Employees from Clark Public Utilities volunteered their time during the Home and Garden Idea Fair to answer questions and to provide more information about electric vehicles (EV) and the resources the district offers.
At the EV Garage display on Saturday, April 29, CPU featured a list of three Level II chargers that qualify for the public utility’s charger rebate program. After a $400 rebate from CPU, the cost to purchase qualifying chargers ranges from $219 to $289. A Level II charger can be installed at a home by an electrician for an estimated $700, according to Matt Babbitts, with CPU.
The Level II charging system runs on 240 volts and is able to charge a vehicle in four to six hours.
Babbitts said electric vehicles are a clean and emissions-free way to commute.
“Here in the Pacific Northwest we are really fortunate to have the Bonneville Power Administration and the hydroelectric dam system on the Columbia River,” Babbitts said. “That usually supplies Clark Public Utilities with about 65% of the electricity that we sell to our customers.”
Babbitts said a wind farm in the Columbia River Gorge also supplies clean energy alongside a natural gas plant in Vancouver. CPU currently utilizes around 60% to 70% carbon free electricity, which is well above the national average of 40.6% in 2022.
“There is a carbon footprint with manufacturing specifically the batteries that are in these electric vehicles, so it does take some time of driving that vehicle with electricity to offset the emissions that came with manufacturing the battery,” Babbitts said.
EVs and CPU’s electricity supply are a prime example of how to reduce one’s carbon footprint, Babbitts said.
“We’ve done the calculations at Clark Public Utilities, and if you switch from a gas powered car to an EV and charge using our electricity, it’s about a 90% reduction in your annual emissions from your vehicle,” he said.
In Clark County alone, Babbitts said there are around 7,500 registered electric vehicles, and that number continues to grow as more EV models hit the market.
Apex Mechanical displayed three different styles of EVs at the Home and Garden Idea Fair at the Clark County Event Center, which included the newest SUV by Rivian.
Clark Public Utilities has aggressive plans to bring on an EV fleet.
“We do face some mandates at the state level from Olympia, which we are of course meeting,” Babbitts said. “We have kind of turned that corner where there are enough models out there and enough different variations like work vans that can really meet the needs of our facility’s electricians.”
Work vans and other varieties of EVs have helped CPU reduce its carbon emissions, especially for many of CPU’s travel needs within an 80- to 90-mile range.
“Our field services crew will be switching over to electric vehicles later this year, so all of those field workers you see driving around in little Ford SUVs will now be in little electric SUVs,” Babbitts said.
He added the switch of vehicles for the field services crew will have a large impact on lowering emissions at Clark Public Utilities.
Anyone who has questions or would like to learn more about EVs can contact Clark Public Utilities by phone at 360-992-3000 or by going online to clarkpublicutilies.com.
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