On March 18th, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam signed HB 1965 into law. This makes Virginia the 13th state, and the only state in the Southeast region, to join the California-led ZEV program. The program, which requires manufacturers to make available for sale an increasing proportion of EVs across the state, has also been adopted by California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Both New Mexico and Minnesota are going through the regulatory process, which could result in them adopting the ZEV program as well.
This new action comes as Virginia continues to expand its EV policy leadership in the region. In February, the state legislature passed a bill to implement a $2,500 rebate for EV purchases in the state. The bill also allows income-eligible drivers to receive an additional $2,000 for the purchase or lease of a new or used EV. Virginia would also be the only state in the region to offer such a program. Through January 2021, Virginia ranked 15th out of all states in terms of EV sales. The state saw its first electric utility EV investment approved in 2020 with Dominion Energy’s $20 million proposal. The utility is committed to working with state officials as they administer remaining Volkswagen Settlement and is actively supporting in medium- and heavy-duty electrification. So far, All of Virginia’s $46 million in Volkswagen Settlement awards have gone to EVs and EV charging.