House passes bill creating electric vehicle committee

The Ohio House has approved legislation that would establish an electric vehicle commission to help advise state lawmakers on the policy while providing tax breaks for electric vehicle manufacturers.

These tax incentives extend until the end of 2026 and apply to components such as batteries specially designed for electric vehicles. But legislative analysts have raised questions about the exemptions, noting that two existing tax breaks would cover “most if not all” of the parts affected by the legislation. They also note that currently Lordstown Motors is the state’s sole electric vehicle maker.

The proposal commission would study the existing electric vehicle policy and write annual reports with recommendations to develop the market. The ten-member panel would be made up of six people appointed by the governor and two each from the General Assembly and the Senate.

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

“As a state, we need to be better prepared for the production, implementation and proliferation of electric vehicles. My bill puts Ohio on a more secure footing and will create economic opportunity, ”Sobecki said.

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

The advocacy group Clean Fuels Ohio advocates greener transportation options, whether electric, natural gas, biodiesel or otherwise. The group will in fact have a seat on the commission as one of the members appointed by the governor. Although the organization obtains funding from a wide range of sources including cities, transportation agencies, and players in the power generation and automotive manufacturing industry, it should be noted that Lordstown Motors is one of its funders.

Director of government affairs Hallie Neuhaus calls the passage of the bill encouraging, but explains that they still want the legislation to do more.

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

“We hope that pro-EV legislation will continue to be supported and passed by the Ohio legislature, and we will work with policy makers to do so,” Neuhaus added. “Auto manufacturing is a vital part of Ohio’s economy, and support for electric vehicles will only increase in importance in the future.”

With the passage through the House, the measure is now making its way to the Senate.