Electrical automobile (EV) drivers are sometimes extremely obsessed with their vehicles. It’s not nearly conserving the air clear and lowering local weather warming emissions: it’s additionally about decrease prices on the pump and fewer upkeep wants, yr after yr. For all of those causes, cities throughout the USA—together with lots of the 25 cities taking part within the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Local weather Problem—have launched efforts to extend electrical automobile adoption.
Cities are going through a lot of cussed limitations on this effort, together with consciousness that these vehicles exist. Regardless of vital efforts by policymakers and advocates over the previous a number of years, researchers have found that few automobile house owners can identify an electrical automobile make and mannequin, assume there are sufficient charging stations, or learn about out there buying incentives.
Extra promising, nevertheless, is research discovering that attitudes towards EVs enhance as individuals be taught extra about their advantages, corresponding to not needing oil modifications, or get to expertise personally driving one. Till the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in-person occasions of every kind, advocates and practitioners relied on “experience and drive” occasions that invited individuals to expertise the advantages of an EV first hand. Researchers have discovered this method to be fairly efficient: surveys point out individuals usually tend to buy an EV after a take a look at drive and, in California, 15 % of individuals in a single ride-and-drive collection bought or leased an EV inside 6 months of doing a take a look at drive. In different phrases, seeing is believing.
Electrical Automobile Training Goes Digital
This week is usually generally known as “National Drive Electric Week,” a time when lots of of EV take a look at drive occasions can be taking place nationwide, with EV house owners, dealerships, non-profits, cities, and different companions coming collectively to assist 1000’s of drivers get behind the wheel of an EV for the primary time. This yr, in fact, an occasion based mostly on sharing automobiles with strangers is out of the query, so cities and their companions have sought out new creative approaches to proceed advancing EV consciousness just about.
Right here’s how a number of the cities taking part within the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Local weather Problem and their companions celebrated Nationwide Drive Electrical Week just about:
- St. Petersburg, FL: The Southern Alliance for Clear Power (SACE) Driving on Sunshine marketing campaign has been providing first-hand take a look at driving experiences in EVs to individuals all through Florida and the Southeast since 2019. Early throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SACE pivoted to providing digital “experience alongside” experiences by video in addition to reside query and reply periods with drivers. This Nationwide Drive Electrical Week, SACE is constant its partnership with the Metropolis of St. Petersburg via the Local weather Problem to supply a virtual ride along and promote a brand new video collection, “EVs are for EVeryone,” that highlights gasoline and upkeep financial savings, the supply of reasonably priced used EVs, and extra to bust the parable that EVs are too costly for all however the wealthiest residents. The digital occasion was additionally a possibility to spotlight many EV initiatives from the City, together with a brand new inexperienced fleet coverage and an EV readiness code replace.
- Orlando, FL: By way of its partnership with the Metropolis of Orlando, the Electrification Coalition, and the Local weather Problem, the Orlando Utilities Fee is launching a model new Electrified Dealer Program this week. A primary of its sort for the area, this program will present EV buy incentives for each sellers and patrons. Whereas sellers are the entrance strains of shopper schooling for EVs, they’ve been notoriously reluctant to market electric options, which might go away potential patrons feeling discouraged. By providing incentives to each patrons and sellers, coaching for salespeople, and digital academic experiences, the Electrified Supplier Program will search to upend this problem within the Orlando area. The Orlando Utilities Fee has additionally introduced a collection of recent good charging hubs for the area, as results of a partnership that netted $500,000 in awards by the state’s VW Settlement funding. The undertaking is already underway, and a brand new EV charging mobility hub will likely be situated on OUC-owned land subsequent to Ace Cafe, a well-liked downtown vacation spot. The positioning will characteristic as much as 22 quick charging stations, together with 16 quick chargers for Teslas. Each of those bulletins are complemented by a number of further Metropolis-led EV initiatives underway, together with the event of 100 public charging stations, a brand new EV readiness code, and the electrification of the Metropolis’s bus fleet.
- Indianapolis, IN: The Metropolis of Indianapolis—in partnership with its Clear Cities Coalition, and Forth Mobility via the Local weather Problem—provided a two-day virtual workshop on workplace charging for Indiana employers and municipalities this week. Office charging is a crucial ingredient within the EV charging ecosystem, providing a key alternative for EVs to cost whereas drivers are at work. Initially deliberate to be an in-person occasion, the workshop used a brand new platform that seeks to imitate the in-person convention expertise by providing networking alternatives and an “exhibitors corridor” the place individuals might join with distributors and native installers to assist get their tasks off the bottom.
- San Antonio, TX: The Metropolis of San Antonio Workplace of Sustainability partnered with the Alamo Space Council of Governments and Forth Mobility to placed on a series of events targeted on EV fundamentals, the EV panorama in Texas, and electrical mobility choices past the non-public automobile, corresponding to electrical bikes, vans, buses. Though it was totally on-line, Monday’s occasion was extra like a standard Drive Electrical Day, that includes native EV house owners speaking about their automobiles and strolling individuals via the fundamentals of charging. Tuesday was targeted on how utilities and native governments promote EVs in San Antonio, Austin, Houston and in addition featured an thrilling new statewide partnership. Lastly, Thursday highlighted micromility, buses, and vans, together with a consultant from Navistar, which simply introduced a brand new electrical manufacturing facility in San Antonio.
- Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati additionally hosted a series of events, with an occasion every day of Nationwide Drive Electrical Week designed to talk to completely different audiences and construct on the Metropolis’s distinctive peer to peer EV ambassador program, which was launched earlier this yr. This week’s occasions highlighted new public chargers at cultural and iconic establishments in Cincinnati such because the Artwork Museum and Findlay Market to lift consciousness concerning the capacity to drive electrical and cost at public stations all through town. One occasion targeted on Cincinnati’s “e-bike revolution,” showcasing one other extra reasonably priced electrical mobility choice that has been taking off over the previous few months.
As EVs Turn into Extra Reasonably priced, an Growing Give attention to Fairness and Entry
COVID-19 has highlighted the hyperlinks between air pollution and public health in addition to the disproportionate burden of transportation air pollution and related detrimental public well being outcomes that frontline communities face. As Dr. Shelley Francis of EVHybridNoire, the nation’s largest multicultural community of numerous EV house owners and fanatics, has emphasized, “past the monetary insulation from various gasoline/gasoline prices, EVs and different multimodal clear transportation choices present a big public well being alternative to mitigate frontline communities publicity to automobile emissions.” Over time, EVs have gotten inexpensive and extra used fashions have gotten out there. Consistent with this development, a lot of this yr’s occasions additionally concentrate on fairness and increasing entry to the advantages of electrical mobility choices:
- Seattle, WA: In Seattle, native credit score union ExpressCU partnered with native environmental justice group ECOSS to supply a Spanish-language virtual event about the advantages of EVs generally and ExpressCU’s modern EV fair financing program specifically. Along with the challenges famous above round schooling for potential EV drivers and sellers alike, patrons who’ve poor or no credit score steadily experience discriminatory practices when shopping for a automobile and gaining access to financing. Consequently, early pilots in Seattle, Portland, California, and extra are working to supply “truthful financing” applications with decrease rates of interest, monetary schooling, EV schooling, and down fee help to allow reasonably priced entry to used EVs to extra communities.
- San Jose and Los Angeles, CA: Each San Jose and LA partnered with Forth Mobility, rideshare firms, and different stakeholders to supply English and Spanish language academic occasions about EVs for rideshare drivers. Rideshare drivers, who are sometimes decrease earnings and frequently drive many more miles than a typical driver, stand to profit from EV value financial savings, significantly in these two cities the place buying incentives are beneficiant and charging is abundantly out there.