intent of the program is fundamental to decarbonizing transportation.”

Several lawmakers expressed concerns about the additional power draw on rural electric grids. Lincoln Wood, the Electrification Policy Manager for the Georgia Southern Company says they are planning to invest $1.3 billion to improve resiliency and cyber security.

“Utilities are constantly looking at the electric grid to upgrade or make more resilient for all these reasons, but a couple specific activities that we’re working on. Might be automated line devices. And so we can isolate the source of that and make a smaller impact to the grid itself. It could be maintenance at a substation or rebuilding the entire substation if needed to increase reliability. It could be even for our transmission system, rebuilding even the structures if those who needed.”

The RFA also called for consistency on how the carbon footprints of all vehicles are measures.

For ethanol, carbon footprint regulators count the emissions associated with every step in the supply chain from planting the seed all the way to delivering the fuel to the consumer at retail. For the carbon footprint of electric vehicles, however, the upstream emissions associated with electricity generation and battery manufacturing are often overlooked, giving the false impression that electric vehicles are zero emission vehicles.”

The RFA believes any future decarbonization policy should take a technology neutral, performance-based approach focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

During the hearing, witnesses also said one of the biggest barriers for electric vehicles is consumer education on the benefits of going electric.


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