How electric vehicles can drive our clean transportation future

How electric vehicles can drive our clean transportation future
Jul 20, 2021
3 MIN. READ
EV expert Stacy Noblet shares where there’s room for wider adoption and the benefits of leveraging more renewable energy sources
Electric vehicles (EVs) are having a celebrity moment. Comedian Will Ferrell tells EV rival Norway, “no way,” in a Super Bowl commercial for General Motors. President Joe Biden takes the Ford F-150 Lightning for a pre-launch test drive, noting “this sucker’s quick” after reaching 60 mph in about four seconds. And soccer star and style icon David Beckham invests in Lunaz, a company that converts classic cars into EVs.

But consumer adoption of EVs is just one piece of a very complex set of challenges and opportunities that span infrastructure, vehicle applications, public policy, and even social equity. Stacy Noblet understands the bigger picture and recognizes this isn’t just a moment, but rather an inflection point. As our senior director of transportation electrification, senior fellow with the ICF Climate Center, and a regular contributor for Forbes, she works every day to advance the use of clean fuels and technologies across multiple markets.

Best known as our EV expert, Stacy’s work for our clients encompasses program design, implementation, and examining what others are doing to move toward greater adoption. Within the transportation industry, she’s sharing her insights on the importance of clean fuel sources to combat climate changeexamining electric vehicle demand among consumers, businesses, and governments; and outlining infrastructure considerations and challenges.

She’s also helping governments, utilities, and other organizations come up with and execute strategies and programs focused on a wide range of clean transportation options—including EVs—while staying grounded in a fuel- and technology-neutral perspective.

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Future of federal fleets

The Biden Administration recognizes that EVs have the potential to significantly improve federal fleet efficiency, reduce vehicle operation and maintenance costs, and help agencies meet statutory requirements for acquiring alternative fuel and low greenhousegas emitting vehicles.

“If the federal government turns even a portion of its fleet into EVs, that will send a strong signal of EV support to automakers. A large fleet purchase could have reverberating impacts, including an increased demand for fleet charging stations,” Stacy explains.

Equity and equal access

Support for EVs at the local level, such as electric transit buses, helps bring the technology and its benefits to disadvantaged and low-income communities that rely on public transportation. And as the cost of passenger EVs comes down—through technology advances, incentives, and the emergence of the used EV market—individual ownership becomes possible for even more people.

“There are now more focused efforts on getting EVs into communities that can benefit the most.”

Yet the challenge remains of making sure there are accessible charging stations in low-income areas, such as at multifamily housing developments. However, Stacy shares, “Any increased access to electric transportation has benefits across the board to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and leverage more renewable energy sources.”

A passion for her field

Stacy joined ICF straight from undergrad, where she earned degrees in environmental studies and geography at Western Michigan University. She was welcomed into a small team supporting the Alternative Fuels Data Center and played a role in EPA’s Smartway Transport Partnership. “At that time, EVs weren’t on the map. It was all about biofuels.”

As her work broadened to include EV adoption and creating readiness plans for a variety of clients, she became interested in the policy aspects, which led to a master’s degree in environmental sciences and policy from Johns Hopkins University. Today, the small team she led for many years has grown and continues to provide outstanding support to clients like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the National Park Service, and various local government entities. Stacy’s primary focus is now on electric utilities as they plan for and implement transportation electrification programs.

“I’ve experienced so many professional and personal milestones with the talented and innovative teams I’ve been part of at ICF.”

Stacy is also a founding member and serves on the advisory committee of the Washington, DC area chapter for Women of Electric Vehicles. This global professional community focuses on supporting women in the industry by creating lasting connections and sharing stories, ideas, resources, and strategies to become more effective leaders and innovators.

Readers interested in keeping up with Stacy’s latest insights, can read her regular contributions in Forbes here.