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RMI & GM Team Up To Drive Equity & Affordability Into EV Charging Infrastructure

RMI has received a philanthropic grant from the General Motors Climate Equity Fund to support efforts to increase equitable access to electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and drive costs out of the system across the United States and Canada.

RMI has received a catalytic grant of $750,000 from General Motors (GM) to support work that will identify electric vehicle “charging deserts” in low-income communities across major North American cities and will create a large government, industry, and community stakeholder effort to streamline residential and public EV charging infrastructure permitting.

GM’s recently launched Climate Equity Fund, which is helping close equity gaps in the transition to electric vehicles and other sustainable technology, is providing this grant to RMI to improve access to the EV market, particularly across low-income communities, by providing data-driven analytics and actionable insights to decision makers and stakeholders.

“Transportation emissions disproportionately impact our cities’ most underserved and vulnerable populations. This funding from GM will enable RMI to provide local community stakeholders with the evidence and tools they need to intervene, so we don’t continue to grow the gap in accessibility to clean mobility options and exposure to harmful tailpipe emissions,” said Britta Gross, managing director of RMI’s Carbon-Free Mobility Program.

The grant will provide funding over the next year to support two key initiatives under RMI’s Carbon-Free Mobility Program:

  1. Expand RMI’s Los Angeles-focused “EV Charging for All” equity analysis to additional major cities across the United States and Canada. This will provide critical data, along with actionable analysis, for stakeholders, especially those in low-income communities, to accelerate access to clean, electric mobility options.
  2. Develop a streamlined permitting system for residential and public EV charging stations. Based on the success of SolarAPP+, a standardized, automated, instantaneous online system created by NREL and supported by RMI and other partners to radically streamline residential solar rooftop permitting, these processes will reduce time, and thus costs, for communities and infrastructure providers to obtain EV charger permits.

“GM is committed to supporting accessible and affordable charging solutions that can help meet customers where they are. We understand the need to address charging deserts and other barriers preventing access to electric vehicles, including in ride-hailing and car-sharing services,” said Kristen Siemen, chief sustainability officer at GM. “RMI is closing the climate equity gap at the community level and helping pave the way for communities to experience the benefits of zero-emissions mobility.”

When successfully deployed at scale, these analyses and tools will provide cost-effective pathways to bring EVs into low-income neighborhoods and support policymakers, utilities and private investors in driving new investment into the market to benefit communities and the environment.

© 2021 Rocky Mountain Institute. Published with permission. Originally posted on RMI Outlet.

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Written By

Since 1982, RMI (previously Rocky Mountain Institute) has advanced market-based solutions that transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous and secure future. An independent, nonprofit think-and-do tank, RMI engages with businesses, communities and institutions to accelerate and scale replicable solutions that drive the cost-effective shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. Please visit for more information.


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