TEP Charger 0910

A Tucson Electric Power fleet vehicle at one of two fast-charging units installed at the utility's headquarters.

Arizona is moving forward with important developments regarding the adoption and implementation of electric vehicles, with new government and utility programs in its two major cities.

The City of Phoenix on Aug. 9 held a public meeting for its newly established Electric Vehicle Ad Hoc Committee, which was formed to look at the implementation challenges, financial repercussions and access issues surrounding EVs in the country's fourth-largest city. Phoenix is enduring a summer with some of the worst air quality in the country, and Mayor Kate Gallego has made increasing EV ridership one of her top priorities.

It is a process that starts with the government itself, as the City of Phoenix currently has 10 electric vehicles in its fleet, including six light-duty sedans and four motorcycles. The city has also led the charge in installing public, fleet and workplace charging stations. As of Sept. 1 there are 40 public charging stations, 16 for fleet vehicles and 57 workplace charging stations across the city.

The city hired an EV program manager, Karen Apple, who is charged with achieving the city’s goal of having 30 percent of new car sales be EVs by 2030, tripling the EV charging capacity on city properties, and replacing the light-duty municipal internal combustion engine city fleet with EVs where operationally possible.

Another strong advocate of EV adoption in Phoenix has been utility Salt River Project, which announced on Aug. 30 that its 'Plug In and Save' EV rebate has been closed, as funds for the program have run out. Earlier this year, SRP announced that customers were eligible for a $1,000 rebate if they purchased or leased an EV from a local dealership.

SRP still has funds available for workplaces that install EV chargers, offering rebates of $1,500 per port for private businesses and $4,000 per port for government, nonprofit and school buildings. All equipment must be installed before April 30, 2022, and the application deadline for the rebate is July 31.

SRP's electric service territory now includes over 4,000 EV owners, and the utility has taken a public stand for EV implementation as over 80 percent of its fleet is green, including electric, biodiesel and ethanol-capable vehicles.

TEP Takes the Lead in Tucson

Arizona's second-largest city, Tucson, has experienced rapid growth in the past decade, and Tucson Electric Power has taken that opportunity to spearhead the city's EV implementation efforts.

TEP is currently offering a rebate of up to $500 on the purchase of a qualified EV charger for home installation, riding the momentum of the hundreds of new homes put up for sale every month in the growing market. The residential rebates range from $200 for less than 30 amps, $300 for 30 to 49 amps and $500 for 50 or more amps. Two-year minimum usage is required.

To support the growing number of businesses moving to Tucson, TEP has implemented the Smart EV Charging Program, which offers generous incentives as well as technical support to commercial businesses, multifamily housing complexes and nonprofit customers that purchase and install EV charging ports at their locations. For EV owners, TEP is offering three separate pricing plans for battery and plug-in hybrid EV owners for charging during super off-peak overnight hours.

TEP publicly signaled its support of EVs in April, when the utility installed two new fast-charging stations in front of its headquarters on Broadway Road. Installed with support from the city's parking manager, the charging installation became a popular attraction over the summer, inspiring Tucson city leaders as they begin EV planning for 2022 and beyond.

"There weren't any fast charging stations in the area," TEP spokesperson Camila Martins-Bekat said in a public statement at the time of installation. "These chargers provide a much-needed convenience for EV owners while promoting the use of clean transportation and supporting downtown businesses."

In a plan of action filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission earlier this year, TEP proposed a goal of having about 96,000 EVs on the road in its service area by 2030.

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Rodric has covered energy markets and the industry across the West for more than 15 years, including Arizona, California and Las Vegas, as well as covering the investor relations sector.