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Drive Electric USA — Electrifying 14 States

Electric vehicle leaders in 14 states have just launched a three-year effort to develop “Drive Electric” programs at the state level for these 14 states. The states do not include clear leader likes California and Oregon, but rather focus on places that need a boost or are just getting off the ground.

The initiative stemmed from a conversation between East Tennessee Clean Fuels (ETCF) staff and Clean Fuels Ohio (CFO) staff in early 2020, and they were awarded US Department of Energy (DOE) funding before the year was over. After several months of preparation, the core Drive Electric USA team pulled together a few dozens additional partners to help create these state-level programs.

One of those partners is CleanTechnica, and I’m sitting on 4 of the “Project Advisory Committee” working groups. The working groups are focused on 7 different priority areas the Drive Electric USA team determined were critical elements of state-level Drive Electric programs. Here is how Drive Electric USA summarizes these priority areas:

1) Statewide Branded EV Programs

The Project will create strong statewide branded EV programs, each guided by a committee of EV stakeholders and encompassing locally based chapters. These programs will attract support and resources, coordinate action across all other Priority Areas, and increase positive exposure.

2) Consumer Education & Local Chapter Development

Directly educate at least 14,000 consumers (average of 1,000+ per state) through direct participation in EV Ride-and-Drives (R&Ds) and other tactics. Develop and support local EV chapters (at least two per state) to coordinate R&Ds based on specific event models. Gather and analyze participant surveys.

3) Utility and Regulator Engagement

Educate state utility regulators, plus investor-owned, municipal, and cooperative utilities in 14 states. Base education on evolving best practices for utility EV programs and benefits of transportation electrification for all stakeholders, including non-EV owning utility customers. Conduct seminars, forums, R&Ds and other convenings for utilities, regulators and stakeholders in the sector.

4) EV Charging Infrastructure Planning

Conduct gap analyses and develop or update plans for EV charging infrastructure in each of the 14 Partnership states at statewide, regional and community levels. Use analyses to educate a wide range of stakeholders and plan deployment of EVSE at all levels and site types in each state.

5) State and Local Government Officials Education

Educate government officials in all 14 Partnership states. At the state level, focus on best practices for incentive programs for vehicles and infrastructure, state building codes, weights and measures issues for public EVSE, among others. At the local level, focus on guidance for charging in public rights of way, signage and parking enforcement, local building codes, and government fleet electrification.

6) Dealer Engagement — Develop Preferred Dealer Programs

Develop “preferred” EV dealer programs in 14 states, then secure forty or more preferred dealers total, with at least two per state. Build web-based platforms to help channel interested EV purchasers to preferred dealers. Partner with “low touch” Internet- based retailers that sell EVs, especially in portions of states still underserved by supportive dealers.

7) Fleet Engagement & EV Adoption

Meet with personnel from 560 fleets across all Partnership states, then drive EV adoption in an average of at least 10 fleets per state.

State population data came from the U.S. Census. Registered EV data is in flux — current data is from Atlas EV HUB; we expect to update this in March 2021. DC Fast Charger and Level 2 station data is from the U.S. DOE Alternative Fuel Station Locator state results, and refers to the number of “stations” or locations where one or more DCFC/Level 2 units can be found (added in Feb. 2021).

The Project Advisory Committee members are a mixture of private sector, nonprofit, and governmental entities. It is diverse and should cover all the bases necessary to help create high-quality state Drive Electric programs. Here are the 34 current Project Advisory Committee members:

  1. Argonne National Laboratory | ANL
  2. Association for Energy Services Professionals
  3. Atlas Public Policy
  4. Black & Veatch
  6. Center for Sustainable Energy
  7. ChargEVC
  8. ChargePoint
  9. CleanTechnica
  10. Clipper Creek
  11. Edison Electric Institute
  12. Electric Power Research Institute | EPRI
  13. EVNoire
  14. Fermata Energy
  15. FORTH
  16. Generation 180
  17. Greenlots
  18. Green Energy Consumers
  19. Lipschultz Energy and Communications Consulting LLC
  20. National Association of State Energy Officials | NASEO
  21. National Automobile Dealers Association
  22. National Conference of State Legislatures
  23. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
  24. North American Council for Freight Efficiency | NACFE
  25. Orange EV
  26. Plug In America
  27. RMI
  28. San Diego Clean Cities Coalition
  29. Shift2Electric
  30. Sierra Club
  31. Slipstream
  32. Southern Company
  33. Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance | SEEA
  34. Xcel Energy

We have a long way to go to electrify transport in the United States, but I am hopeful this initiative will speed up the transition. If you have any special feedback to provide on any of the topics above, feel free to pass it along, but I especially invite you to brainstorm and comment on the 4 focus areas of the working groups I’m on:

  • Statewide Branded EV Programs
  • Consumer Education & Local Chapter Development
  • EV Charging Infrastructure Planning
  • Dealer Engagement — Develop Preferred Dealer Programs

If you have something to share on any of these topics, pass it along. As the programs are develop, I expect to bring highlights of some of the conversations here to CleanTechnica, where I expect we can also gather some thoughtful feedback from engaged readers.

If you want to get involved in Drive Electric USA directly yourself, you can contact the administrative team here. You could also get involved through one of several Clean Cities Coalitions groups involved in the initiative.

Last but not least, the Drive Electric USA website includes a resources section that is sure to grow over time. For now, it includes the following plans or roadmaps as well as the Atlas EV Hub. Here are the exact documents that are listed at the moment:

  • Colorado EV Plan
  • Florida EV Roadmap
  • NC ZEV Plan
  • Tennessee EV Roadmap
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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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