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Over 2 million more electric vehicles estimated in New England over next decade

An electric car recharging in NH. Dan Tuohy photo for NHPR. 2023.
Dan Tuohy
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NHPR
The ISO New England draft estimates include plug-in hybrids as well as all-electric. The estimates will be finalized in April.

New England's grid operator says approximately 2.4 million more electric vehicles could be driving on the region's roads in the next decade. But clean energy advocates say without significant improvements to EV infrastructure and policy in New Hampshire, uptake here will lag behind.

The new preliminary draft figures, released this month by ISO New England, take into account a mix of local policies and manufacturing timelines. It also cites several federal policies, such as tax incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act and the EPA’s Clean School Bus grants program, that are part of the White House’s efforts to dramatically reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.

The draft forecast shows the biggest percent increase for EV’s in new light-duty fleet vehicles, such as delivery trucks and passenger vans. Personal EV’s would still account for the vast majority of electric vehicles, with over 300,000 new personal EV’s to be added annually by 2031.

More electric vehicles on the road will require big upgrades to the region’s charging infrastructure and power grid and to its automotive and energy workforce. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission approved a plan last year to allow Eversource to build EV charging stations in the state.

A map of Level II and DC fast charging electric charging stations in northern New England
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US Department of Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center
A map of Level II and DC fast charging electric charging stations in northern New England

But in infrastructure and incentives, New Hampshire is significantly behind neighboring states.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, New Hampshire has less than half the number of charging stations in Maine and significantly fewer than the number in Vermont. Tourists driving EV’s have limited access to universal charging stations, with only a few sprinkled north of Franconia Notch.

According to ISO New England’s 2022 forecast, New Hampshire is expected to contribute to only 4% of the overall EV increase over the next decade, in part due to local policies and infrastructure.

Chris Skoglund, the director of energy transition at Clean Energy NH, says ISO New England’s estimates tend to be conservative, but they provide a roadmap for electrification.

“While the exact impact is unknown, we have a conservative idea of what the vehicle market will look like and therefore can model the impacts to the transportation, energy, and electricity systems,” he said. “The data points out that New Hampshire energy policy does not have the luxury of time. Change is coming fast.”

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.