If we’re going to adopt electric vehicles in any meaningful way, we need the kind of infrastructure that can support ever-larger chunks of the population making that switch. Like most large problems, there’s no magic bullet solution. Instead, it’s going to take a number of smaller initiatives all working in tandem to get all the nuts and bolts snugged up tight so everything runs like it should.
That’s where the Regional Electric Vehicle Midwest Coalition (or REV Midwest) will hopefully come into play. On September 30, 2021, governors of five Midwestern states—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin—all signed a Memorandum of Understanding to co-develop “a regional framework to accelerate vehicle electrification in the Midwest.”
Like most MoUs, this agreement is non-binding and any state can leave at any time if it chooses to do so. That said, the goals of this particular agreement include the following:
- Acceleration of medium- and heavy-duty fleet electrification through coordination of charging infrastructure, particularly along commercial corridors, as well as standardization of regulatory schemes
- Support the region’s leadership in EV research and development, engineering, and manufacturing, with a focus on assisting those that are historically disadvantaged
- Advance an equitable, data-driven transition to EVs for all communities to reduce emissions keep development within communities sustainable
These goals are admirable, if somewhat lofty and nebulous. To reach them, each participating state will create a taskforce to tackle existing and upcoming challenges, as well as maintain information regarding each taskforce’s latest activities and progress.
Presumably, formation of those five taskforces should yield more concrete details regarding actual steps in those processes. Establishment of more precise goals would also be a plus. After all, if you’re at a complete stop, even moving at five miles an hour can technically count as “acceleration.” As we see the effects of climate change happening in real time all around us, it’s clear that quick and decisive action is needed.
That’s also exactly what several Illinois environmental groups said in response to all five states issuing statements about the formation of REV Midwest.
“The Illinois Environmental Council and our partners here support Governor Pritzker’s continued commitment to expanding electric vehicles in Illinois and protecting public health by signing on to the Midwest Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Memorandum of Understanding. The action builds upon the investments in charging infrastructure that will be made by the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, and those being made by the private sector to support more EV chargers along major highways,” the joint statement began.
“To truly address the growing threat of climate change and dangerous air pollution levels in Illinois, particularly in our most vulnerable communities, the Governor must now focus his attention on electrifying large vehicles like trucks that run on diesel. Governor Pritzker should now sign the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, joining the 15 states, Washington D.C. and the Province of Quebec that are already moving to address this problem,” it concluded.
Environmental groups that signed onto the above statement include the Illinois Environmental Council, the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Warehouse Workers for Justice, the Nature Conservancy, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Environmental Defense Fund, Respiratory Health Association, Jobs to Move America—Illinois, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.