Belmont has adopted more electric vehicles (54) than any other community in Massachusetts – just the latest evidence of the Town’s commitment to renewable energy and reducing our climate footprint, writes Marty Bitner of Belmont Drives Electric.
Over the last year, by zip code, more electric vehicles (EVs) were bought or leased in Belmont (54!) than anywhere else in Massachusetts. This can no doubt be attributed to the fact that so many Belmont residents are engaged and committed to taking action to reduce their carbon emissions. The wildly successful Belmont Goes Solar campaign is further evidence of how committed Belmont residents are to mitigating our town’s contribution to climate change.
Promoting the adoption of EVs has been the objective of the Belmont Drives Electric campaign, a partnership between the Belmont Energy Committee, Belmont Light, Sustainable Belmont and other Belmont EV enthusiasts. Our goal is to educate people about the benefits of switching to an EV both from an environmental and personal perspective and to help people make the switch from a gas-powered car to an EV. An assessment of the sources of Belmont’s carbon emissions in 2016 showed that transportation is the source of nearly half of residential carbon emissions. Since EVs are so efficient and because the electricity produced in New England is relatively clean, switching your driving from gas-powered to electric is one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists determined that an EV driven here produces such little carbon emission that it would take a gas-powered car getting 103 MPG to match it. No such car exists. Further, the beauty of an EV is that, as the electricity produced from the grid gets cleaner, so too does your EV. Driving an EV powered by renewables like wind or solar is even better. Driving an EV produces immediate benefits for Belmont as well. Since there are no tailpipe emissions from an EV, driving one improves air quality. Similarly, as EVs are virtually silent, they reduce noise pollution.
Even leaving aside all the environmental benefits, EVs just offer a better ownership experience than gas-powered cars. Because of the nature of electric motors, EVs are fun to drive with excellent acceleration and responsiveness. The simpler design of EVs means they are cheaper to maintain, too (no oil changes, no exhaust system, etc.). Owning an EV also means never having to go to a gas station again. Instead, you simply plug in when you get home and wake up the next day with a “full tank”. Or, you may opt to plug your EV in to one of the four Belmont Center public charging stations (purchased with the help of grant money obtained from the state) and let it charge up while you enjoy a dinner out or go shopping. EVs offer not only convenience, but a means of supporting our locally owned electric utility. Purchasing electricity from Belmont Light rather than gas from a multinational corporation can be viewed as a form of buying local, i.e. a decision that retains more of the benefits here in our own town.
There are some great EV incentives available right now ($2500 MA rebate from mor-ev.org and up to $7500 federal tax credit). Check out the current deals from local car dealers on our website. In addition, Belmont Light offers a $250 rebate toward the installation of fast, level 2 charging equipment for your home plus around 15% off normal rates for electricity used to charge your EV overnight.
Belmont Drives Electric will be holding our final EV test drive event of the year at Chenery Middle School on Sunday, October 29 from 12-3. Whether you are in the market for a new car now or not, you are welcome to come get behind the wheel of an EV, talk to local EV owners, and see for yourself how enjoyable they are to drive. Gina Coplon-Newfield, Director of the Sierra Club’s Electric Vehicle Initiative, will be giving a presentation at the event at noon about why EVs are a priority for the Sierra Club. We hope to see you there.
Contributor Marty Bitner is a member of Belmont Drives Electric and Belmont’s Energy Committee.