Elrich Introduces Electric Vehicle Challenge

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announced Thursday the creation of the Washington Region’s first Electric Vehicle (EV) Purchasing Cooperative pilot program. The program is in support of the county’s Climate Action Plan which aims to reach the goal of an 80%  reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2027 and 100% reduction by 2035, according to a county press release.

Elrich proposed a challenge to Montgomery County residents and businesses to pledge to buy electric vehicles in support of the new program. The goal for the “Lead the EV Charge” challenge is to get 1000 Montgomery County residents and 50 businesses to take the pledge this year which says that their next vehicle purchase will be an electric vehicle.

The pilot phase of the program will run from January until May and the program will provide EV information resources for drivers and dealerships. Included is also an “EV Ambassador” program that encourages EV owners to share their experiences with community members and an “Electrified Dealer” program that offers EV training to dealerships sales teams.

The Electrification Coalition, a nonprofit organization that works to encourage the spread of EVs across the country, will serve as the program’s lead implementation partner under a contract with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

“If we are to achieve our Climate Action Plan goal of zero emissions by 2035, we will need to completely transition our transportation system away from fossil fuels, and we need to start right away,” Elrich said. “Community members and businesses who take the pledge to make their next vehicle electric will help demonstrate consumer demand for electric vehicles in Montgomery County. We are working to get more people into electric vehicles by making the purchasing process easier. Electric vehicles have lower emissions and operating costs and the program will make them more accessible. It’s going to take all of us doing our part to realize a cleaner future for our community.”

Chris Conklin, the director of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), also supports the program after pushing initiatives to bring county bus emissions down to zero percent.

“MCDOT has started the switch to a zero-emissions bus fleet, and we are asking residents and businesses to follow in our footsteps,” Conklin said. “By aggregating demand through the co-op, we will position ourselves to be able to negotiate favorable EV pricing, as well as draw attention to our region from EV manufacturers and dealers to increase supply. This program will be used as a model for the region.”

The pledge can be found on the county’s website along with more information about the pilot program. Questions about the pledge and program can be directed to the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection at AskDEP@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov.

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