A coalition of conservation and consumer advocacy organizations is kicking off a new “GoEV City” campaign designed to help local Colorado governments support the transition to electric transportation. Does your city have what it takes to become a GoEV City? Check out what these communities are doing to give residents the opportunity to reduce emissions, breathe cleaner air, save money, and lead the way for greater EV adoption nationwide.
Cities have a unique opportunity to lead on climate policy. Many cities already have taken action on emission reductions and provide cleaner energy in the electricity sector with ambitious renewable energy commitments. They can do the same in the transportation sector by setting bold targets for electric vehicle (EV) adoption and by implementing policies and strategies to kick the EV transition into high gear.
That’s what GoEV is all about — committing to embrace electric transportation in order to meet a community’s goals and provide cleaner air, more affordable transportation, and leadership for greater EV adoption nationwide.
Colorado currently ranks 8th in the nation for highest market share and 7th for number of EVs per capita. In January of 2018, the state of Colorado released Colorado’s Electric Vehicle Plan, which sets the goal of nearly a million EVs on the road by 2030. Achieving this goal is key to meeting state targets for carbon emissions reductions and fixing air quality problems, but it won’t happen without cities stepping up to meet the challenge.
Oftentimes, we’d really like to be advocates for justice issues, but it’s tough to start from scratch. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) has created the GoEV Policy Toolkit, which offers a process approach and lots of sample documents that can help you and your municipality take a holistic approach to transportation electrification.
Start by making the commitment, then adopt the GoEV Resolution, draft an EV Action Plan, and engage in local, state, and federal EV advocacy efforts. Here’s how, step-by-step.
Adopt the GoEV City Guiding Principles and Policy Commitments
Your local government can join the movement by adopting the GoEV Resolution. Your city:
- commits to transition its own fleet to zero-emissions vehicles
- works with local transit agency to transition to zero-emissions buses
- works to transition taxis, Uber/Lyft, and similar services to zero-emissions vehicles
- sets goals to transition all vehicles in the community to zero-emissions vehicles
Here’s a sample EV resolution.
Draft an EV Action Plan
To be part of the GoEV City program, your city must have a City EV Action Plan in place within 18 months of joining. The Action Plan establishes priorities for the next 5 years and a pathway with goals for 2025, 2030, and 2050. The document serves as a comprehensive master plan for transportation electrification in the community and includes a list of action items and deliverables alongside the corresponding City department to encourage implementation. The short plan will include target percentages of EVs by mode, EV charging equipment, funding mechanisms, EV-Ready building codes, etc.
Here’s as sample Action Plan from Denver.
Design an EV Driver Bill of Rights
An EV Driver Bill of Rights defines a series of rights focused on the EV consumer purchase experience, charging experience, and ownership experience. Specifics might include an informed EV consumer purchase experience, access to a robust EV charging network, and opportunities to take part in rebates or incentives without accompanying sales tax.
The Sierra Club has created a sample EV Driver Bill of Rights for cities to consider.
Advocate for State and Federal EV-Friendly Policies and Programs
Cities can become leaders in advocacy efforts to advance EV-friendly policies at the state and federal levels alongside advocating for utility investment in EV infrastructure and EV-specific rate design. Your city might ask your state to join other states and Washington,
D.C which have already used the authority provided by Section 177 of the Clean Air Act to adopt a set of Advanced Clean Car Standards. This could preserve current federal standards in your state with the addition of also requiring increased sales of electric vehicles.
Check out this sample letter from over 2 dozen Colorado local governments and affiliates.
EV Purchase Subsidy
Cities can offer EV rebates to reduce the capital costs of EV ownership. Rebates should be offered at the point-of-sale and can be designed with a vehicle cost cap to focus the benefits on low and middle-income residents.
Here’s sample vehicles purchase rebate template designed by the Sierra Club in conjunction with Plug-In America.
EV and EBike Group Buy Incentives
Wouldn’t it be great if your city were to create an EV group buy program? It could extend vehicle discounts to consumers through strategic partnerships and community-based outreach and marketing. Local dealerships would provide limited-time EV discounts and, in exchange, the municipality coordinates with local partners to educate the community and promote the program.
SWEEP has an EV group buy handbook along with case studies that are very helpful.
Protected EV Parking and Signage
It’s important for cities to implement signage and parking regulations for EV charging spaces through a zoning or parking ordinance. That prevents EV charging spaces from getting blocked by gas-powered vehicles. Cities can collaborate with other agencies to increase EV signage, which helps EV drivers and non-EV drivers alike. Moreover, for any city facilities with publicly-accessible charging, the city should install EV signage at the facility entrance to help increase consumer awareness from adjacent roadways.
Here’s some succinct legal language from Arizona on dedicated parking.
Discounted Parking Rates for EVs
A wonderful way for cities to embrace EV owners is to offer free or discounted parking rates for EV drivers at city parking meters and city-owned parking garages. EV parking programs can be designed to phase out once EVs reach a certain occupancy rate, such as 5% for city-owned parking garages.
Here’s the Sacramento public parking information from which your city might draw.
Carpool/ HOA Lane Access for EVs
Why not allow EVs to travel in HOV, HOT, or BRT lanes without paying the toll or satisfying the 2-3 passenger minimum requirement? Each of these programs was designed to be an incentive to people to lesson congestion and pollution on heavily traveled roads. Programs can include a permit cap or performance standard to avoid HOV lane congestion from high penetration of EVs. (This will generally require negotiating agreements with a city’s Department of Transportation.)
Here’s how the Colorado Department of Transportation handled the HOA lane access for EVs.
Vehicle Feebate Program
A fee-bate is a revenue-neutral system that collects fees from buyers of “gas guzzlers” and redistributes them as rebates to buyers of highly efficient and EVs. Feebates have been implemented in France and Denmark, and have been considered in some states in the US.
“The California Feebate: Revenue Neutral Approach to Support Transition Towards More Energy Efficient Vehicles” is a good resource if your city would like to consider such a fee-bate system.
Municipal EV Fleet Targets
By replacing their vehicle fleets with EVs, municipalities can reduce both fleet emissions and operating costs. Local governments can establish incremental city fleet targets for purchases of light-duty EVs. Cities can also consider EV procurement for any vehicle replacements when suitable EV options are available with equivalent operational capability.
Boulder County’s Clean Future 2018 study is a good source for ideas on EV fleets and employee workplace charging at city and county parking facilities.
Electric Buses in Public Transportation — and for Schools
Your city can work with transit agencies to transition from fossil-fuel to fully electric buses. Electric buses may have higher capital costs, but they provide significant life-time savings because of reduced maintenance and fuel costs, especially in high-mileage use cases. Cities can work with local and regional transit agencies to secure electric bus grants through Electrify America (the VW settlement), build-out electric bus charging infrastructure, and get commitments to full electrification. Schools may be open to cost savings and environmental benefits through collaboration with municipalities.
Check out Seattle’s plan for 120 electric buses by 2020.
Electric Taxis/ Uber/ Lyft Targets
While we might not think about it very often, cities can shape the transition to electric-shared mobility by engaging directly with Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). They can also partner on pilot programs centered around EV adoption, charging, and innovative multi-modal programs.
Check out the Uber EV Incentives Program in 7 major cities to learn more.
Investment in Electric Rideshare Charging Hubs
Cities can engage the community by installing DC fast chargers at designated charging hubs. Public-private partnerships that encourage TNC electrification and access to high-powered and reliable charging help to reduce range anxiety for high-mileage TNC drivers. They also allow TNC fleet managers to optimize fleet operations through coordinated charging. High-powered charging hubs can be co-located with electric transit, school bus, and car-sharing chargers to maximize efficiency.
Electric Autonomous Vehicle Incentives or Requirements
Your city could be seen as quite visionary if it requires or incentivizes all autonomous vehicles to be electric as well as to incentivize operators of shared-autonomous commercial fleets to deploy EVs. Programs do need to be carefully designed to avoid state or federal pre-emption.
Massachusetts has a proposed bill in its legislature that would require all autonomous vehicles to the EVs. It could be a good model for your city as it looks ahead to the future of autonomous electrified transportation.
As city leaders think ahead to transportation electrification, the possibilities can seem overwhelming. The items we’ve shared above based on GoEV Toolkit items don’t even get into:
- the details of EV charging (adopting EV-Ready building codes, constructing public charging stations, and providing incentives for businesses and multi-family properties to build their own)
- education and awareness (organizing EV outreach events and incorporating awareness programs into existing energy efficiency and transportation programs to educate the community on the benefits of EVs)
- working with electric utilities (working with electric utilities to develop EV charging infrastructure programs and designing EV-friendly electricity rates)
The GoEV procedures offer a roadmap to increasing EV adoption and shows how, when regulations and incentives align, it’s possible to make shifts in the wider transportation system. We here at CleanTechnica have contacted GoEV to see if they can offer suggestions for cities who are interested in transportation electrification. Hints about how to overcome initial inertia might make all the difference — Where should we start? How can we build consensus in our community? Is the investment in time and human hours worth the end results? As soon as we hear back from them, we’ll include their advice here.
“Cities have an important role to play in improving air quality and providing sustainable transportation options for local residents. Electric vehicles, including cars, bikes, and buses, offer an exciting opportunity for cities to take the lead on climate policy and reduce harmful emissions from the transportation sector. The GoEV City campaign is a network of cities and counties that have pledged to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. Cities can set bold EV targets and adopt ambitious programs and policies that have proven to increase public awareness of EVs and expand access to EV charging stations. EVs also present an opportunity for cities to engage with their communities and collaborate with local employers, transit agencies, and electric utilities to improve the local transportation system.” – Matt Frommer, SWEEP
In the meantime, when cities move to all-electric sustainable transportation, they’re embracing long term benefits — not just to the environment but also to emerging technological applications that exist within battery technology. Transportation electrification will be only the start in ways that cities will be able to transfer to other energy applications beyond moving people around in urban areas.