Enterprise and the National League of Cities selected three neighborhoods they deem to demonstrate the inequality and need for charging of EVs across the country: St. Louis, Houston, Columbia, and South Carolina.
“If you look at these three cities, they are very different in many ways,” says Tabourn. Over his eight months, they worked to identify some best practices that can help cities regardless of size.
To identify future opportunities, the Equitable Electric Mobility Playbook says the following should be considered:
1. Apply local definitions of equity and equitable electric mobility to define areas of need.
2. Highlight areas where demand for publicly accessible charging is or is likely to be met in the market.
3. Incorporate the needs of different user groups, especially those who share vehicles.
To plan for “socially vulnerable communities,” the playbook uses demographic and economic data and environmental data such as populations of people of color, car-free households, housing and transportation costs, and exposure to pollution. We analyzed the factors.
Below is a summary of the challenges and opportunities for each area cited in the playbook.
- Vulnerable areas are concentrated in northern St. Louis County, Missouri.
- Of the three regions surveyed, only utility company Ameren Missouri has an incentive program for EVs and electric vehicle service equipment.
- Most substations in the region have enough unused capacity to accommodate additional public chargers at 10% EV penetration without the need for additional substation investment. However, once EV penetration hits 20%, upgrades and grid investments may be required.
- St. Louis passed two EV adoption bills. This includes a “future-proof” program consisting of building codes, including EV charging areas, and prioritization of purchases of low-emission city vehicles.
- Vulnerable areas are concentrated in the north and east of the city. These are also regions that have experienced significant low-income migration in recent years. Such regions would benefit from increased access to clean transportation options to offset emissions from nearby manufacturing.
- The city has no EV-related collaborations with CenterPoint Energy. Incentives are available through local retail energy providers.
- Houston has a goal of 30% of new car sales being EVs by 2030, and aims to convert its fleet of municipal vehicles to 100% EVs by 2030.
Columbia, South Carolina
- Vulnerable areas are concentrated in West Columbia and south of Interstate 20.
- Local utility company Dominion is planning an EV service equipment program.
- The city had a goal in its 2016 climate action plan to buy more fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles, but currently no incentives are offered for EVs or charging infrastructure at the municipal level.