Electric Mobility in Eugene

Eugene’s Electric Vehicle Strategy

Sponsored Content By City Of Eugene

Using an internal combustion vehicle – one that is powered by fossil fuels — comes at a cost, both financial and environmental. Nationally, transportation is the greatest contributor to human-generated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Of those transportation-related emissions, nearly 60 percent can be attributed to passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks.

The city of Eugene strives to be a municipal leader in climate change policy, planning and action. The Eugene Climate Recovery Ordinance, passed in 2014, includes some of the strongest GHG emission reduction goals in the nation. To reach these goals, the city is employing a diversity of tactics, including implementing an Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy. The EV Strategy was completed in 2019 and contains a list of 26 actions the city will take to reach the city of Eugene’s goal for 50 percent of all cars in Eugene to be electric by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050. 

Why go electric?

There are many reasons to drive an EV instead of a fossil fuel-powered vehicle, but the biggest two are that it is good for the environment and also good for your wallet. 

Driving an EV can save you money on maintenance, repair and fuel. Because EVs have fewer moving parts than traditional vehicles, the components experience less wear and tear and require less repair and maintenance. Additionally, EVs don’t have engines that require tune-ups or oil changes. EVs are also cheaper to fuel than traditional vehicles. In 2020, the average EV owner spent approximately $550 on the electricity needed for EV charging. By comparison, the average fossil fuel-powered vehicle owner spent approximately $1,250 on gas. 

Driving an EV also reduces your GHG emissions substantially. In Eugene, transportation accounts for 53 percent of local GHG emissions. The typical passenger vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. By comparison, an EV emits zero tons of carbon dioxide. With hybrid vehicles it is more difficult to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. However, emissions are still substantially lower than traditional vehicles. 

Nationally, electric power generation is the second largest contributor to human-generated GHGs due to the burning of coal and natural gas to generate electricity. In Eugene we are fortunate that only 2 percent of energy generated by EWEB comes from fossil fuels; nearly 80 percent comes from clean hydropower.

The city is working on expanding EV charging infrastructure. Lack of direct access to an EV charger can serve as a significant barrier to people considering an EV, especially those who are renters. The city, in conjunction with partners like EWEB, is continuously exploring ways to address this issue. For a map of public charging stations available, you can visit PlugShare.com/Directory/us/Oregon/Eugene. Please use the contact info listed at the end of this article if you need help concerning EV charging.”

Electric micromobility

Another way the city is working toward achieving its climate goals is by taking steps to make it easy, safe, and convenient for community members to use electric micromobility (e-micromobility) as a transportation option. 

The term electric micromobility refers to small transportation options that are propelled either partially or entirely by electricity, usually from battery. These include, but are not limited to, e-bikes, e-scooters, e-skateboards and even one-wheels. 

Using e-micromobility for transportation is gaining in popularity, in part due to the ease of use. It’s a fast and active way to travel to the store, the park, a place of work and other destinations around town. In the past, lack of access, or laws limiting use, may have prevented people from trying out this travel option. However, options are opening up for e-micromobility in Eugene.

If you’re considering traveling by e-bike, e-scooter, e-skateboard or any other e-device, you now have more choices for routes. Last year, the Eugene City Council passed an ordinance that allows electric micromobility devices to use Eugene’s shared-use paths. When using electric micromobility on shared-use paths, remember caution and courtesy: Wheels yield to heels (people walking have the right-of-way), pass on the left, and give warning when passing by either ringing your bell or announcing, “Passing on your left!”

If you don’t own an electric mobility device, you will soon have the chance to rent e-scooters as part of the Electric Scooter-Share Pilot Program launching this year. The pilot program is being designed to serve as large a section of the city as possible, and will be effective for one year after launch. Currently, city staff are drafting administrative rules for the pilot program, which will be available for public review in spring 2021. Following adoption of the rules, companies that provide scooter-share services will be invited to apply for a license to operate in Eugene. (No more than two companies will be granted licenses.)Staff are committed to selecting e-scooter companies that will prioritize a safe, reliable, equitable and environmentally sustainable program. There will also be the opportunity for community feedback throughout the pilot.

Electric mobility themed community events 

Are you interested in learning more about electric mobility options in Eugene? Below is a list of recurring events, and more events are being planned. 

Shift to E-Bikes

“Shift to E-Bikes” covers all the basics. Local e-bike experts will share different types of e-bikes (throttle vs assist), the distance an e-bike can cover, speed capabilities, cargo-carrying options and safety considerations. Representatives from local e-bike shops will be present to answer any additional questions attendees may have. For the first workshop, attendees will qualify for a discount ($50 off an e-bike that costs less than $2,000, $150 off a bike that costs $2,000 or more) at participating retailers. The workshops will be held virtually 7 pm April 22 and May 4. To register for the event, go to Shift-To-Ebikes.EventBrite.com.

rEV Up!

“rEV Up!” is a popular intro to electric vehicles workshop. Have you been thinking about buying an EV, but have questions about battery range, availability of chargers, or how owning an EV is different from a car fueled by gasoline? Then this is the event for you! Attendees have traditionally qualified for a discount on an electric vehicle purchase from a local dealership. The workshop is planned to take place three more times in 2021, with dates to be announced.

Additional Information

For additional information related to e-mobility options in Eugene, visit Eugene-or.gov/E-Mobility. For questions or comments contact Karen Mason, city of Eugene transportation planner, at KMason@Eugene-OR.gov or 541-682-5260.

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