• Electric Vehicles
  • Electric Vehicle Incentives
  • Consumer Preferences

Building Equity into EV Planning

Raquel Soat
Sep 03, 2020

Guidehouse Insights

For EVs to gain a commanding market share, these vehicles must be an attractive option for everyone regardless of income. Currently, EVs are more accessible to wealthy communities—and not just because of their high purchase prices. Charging deserts, limited markets for used EVs, and a reliance on traditional car ownership models, rebates, and financing reduce the feasibility of EV use and ownership for low income individuals.

Ensuring EVs are accessible to everyone will require all stakeholders to build equity into EV adoption plans and investments. Stakeholders must understand that, like constructing anything physical, building equity into EV initiatives requires careful planning, collaboration, time, and resources. 

Municipal Entities Are Key Players in Transportation Electrification

An example of this process in action can be seen in the City and County of Denver’s (CCD) EV Action Plan, created to help meet CCD’s goal of 100% EVs for light duty vehicles by 2050 (laid out in the 80 x 50 Climate Action Plan). The actions were selected through a steering committee made up of local transportation and energy agencies, EV charging companies, businesses, equity groups, and CCD departments, in addition to a public feedback process. Steering committee members and the public were asked to provide feedback through the lenses of equity and executability.

But how will CCD (and other organizations with EV plans) deliver on these actions? Some actions, like increasing City EV Messaging, are executable future actions for CCD. However, other actions will require additional resources such as staff, funding, or community partnerships for CCD to accomplish them. Many of the actions in the plan that aim to expand accessibility of EVs to all communities fall into the category of needing more resources or partnerships, or both, such as the Tiered EV Incentives or the Underserved Communities Campaign actions. What is equitable is not always immediately executable, but securing additional resources and partnerships to bring challenging actions to fruition will be critical for CCD to achieve its 100% EVs by 2050 goal.

Stakeholder and Municipal Commitments Needed to Increase EV Adoption

Denver is not the only US city turning EV adoption plans into actions. Ensuring effective execution of equitable actions is an important next step in the process. Stakeholders must commit to allocating funding and other resources to critical actions that will bring EVs to everyone. Weak resource allocation may cause ineffective implementation of actions, rendering EVs inaccessible to many communities.

Stakeholders must also not become siloed in their work. Creating strategic partnerships with local community entities that may already have completed the groundwork for EV adoption will allow for knowledge and resources to flow more freely, ensuring the most consistent and streamlined actions. 

Finally, if we want to bring EVs to everyone, we must engage everyone. Bringing EV education resources to members of low income communities will be crucial for EV actions, such as installing charging infrastructure, to be highly effective.