As a member of the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association, I heard about a request from John McCoy, Legislative Director for SEVA, asking people to write to our Washington State legislators to thank them for recently creating an EV Caucus to “support the advancement of low-polluting, electric cars.”
As an electric motorcycle enthusiast, this immediately prompted me to deviate from the form letter that Mr. McCoy provided to stress that electric motorcycles are EVs, too! Below you’ll find the result.
Thank you for making history by joining the first-ever Electric Vehicle (EV) Caucus — but don’t forget that electric motorcycles are EVs, too!
Dear Esteemed Senators and Representatives;
Thank you for your historic decision to form an EV caucus in Washington State. I hope that your work helps encourage the public to replace gasoline vehicles with electric vehicles, and sets a good example for other state legislatures and the nation as a whole to do the same to reduce air pollution and our dependence upon oil from any source.
As both an electric car driver and electric motorcycle rider, I bear my fair share of financial responsibility by paying the same $100 road maintenance use tax per vehicle (RCW 46.17.323) to replace the equivalent tax on gasoline prices at the pump, but I do not see similarly equal sales tax relief from RCW 82.08.809 because a motorcycle is not included in the wording “passenger cars, light duty trucks, and medium duty passenger vehicles.”
What is it about alternative fuel motorcycles that does not merit the same incentives? What merits to motorcycles need to offer to meet or exceed that of “passenger cars, light duty trucks, and medium duty passenger vehicles”?
I would like to convince you of the merit of including electric motorcycles among the alternative fuel vehicles that you discuss by pointing out the following advantages that they offer not only over gasoline vehicles, but all “passenger cars, light duty trucks, and medium duty passenger vehicles”:
- Electric motorcycles consume less than half of the electricity to travel the same distance as an electric car. I have measured this with my electric car and my electric motorcycle along exactly the same commute.
- Electric motorcycles consume less than one-third of the space to park an electric car. I have seen as many as four motorcycles fit in one compact parking space. Even one carelessly parked “passenger car, light duty truck, or medium duty passenger vehicle” can make the two parking spaces next to it unusable.
- Motorcycles of any kind are allowed to travel in HOV lanes, allowing commuters to get to work more quickly.
- Because much traffic congestion is caused by single-occupancy “passenger cars, light duty trucks, and medium duty passenger vehicles”, motorcycles (and future electric vehicles such as the half-width two-wheeled car being developed by California startup Lit Motors) offer commuters a way to downsize their vehicle to match the number of occupants.
- Assuming that air pollution, traffic congestion, and limited parking are serious problems facing–and caused by–commuters driving to and from work in single-occupancy gasoline-powered “passenger cars, light duty trucks, and medium duty passenger vehicles”, incentivizing commuters to replace their gasoline vehicles with electric cars only mitigates the pollution problem. Adding electric motorcycles to commuters’ choices of alternative fuel vehicles gives them the flexibility to choose a vehicle that might not only fit their lifestyle and commuting needs better, but mitigates all three problems.
- In all other ways, motorcycles and their riders are subject to the same traffic laws that other vehicles and their drivers are, so why treat them differently with regard to taxes and incentives?
Does this not suggest that alternative fuel motorcycles should no longer be excluded from the definition of the word “vehicle”? That electric motorcycles are EVs just as much as electric cars are?
This session, I look forward to your support of key EV initiatives, which include:
- Extending the sales tax exemption for green alternative fuel vehicles past July,
- Extending the definition of “green alternative fuel vehicle” to include green alternative fuel motorcycles,
- Supporting additional highway fast charging infrastructure to finish the West Coast Green Highway on I-5 and extend this benefit to the state’s other highway corridors, and
- Updating building and electrical codes to make future buildings EV ready.
In addition to your efforts to include motorcycles among the classes of vehicles you’re discussing, I would also be very interested in your ideas for getting the state’s electric utilities more involved in supporting transportation, and extending home charging to existing multifamily buildings as well.
Thank you for taking this historic step, and I hope to see legislation pass in the 2015 session that is designed to encourage rapid EV adoption.
Duvall, WA 98019
Electric car lessee: Nissan LEAF, manufactured in Tennessee
Electric motorcycle owner: Brammo Empulse R, manufactured in Oregon
Electric scooter owner: Current Motor Super Scooter, manufactured in Michigan