Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

As head of electrification at Green Mountain Power, I get the joy of traveling across Vermont to meet with businesses, community leaders and customers, and I get to do that in an electric vehicle and feel good that I’m doing it with zero emissions. Our work fleet includes EVs made by Chevy, Ford, Nissan and Hyundai. The cars are fun to drive with amazing pickup, wonderful handling and great control during the winter driving season. They’re also cheaper to own and operate — saving owners thousands over the life of the car in reduced maintenance and fuel costs (driveelectricvt.com/about-evs/cost-of-ownership).

Vermont has more public EV chargers per capita than any other state. GMP has spent years helping build out the charging infrastructure needed to support a large-scale transition to driving without fossil fuels. In just the last year, in partnership with the state and several local organizations and businesses, the utility helped to bring 20 new public fast chargers online in underserved areas.

That’s important, because while Vermonters already have great access to public charging, there are still some spots that can use more. We want to make sure the clean energy transition is equitable for all Vermonters. Green Mountain Power has 15 offices in all parts of the state, and I know firsthand “range-anxiety” — that feeling electric drivers get when it seems there are not enough options to recharge. Our company is working to eliminate that, so we will be installing at least 10 fast chargers that can power up an EV in about 40 minutes in underserved areas each year for the next five years.

Easy access to public charging is a key part of what’s needed to speed the transition to electric driving. Lowering the upfront cost of EVs is another. Our company offers customers up to $2,500 in rebates when you buy or lease a new or used all-electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. You can combine those savings with up to $4,000 in rebates from the state of Vermont, plus up to $7,500 in federal tax credits for some EV models. Incentives vary based on income level and purchase price, so check out just how much you can qualify for at greenmountainpower.com/rebates-programs/electric-vehicles.

We will also give GMP customers who enroll in our home-charging program and discount EV charging rates a free Level 2 charger to install at home. That means you’re leaving home each day fully charged up and paying the equivalent of about $1 per gallon of gas. That’s money back in your pocket every day you drive, while cutting carbon and costs for all customers.

Driving with fossil fuel is the biggest source of carbon emissions in Vermont — about 40 percent. So, switching to clean electricity for driving is the biggest step you can take to help the environment. You can learn more about EVs up close during several ride-and-drive events this fall.

Details are on the events page on our website, greenmountainpower.com/gmp-events. And details about GMP’s EV rebates and programs are online, too: greenmountainpower.com/rebates-programs/electric-vehicles. And, just in case you’re wondering, Green Mountain Power is walking the walk. We’re transitioning our entire fleet to EVs — with all cars electric by 2025, light-duty pickups by 2028 and heavy-duty field trucks soon after. See you on the road.

Tiana Smith writes from Essex. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of Vermont News & Media.