Transportation Electrification: States Rev Up
Governors and states more broadly are pivotal in the ongoing transformation of the transportation sector to one that is increasingly electrified. The transition necessitates decisions regarding a wide range of issues including education and outreach efforts, vehicle and charging infrastructure incentives, the location and specifications of public charging infrastructure, electrification corridor designations and signage and, in some states, allowable vehicle emissions levels.
Motivations for action vary. One of the most common objectives is lowering transportation related emissions, either of smog-forming pollutants, greenhouse gases or both. Additional reasons for action include economic development, fuel diversity, and responding to electric utility interest in maintaining or growing load growth.
States have revved up their actions dramatically in the past few years. They have expanded their toolkit beyond tax incentives and education programs that characterized earlier years. New actions include governors issuing executive orders to electrify state fleets, adopting zero emissions programs, developing strategies for investments under the VW emissions test cheating settlement, clarifying rules for third party providers of charging infrastructure, approving proposals by electric utilities for using ratepayer funding to support infrastructure investments, and establishing regional programs to advance infrastructure and vehicle programs.
Despite the strong interest in transportation electrification and robust action taken to date, all states are confronting one or more challenges to overcome low adoption rates. These challenges include lack of consumer awareness and education, limited charging infrastructure that contributes to range anxiety, high upfront costs that prevent equitable access to EVs, and uncertainty in dealing with the impacts to transportation revenue.