The Sun Valley Institute’s Energy Program focuses on bringing clean, locally-generated energy to Blaine County to meet local needs, increase our resilience, and to serve as a model and resource to other communities. This spring we kicked off a major electric vehicle (EV) initiative called RevUp Blaine to help transition from the predominance of vehicles using carbon based fuels to electric vehicles that cost less to own (including just 1/3 the cost to fuel!), are easier to maintain, and are very fun to drive. Our campaign was geared both to put more EVs on Idaho’s roads, as well as to create awareness of the already burgeoning changes to electric transportation nationally and around the world.
Idaho’s transportation sector is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the state. EVs directly reduce these emissions – especially when paired with renewable energy sources like solar. A recent report from the International Energy Agency concluded that “EVs are the only class of carbon-reduction technology making enough progress to keep global warming below the level of 2˚ Celsius.”
RevUp Blaine was the first initiative of its kind in Idaho. The program was designed to spread awareness of electric vehicles through community outreach and education while inspiring people to “go electric” by offering substantial discounts on several models of electric and hybrid cars.The program ended on June 30 with 12 new electric vehicle (EV) sales. Before the program, five electric vehicles were registered in Blaine County. The majority of the people who purchased vehicles through the program were individuals and families. Two local companies also purchased Nissan Leafs to use as company cars. Vÿykn, which focuses on eliminating dependence on plastic bottled water through a subscription refill service and dispensing systems, will be using the Leaf to deliver glass bottles of Vyykn water to hotels, cafes, and restaurants. Altenergy, Inc., a local solar energy installer, also purchased the Nissan Leaf to use as their primary vehicle for assessing sites and delivering bids for solar panels.
The discounts, which ranged from 6 to 50 percent, were only open to Blaine County residents for a limited time. The discounts were pre-contracted with four major dealerships in Boise: Audi Boise, Peterson BMW, Peterson Chevrolet and Dennis Dillon Nissan, as well as Salt Lake City’s Ken Garff Nissan who honored discounts for the Leaf when the Boise dealership completely sold out of their Leafs, for which we happily take some credit! We are happy with the results; of five similar programs in the US, ours was the most successful per capita, and we created a substantial amount of awareness of existing transportation alternatives. Please see www.revupblaine.org for more wrap up information on this EV campaign.