The future of transportation is electric, and many US states have recognized that EVs can help states to meet a variety of economic, environmental, and public health goals. Case studies indicate that, while many policymakers may look to Congress and the federal level to lead the way on EV policy, numerous policymakers at the state level are leading the way. Several US states have begun to enact supportive policy measures for the EV pre-purchases, ownership, infrastructure build-out, and education and outreach.
States have a critical role to play in the electrification of the transportation sector.
Case Studies of Collaborative Efforts across States
The West Coast Electric Highway is a network of electric vehicle DC fast charging stations located every 25 to 50 miles along Interstate 5, Hwy 99, and other major roadways in Washington, Oregon, and California. The initiative is a collection of projects, funding sources, and partners with the same vision—to provide a network of fast charging stations enabling electric vehicle drivers to make longer trips and travel between cities.
The west coast has a robust EV charging network with hundreds of DC fast chargers and thousands of Level 2 charging units. The Washington State Department of Transportation leads the charge in Washington. The Oregon Department of Transportation heads up efforts in Oregon. A California Governor’s Office interagency group coordinates charging investment in California. Plug In BC across the border, a collaborative among government and industry partners, joins in as the information hub for British Columbia.
The Transportation and Climate Initiative is comprised of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia. Together, they seek to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy, and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. The initiative builds on the region’s leadership and commitment to energy efficiency and clean energy issues and its programs to reduce carbon emissions in the power sector. At the same time, the effort underscores the sense of urgency shared by all 14 jurisdictions and their collective aspirations to become the leading region for sustainability and clean energy deployment in the country.
The participating jurisdictions are: Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. Several TCI states are also now working together to explore potential regional policies to improve transportation systems and reduce pollution. Recognizing that more than one third of all carbon emissions come from the transportation sector, participating states started taking action through working groups focused on regional priorities, such as clean vehicles and fuels. The TCI is directed by state and district agencies located within the 14 TCI jurisdictions. Each agency is free to determine whether and how they will participate in individual projects and working groups. The initiative is facilitated by the Georgetown Climate Center.
The Regional Electric Vehicle Midwest Coalition (REV Midwest) is a bipartisan effort initiated by the governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, who are joining forces to build a new network for charging electric vehicles. While the REV Midwest will create jobs and improve public health, its primary goal is to reduce toxic emissions from cars and trucks. The plan promises to make it easier to find charging stations, which could boost adoption of electric vehicles if it eases drivers’ abilities to charge outside their homes. The collaboration will help the Midwest compete for both private investment and federal funding and improve the region’s economy.
REV Midwest will position states in the Midwest region to leverage and collectively increase public and private investment in electric vehicles and electric vehicle infrastructure. To do so, the states will collaborate to:
- Accelerate Medium- and Heavy-Duty Fleet Electrification: Through REV Midwest, participating states will remove barriers to electric MHDV adoption through coordination on charging infrastructure optimization, cooperation on best practices to standardize regulatory schemes, communications, and charging experience.
- Elevate Economic Growth and Industry Leadership: Building on the advanced manufacturing, engineering, research and development, and technological expertise of the Midwest, REV Midwest will coordinate to advance clean energy and mobility manufacturing, safeguard industry electrification leadership, grow the region’s share of electric vehicle production, and elevate access to tools required to equip the workforce of tomorrow. REV Midwest will work to create opportunity for all communities, with a focus on assisting those that are historically disadvantaged.
- Advance Equity and Clean Environment: REV Midwest will advance equity by providing the data and tools to drive an equitable, data-driven, transition to electric vehicles for all communities. To reduce emissions, REV Midwest will cooperate with energy providers to address the full emissions reduction potential and encourage community sustainability through grid advancement.
Individual States & Cities: The Transition to Zero Emissions Transportation
Minnesota recognizes that multiple factors will help the state lower future emissions, including federal fuel economy standards. But the most important mechanism will be electrifying light duty vehicles, as indicated in a state sustainability report. Minnesota’s goal is to reduce GHG emissions from its transportation sector by 30% from 2005 levels by 2025.
The 2021 Minnesota Electric Vehicle Assessment provides data on EV market trends, highlights strategies to increase EV adoption, and recommends actions the state can take to meet its EV adoption and carbon reduction goals. A multi-agency steering committee led the effort with support from a technical stakeholder group from the public, private, and nonprofit sector stakeholders. Minnesota state agencies will use the recommendations from the 2021 Minnesota Electric Vehicle Assessment to develop a strategic plan for EVs that describes potential agency actions that advance EVs and EV charging. The goal is to release the plan in early 2022 to prepare the state for potential new EV funding by the federal government.
To accelerate the electrification of cars, buses trucks and other vehicles in Colorado — and set a goal of 940,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030 — then-Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order supporting a Transition to Zero Emission Vehicles. The plan sets forth strategies and actions to electrify Colorado’s corridors and ensure the benefits that come with widespread adoption of EVs are achieved. Colorado Energy Office has executed a contract with ChargePoint to build EV fast-charging stations that will be located in communities at 33 sites across 6 Colorado corridors. Governor Hickenlooper subsequently signed the Executive Order Maintaining Progress on Clean Vehicles, which directed the AQCC to consider a proposed rule adopting a California Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standard. The AQCC passed the Colorado Low Emission Automobile Regulation (CLEAR).
The Colorado Energy Office is currently conducting one of the nation’s first studies on equity and electric vehicles. Research includes identifying policy options that have been used to increase access to the benefits of EVs, EV policy tools that target equity outcomes, convening advisory committees, mapping electrified equity indicators, and creating an EV equity toolkit. The final EV Equity Study will be released in early 2022.
To meet New York City’s climate goals, the city will need 400,000 vehicle owners to switch to EVs by 2030, and the charging infrastructure to make that possible. A NYC plan will leverage government resources to spur private investment, with the goal of creating a network of 40,000 public L2 chargers citywide and 6,000 DC Fast Chargers by 2030.
An Electric Vehicle Vision Plan for New York City lays out 8 initiatives to dramatically expand access to public charging across the five boroughs that can makes New York City a national leader in preparing for the EV transition. These initiatives include:
- Growing the city-operated fast charging network to over 80 plugs by 2025
- Equipping 20% of all spaces in municipal public parking lots and garages with level 2 chargers by 2025, increasing to 40% by 2030
- DOT will install a network of 1,000 curbside charge points across the five boroughs by 2025, increasing to 10,000 by 2030
- Developing a plan for a Level 2 and Level 1 user-supplied cord charging system that integrates with existing street infrastructure
- Advocating for funding and supportive policies from the federal government
- Working with utilities and regulators to make it easier and cheaper to install EV chargers
- Engaging with EV stakeholders to better understand evolving EV market, technology, and charging needs through an industry day
- Increasing public awareness of EVs and charging opportunities through the PlugNYC marketing program
Images from MNDoT, REV Midwest, Transportation and Climate Initiative, and CleanTechnica