House passes bill creating electric vehicle commission

By: - November 29, 2021 12:50 am

Electric cars charge at a public charging station. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Ohio House has approved legislation that would set up an Electric Vehicle Commission to help advise state lawmakers on policy while also providing tax breaks for EV manufacturers.

Those tax incentives run through the end of 2026 and apply to components like batteries specifically designed for EVs. But legislative analysts raised questions about the exemptions, noting two existing tax breaks would cover “most if not all” of the parts affected by the legislation. A handful of companies in the state could benefit from the tax provisions, but the analysts note that “currently, Lordstown Motors Corporation is the only electric vehicle automaker to manufacture in Ohio.”

The proposal’s commission would study existing EV policy and write annual reports with recommendations for developing the market. The ten-member panel would be made up of six appointees selected by the governor and two each from the General Assembly and the Senate.

The bipartisan measure is co-sponsored by Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, and Rep. Lisa Sobecki, D-Toledo. In a press release after the House approved the bill, Sobecki said the legislation would prepare the state for an “electric vehicle future.”

“As a state, we need to be better prepared for Electric Vehicle production, implementation, and proliferation. My bill puts Ohio on more secure footing and will drive economic opportunity,” Sobecki said.

As it stands, Ohio’s EV market is still in its infancy. The state ranks 17th in the country for EV registrations, with about 14,500 vehicles as of June of this year.

The advocacy group Clean Fuels Ohio pushes for greener transportation options, whether they be electric, natural gas, bio-diesel or others. The group will actually have a seat on the commission as one of the governor’s appointees. While the organization gets funding from a wide range of sources including cities, transportation agencies and industry players in power generation and auto manufacturing, it’s worth noting that Lordstown Motors is among their backers.

Government affairs manager Hallie Neuhaus calls the bill’s passage encouraging, but she explains they still want to see legislation do more.

“We support the tax exemption created for electric vehicle products included in HB 292, but our earlier position that the task force created in the bill is too narrow in scope and membership still stands,” Neuhaus said.

“We hope that pro-EV legislation continues to be supported and passed in the Ohio legislature, and we will work with policymakers to do so,” Neuhaus added. “Auto manufacturing is a vital part of Ohio’s economy, and support for EVs will only become more important in the future.”

With passage in the House, the measure now makes its way to the Senate.



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Nick Evans
Nick Evans

Nick Evans has spent the past seven years reporting for NPR member stations in Florida and Ohio. He got his start in Tallahassee, covering issues like redistricting, same sex marriage and medical marijuana. Since arriving in Columbus in 2018, he has covered everything from city council to football. His work on Ohio politics and local policing have been featured numerous times on NPR.