Imagine a not so distant future when you see more of these electric vehicles on the road in Maricopa County and across Arizona and the country.

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Or more electric vehicle charging stations at public places, highways, or major businesses.

Mayor Kate Gallego with Phoenix Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari. Photo from Office of Mayor Kate Gallego

For the city of Phoenix, that not so distant future has become now after a 15 member Ad-Hoc Committee (consisting of auto manufacturers, advocacy groups, utility companies, and experts) created by Mayor Kate Gallego and led by City Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari concluded a months long planning review with local residents (consisting of 30 committee meetings, 40 community events, and the receipt of 1300 suggestions) that resulted on Wednesday with the unanimous bipartisan approval by the City Council of the Transportation Electrification Action Plan (also known as the Electric Road Map.)

The plan’s major goal is to increase the number of electric vehicles in Phoenix to 280,000 by 2030.

If this goal is met, the City, according to Electrify Phoenix Panelist Caryn Potter, stands to see an economic windfall of approximately thirty billion dollars and a reduction of twenty six tons in Carbon Dioxide emissions.

Other major goals of the new Transportation Electrification Action Plan are:

  • conduct an extensive education and outreach campaign on the merits (both economic and environmental) of utilizing electric vehicles.
  • to ensure social and economic equity by providing access to these new technologies for current underserved communities in the Phoenix area.
  • installing 500 electric charging stations in public areas around the city and 500 in selected business locations.
  • formulating new residential and commercial building codes to adapt to the new electrocution reality.

Please click here to access the full newly approved Transportation Electrification Action Plan.

Reaction from Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari

At Nikola Motor headquarters in Phoenix yesterday (June 16, 2022,) Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari, and others gathered to celebrate the approval of the electric vehicle road map.

Nikola Motor is a local leader in clean energy electric vehicle development and production.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego trying out one of the electric vehicle freight trucks at Nikola Motors. Photo from Mayor Gallego’s Twitter Account.

In her remarks, Mayor Gallego first thanked Nikola for helping to make Phoenix the new “electric motor city.”

Calling the newly passed goals in the plan “ambitious” and “aggressive,” the Mayor praised Councilwoman Ansari and the Ad-Hoc Committee for “exceeding her expectations” in the plan they developed.

Later she thanked electric utility companies SRP and APS for partnering with the city by committing to net zero emissions.

She also noted that with the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and its investments in electric vehicles and charging stations that is “crucial for Phoenix to meet this moment.”

The Mayor also reminded the audience that these electric vehicle investments will “address the air quality challenges in our community and also help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions…associated with transportation.”

Saying “electric fields matter because they are literally the road to the future,” Ms. Gallego continued, “we know to overcome climate change, we have to change the type of investments we make…in so many areas including light rail, our bus system. EV’s are a crucial piece of that clean transportation system.” 

The Mayor, sounding a little like President Biden when he discusses the infrastructure law, relayed that the electric vehicle industry will help create investments in “the jobs that we want for our community. High wage, high quality jobs at places like Nikola.”

Mayor Gallego then introduced Councilwoman Ansari, an environmental specialist who once worked for the United Nations, who offered:

“Data shows us that transportation and primarily gas-powered vehicles are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutions in the City of Phoenix so electrifying the transportation sector is one of the most significant actions that we can take for our climate and public health…With gas prices skyrocketing because of oil industry greed and many auto-manufacturers committing to phasing out gas-powered vehicles within the next decade or so, with our poor air quality making our families sick and the climate crisis threatening lives and livelihoods, it is our duty to make sure that Phoenicians have affordable and easy access to the infrastructure needed to power a clean all electric future…

The Councilwoman relayed that the plan focused on three major priorities:

  • Equity (in terms of access) for everyone. Ms. Ansari said the plan ensures that 40 percent of the investments will be made in underserved communities like a pilot e-mobility program in a designated underserved community to ascertain what unique needs exist in certain areas because as the Councilwoman noted “one size does not fit all.”
  • Public adoption of electric vehicles through education and outreach campaigning.
  • The City investing and increasing its own electric vehicle fleet.

Stressing the importance of following through on the plan on the roadmap, Ms. Ansari said the 2022-23 city budget coupled with grants already awarded will lay the foundation to start the implementation process. These budget items include staffing such as a full time electric vehicle program manager, a climate action plan manager, an operations analyst (to conduct a $250,000 study on the city fleet needs and feasible locations for public electric charging stations,) and an Americorp-Vista position for community outreach.

It also includes the previously reported funding of $150 million for zero and low emission buses.

Additional Comments from Mayor Gallego and Councilwoman Ansari

In a press release issued after the gathering at Nikola, Mayor Gallego wrote:

“The future of mobility is happening now in Phoenix, and we are investing to be top-in-the-nation for a concentration of manufacturers and parts providers that will create quality jobs for our residents. As the federal government makes significant investments in EV infrastructure, this action positions Phoenix to be prepared to respond and continue to lead the growth of this industry…Since the day I was elected, I’ve emphasized innovation in Phoenix. The Transportation Electrification Plan is innovation in action.”

In a press release after the City Council vote, Councilwoman Ansari stated:

“Phoenix has some of the worst air quality in the country and the transportation sector is the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in our city, so an electric transition is essential. We plan to accelerate this transition with equity at the forefront. Investing now will ensure that we maintain our city’s reputation as a climate leader both locally and globally.”

220616 Mayor Gallego Applauds New EV Roadmap

Councilwoman Ansari hosts Electrify Phoenix Panel at Venture Cafe

Councilwoman Ansari hosting Ad-Hoc Committee Member panel at Venture Cafe. Photo by David Gordon.

At an evening event at Venture Cafe, both the Mayor and Councilwoman greeted supporters of the newly approved electric vehicle roadmap. The event also showcased several electric vehicles that are hoped to populate the local roadways in higher numbers over the next eight years.

Councilwoman Ansari then hosted a panel of members of the AD-Hoc Committee Members. These panelists were

  • Darice Ellis, Sustainability Specialist, Office of Sustainability
  • Kathy Knoop, Manager of Electric Vehicle Grid Integration Solutions, General Motors
  • Catherine O’Brien, Senior Policy Analyst, Salt River Project
  • Lisa Perez, Commissioner, Phoenix Planning Commission
  • Caryn Potter, Arizona Representative, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP)

The dominant theme from the group was the vital need to conduct extensive outreach to Phoenix residents and advise them of the benefits of the Transportation Electrification Plan and dispel misnomers (myths) that this transition would lead to negative results like higher prices or periodic blackouts.

Other panelists also suggested that this was the time for the city to finalize the new residential and business building codes for the electrification plan and to streamline the permit process for electric supplies.

Mayor Gallego is correct when she says this is a time that “is crucial for Phoenix to meet this moment.”

Councilwoman Ansari is right to assert “it is our duty to make sure that Phoenicians have affordable and easy access to the infrastructure needed to power a clean all electric future…”

With these two talented and dedicated public servants taking the lead, Phoenix, like Tucson under the leadership of Mayor Regina Romero and her city council, has a great chance to pave the way for other cities and towns across Arizona and the nation to steer towards a clean and affordable energy future that moves the country forward, lifts people up, and makes communities healthier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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