WASHINGTON -- In a few short years, there could be millions more electric vehicles (EVs) on America’s roads, with eight states collectively pledging to add 3.3 million EVs by 2025. But according to a new, California-focused report out today, in order to meet current and future demand for these climate-protecting vehicles, states must make EV charging easier.
“We need to make owning and operating an EV as convenient for Americans as having our current exhaust-spewing cars. Plugging in should be as easy as filling up,” said Susan Rakov, chair of Environment America Research and Policy Center’s Clean Energy Program. “To minimize the pollution that causes climate change, we have to electrify our transportation system as quickly as possible -- a critical piece will be enabling people to easily charge their cars on-the-go.”
Ready to Charge, from Environment California Research and Policy Center, CALPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group, points out that the state already has become much more EV-friendly. Unfortunately, the day-to-day experience of charging an EV has a long way to go to match the ease of fueling a gas-powered car. The report suggests five policy solutions that would facilitate the installation of more public charging stations and allow drivers to use and pay at any station, regardless of which company operates it.
“Electric vehicles are coming, and California needs to be ready,” said Dan Jacobson, director of Environment California and report co-author. “By taking steps to improve our EV infrastructure and accelerate the transition to electric transportation, California can create the road map for other states to follow.”
Transportation emissions are the number one contributor to global warming in California and the United States as a whole. Getting more EVs on the road will reduce those emissions, which will help address climate change and improve air quality. The policies that the report suggests for California also can be applied in other states across the country.
States are already planning to invest millions of dollars into EV charging, and the report calls for public investments to be spent wisely so that charging stations are as convenient and accessible as possible for the most people. In 2016, a year after Volkswagen admitted to cheating on emissions tests, the automaker settled with the U.S. Department of Justice to mitigate the environmental damage it caused. As part of the settlement, states across the country have more than $400 million to spend on EV charging infrastructure.
“In coming years, millions more Americans will be driving EVs. We must clear all roadblocks to charging up our cars when we’re away from home,” said report co-author and Frontier Group policy analyst Alana Miller. “The good news is that smart policies, many of which are already in place in Europe, can help maximize the potential of electric vehicles. EV charging stations need to be intuitive, affordable, accessible and everywhere.”
By implementing smart policy solutions, California and states across the country can ensure that charging stations not only exist, but they are user-friendly, affordable and accessible to anyone who chooses to drive an EV.