Using data and mapping tools, local governments can place EV charging stations in locations where demand projections are high, so charging stations will be well used. Places such as high-traffic metropolitan areas and rural areas with limited transportation options (i.e., little to no public transportation) are logical starting points to expand access to EVs.
4. Align city and local government policies
A common roadblock to EV adoption is overlapping city, state, and local jurisdictions with different policies. Often, getting permits for EV charging stations can be cumbersome and take a long time. So, it is essential to look for opportunities to streamline permit policies for EV charging stations.
There may be different drivers for why each jurisdiction wants to see increasing EV adoption—whether it’s reducing emissions from vehicle segments, improving air quality, or more general concerns about the climate. But seeking alignment on making EVs and zero-emission vehicles a key element of state and local climate action plans and transportation plans is important for EV readiness planning.
There are also funding opportunities for EVs and charging infrastructure at the federal, state, and local level. Local governments should seek out—and align—EV adoption incentives, partnering with local utilities and other local partners to increase participation and drive results. (This is another reason to recruit a broad set of partners early on.) These incentives may be in the form of purchase-based incentives (such as tax rebates) or use-based incentives, which include a rebate on vehicle registration fees, a discount on their electric bill, or free parking while charging.
5. Increase access and equity
State and local governments can help narrow the gap between typical EV owners and those for whom EVs have traditionally been out of reach (e.g., individuals who live in multi-family dwellings). To make EV ownership more practical for multi-unit dwellers and non-homeowners, they should also consider using public-private collaborations—such as utilities and local businesses—to provide additional charging stations. More charging stations in shared spaces (apartments, condos), public spaces (parking lots, street sides) and popular destinations (shopping centers, local attractions) opens doors for new demographics to purchase an EV knowing they will be able to charge it.
6. Communicate the benefits
Beyond broader access for people already in the market for an electric vehicle, it’s important for local governments, community leaders, and nonprofits to craft compelling and effective educational outreach campaigns to communicate the health, environmental, and financial benefits of EV adoption.
For example, the American Lung Association recently released its Road to Clean Air report using data and analysis provided by ICF. It calls for a transition to more electric vehicles by 2050 to slow climate change and bring down respiratory illnesses, medical costs, and deaths.
Active teaching about the benefits of EVs can help make their adoption a reality. On top of the environmental and health benefits, this type of communication instills trust in the local government and jurisdiction bodies who make the efforts to educate and help their constituents.