The EV Everywhere Grand Challenge is the U.S. Department of Energy’s 10-year vision to make the U.S. the first nation in the world to produce plug-in electric vehicles that are as affordable for the average family as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles.
As more drivers choose sustainable forms of transportation, communities are working to make PEVs more convenient. To accelerate these efforts, the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program funded 16 projects in 24 states and the District of Columbia in 2011. Local organizations developed community readiness plans that described their research and identified strategies to prepare for increased numbers of PEVs and charging stations. “A Guide to the Lessons Learned from the Clean Cities Community Electric Vehicle
Readiness Projects” synthesizes these plans into a comprehensive overview and highlights especially useful examples from them. Based on insights from the guide, below are 10 things communities can do to improve PEV readiness.
1. Form partnerships and gather input
Expanding a region’s PEV market requires collaboration and coordination between the private and public sector. For example, to help form their PEV readiness strategy, Austin, Texas, surveyed more than 1,000 people representing local and state governments, employers, PEV community groups, electricians, current PEV drivers, parking lot owners and property owners.
2. Describe the local benefits of PEVs
The American Lung Association of the Southwest, in Colorado, analyzed lifecycle emissions of local PEVs charged on Colorado’s electric grid. From electricity generation to tailpipe emissions, they found that on average, PEVs in Colorado produce fewer greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollution than comparable gasoline vehicles. The study raised public awareness about the health and environmental benefits of PEVs.
3. Analyze data to understand how the PEV market may grow
The Center for Transportation and the Environment in Atlanta found that PEV sales in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina will grow tenfold from 2015 to 2020.
4. Decide on the best incentives
Several states offer a variety of financial incentives to PEV buyers. The Centralina Council of Governments in North Carolina found that drivers prefer upfront incentives, such as eliminating sales tax, rather than traditional tax credits.
5. Identify future public charging locations
The Transportation and Climate Initiative, which led a group of 11 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, described the benefits and challenges of installing charging stations at nine different types of locations, including central business districts, universities and workplaces.
6. Support the installation of chargers where a variety of PEV drivers live and work
Because 41 percent of housing in the region is multi-unit dwellings, the South Florida Regional Planning Council conducted workshops for apartment and condo managers on how to install PEV charging stations. Installing the stations at workplaces and multi-unit housing complexes helps ensure all PEV drivers, not only those in single-family houses, have easy access to charging.
7. Examine and revise zoning policies to encourage use of PEVs
Auburn Hills, Mich., encourages developers to run electrical conduit to all new developments, making it easier to install residential charging in the future. So far, developers have followed that request. Some are even installing PEV charging stations on their own.
8. Streamline permitting and codes
To help cities across the country simplify their permitting processes, Clean Cities offers a model permit that can be customized. Similarly, Oregon has a single statewide permit for residential electric vehicle chargers. By simplifying the permitting process, electricians only need to familiarize themselves with one set of requirements rather than different permits in different cities.
9. Engage electrical utilities
To better understand how PEVs could impact the electric grid, the
University of Hawaii is planning a “smart grid” demonstration with
200 private drivers, car share partners and fleet owners.
10. Inform the public
New York City and Empire Clean Cities collaborated with drugstore chain Duane Reade to help consumers understand the benefits of PEV delivery trucks. Through an online campaign, New Yorkers voted on which Duane Reade stores the company would serve with these new sustainable trucks. Many cities also promote the Alternative Fuels Data Center and its Alternative Fueling Station Locator to help citizens learn more about PEVs.