Vermont’s governor believes he is the first governor in the country to travel primarily in an all-electric vehicle.
Phil Scott, a Republican, said he hopes the move sends a message that the future of motoring is electric — as a way to cut carbon and address climate change.
“I hope this sends the message that we’re moving forward,” Gov. Scott said Wednesday as he joined the Vermont State Police Executive Protection Unit in receiving a new Ford F-150 Lightning from Twin State Ford in St. . Johnsbury.
Scott is usually a passenger in the vehicle, with a Vermont state trooper driving. However, the Republican himself took the unit’s new flagship vehicle out for a spin on Wednesday.
“It’s so quiet,” the governor marveled as he drove through St. Johnsbury, with a video reporter from NECN & NBC10 Boston along for the ride.
Gov. Scott’s office said it believes Vermont is now the first state in the nation whose governor travels primarily in an all-electric vehicle.
“It’s amazing, it really is,” the governor said of the roughly $90,000 pickup truck, which will replace a gas-powered SUV.
Scott noted that he was impressed with the Lightning’s torque.
Troops will carry the former SUV for several long drives, the governor noted. However, for most intrastate travel, the electric pickup truck will serve as the governor’s official vehicle.
Vermont is spending millions to expand its network of electric vehicle charging stations near parks, ski areas, along highways and elsewhere. In addition, there are incentives for consumer purchases of electric vehicles based on income levels.
Electric buses and other state fleet vehicles, even an electric motorcycle from the DMV that NECN & NBC10 Boston covered earlier this year, are also becoming more common.
“Simply put, the Agency of Transportation is committed to demonstrating that electric vehicles are and will continue to be the norm,” said Joe Flynn, who heads the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
The administration acknowledged that such a big change would take time and learning. At the individual level in the governor’s office, travel planning must now take into account the range of vehicles and the locations of those chargers.
“We all need to talk to each other about the pros, and maybe some of the challenging aspects of electric, so we can learn from this,” the governor said of the new vehicle.
More broadly, future state budgets will have to deal with declining gas tax funding, he noted in response to a reporter’s question.
However, Scott insists that as the transport sector is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, we need to think differently about what and how we move – to combat climate change.
The first governor to go electric for his official state vehicle said the country’s governors have a role in leading the way.
“We may be the first, but we certainly won’t be the last,” Scott said of his team’s embrace of the EV.
Vermont’s presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge Gov. Scott in November reacted Wednesday to the arrival of the new electric truck.
Brenda Siegel, a policy consultant and attorney from Windham County, said she would also use the all-electric vehicle for most official trips as governor. The Democrat is promising bold climate change policies.
“We need to expand access to electric vehicles,” Siegel told NECN & NBC10 Boston. “But that can’t be where we stop. Because an electric vehicle isn’t going to happen at the same time. It’s going to happen because we increase renewable energy in the state, because we make sure we’re expanding our public transportation options. Because we make sure we’re supporting our small farms to move to carbon sequestration and ask our larger farms to do the same.”
Siegel, whose name is the only one on the Democratic ballot for Vermont’s Aug. 9 primary, said as governor she would make climate change a top-level focus of her administration.
Governor Scott, by the way, is a part-time race car driver at Thunder Road in Barre. He predicted that one day, more and more racetracks will also have electric vehicles competing.