April 01, 2020

EV for EV: Equity and Viability in Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Law and Policy

Achinthi C. Vithanage

Electric vehicles (EVs) are seldom seen in low-income communities. High up-front costs of EV ownership and the lack of charging infrastructure in proximity to such neighborhoods have fueled inequitable distribution. At the same time, uncertainty in the viability of the EV market hinders infrastructure development. EVs have not reached affordability levels for a mass majority of consumers, and establishing a widely deployed EV charging infrastructure is a significant cost burden, causing potential investors to shy away. These viability concerns underlie governmental policies and programs designed to spur EV purchases and promote infrastructure investment by utilities, potentially shifting the cost burden to ratepayers, some of whom are the least able to access EVs. Simultaneous consideration and coordination of equity and viability concerns will assist a more just transition to electrified road transportation.

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