IDEAS: Policies that promote electric vehicle sales and production mean better jobs

FILE - This Oct. 17, 2018 photo shows a Chevrolet Volt hybrid car charging at a ChargePoint charging station at a parking garage in Los Angeles.  The country, and the world, will need thousands more for drivers to accept vehicles that are powered by batteries alone. But automakers and charging companies are struggling to raise the numbers now because they’re investing before demand arrives. With more than 40 fully electric vehicles on the market in the U.S. or coming within the next three years, however, auto and charging company executives say the demand is on the way.(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
FILE - This Oct. 17, 2018 photo shows a Chevrolet Volt hybrid car charging at a ChargePoint charging station at a parking garage in Los Angeles. The country, and the world, will need thousands more for drivers to accept vehicles that are powered by batteries alone. But automakers and charging companies are struggling to raise the numbers now because they’re investing before demand arrives. With more than 40 fully electric vehicles on the market in the U.S. or coming within the next three years, however, auto and charging company executives say the demand is on the way.(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

There is no denying Ohio’s long and rich history in automotive manufacturing. To stay successful, the industry has stepped up to meet the challenges of ever-changing customer demands and advances in technology and design. As the CEO of Burhill Leasing here in Dayton, we see that demand growing for hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs).

Locally, the Miami Valley is rising to meet these changing demands. Efforts led by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission would result in eighteen new, publicly accessible EV charging stations in 11 communities across the area. The increase in charging stations sends a strong signal that our region is ready to encourage customers to consider EVs by making their use more convenient. This builds on the region’s long, rich history of technology development, from the airplane to the pop-top.

Unfortunately, we are not seeing the same willingness to embrace the advanced transportation future in our state policy. Currently, up-front and registration fees on hybrid and electric vehicles are among the highest in the nation and are higher than our neighboring states. Ohio charges $200 for all-electric vehicles, $200 for plug-in hybrids, and $100 for internal combustion hybrids. When these fees are more than $100 per vehicle, the adoption of electric vehicles slows by as much as 20 percent over the first few years. This does not indicate to automakers that Ohio is ready to lead the way in a clean transportation future.

Irv Moscowitz, CEO,
Burhill Leasing in Dayton, OH
Irv Moscowitz, CEO, Burhill Leasing in Dayton, OH

As auto dealers, we know that the more we sell of a particular car model, the better inventory we will secure for our customers. Likewise, we should be doing everything we can to bolster the growth of EV sales and production in Ohio rather than taking a pass on bringing better jobs to the state. According to JobsOhio, our state’s automotive sector employs over 108,000 people. In 2018, the number of people employed in the EV sector increased by nearly 17 percent. Our workforce is ready to meet these demands, but we need the support of our elected officials.

This support can be reflected in the state’s upcoming transportation budget. Increased electric vehicle fees can be reduced through the budget process, helping to offer greater incentives to buying an EV and demonstrating that our state is ready and willing to embrace innovation and encourage the development of new technologies. Business leaders in our area should be taking this opportunity to call on our officials to take this step forward. Reducing the fees by half will not have a significant impact on the state’s transportation budget but will be an unmistakable message that Ohio will do what it takes to promote EV sales and development. The state has already invested significantly in Lordstown Motors to support them in bringing the first all-electric pickup truck to market. Why would we set obstacles in their way or the way of other manufacturers like them?

The last year has been challenging for all businesses in Ohio. Those of us in the automotive industry were not exempt. We all are looking for help in bringing our customers back while continuing to grow and expand our markets. It is my sincere hope that the state of Ohio will follow the lead of the Miami Valley and take that step forward. Reducing the EV fees to $100 for all-electric vehicles, $50 for plug-in hybrids, and eliminating the fees on gasoline-only hybrids will reinforce Ohio’s commitment to doing all we can to position us as leaders in the new manufacturing economy.

Irv Moscowitz is the CEO of Burhill Leasing in Dayton

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