Nonprofit Research Group Finds California Is the Friendliest EV State

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【Summary】Unlike any other state in the U.S., California has deadlines in place for electric transportation vehicles, an assistance program for low-income drivers to purchase an EV, and a plan to deploy chargers in economically distressed areas.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 16, 2021 8:45 AM PT
Nonprofit Research Group Finds California Is the Friendliest EV State

Electric vehicles are relatively new options on the market. Because of their high price tags and relatively low range compared to gas-powered cars, they're not popular options in the U.S. and they probably won't catch on for at least another decade. Some states, though, offer better incentives and charging infrastructure than others, making them more electric-vehicle friendly. 

A new study conducted by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit research and advocacy group, ranked 29 states to find which one enabled the use of electric vehicles. As one would expect, the results aren't all that surprising.

California Leads The Pack

According to the study, California came out on top with a score of 91 out of 100. California is one of the few states to have deadlines in place to electrify transit buses, commercial vehicles, and heavy trucks. Additionally, the state offers assistance for low-income drivers to purchase an EV and plans to build more chargers in economically distressed communities. 

These three things helped it be the best state in the U.S. for EVs. Following California was New York; Washington, D.C.; Maryland; Massachusetts; Washington; Vermont; Colorado; Oregon; and New Jersey. 

A lot of states, even high-ranking ones, have room for improvement. What the ACEEE believes every state should do is shift to affordable and accessible EVs. That's the best and only way to support livable communities and reduce emissions in the country.

"Transitioning to electric vehicles is vital for the climate and for reducing costs for households and businesses," said Bryan Howard, state policy director at ACEEE and lead report author. "The leading states are embracing this transition, but many more are just starting, even as the automakers are preparing a burst of new electric models."

What Incentives Work

The study found that the majority of states in the U.S. are planning the introduction of more electric vehicles (23 states), offering incentives, which include rebates, grants, and tax credits for consumers interested in purchasing an EV (27 states), using federal funds to purchase electric buses (48 states), coming out with programs to reduce the cost of charging an EV (36 states), and utility funding to increase EV adoption in low-income communities (15 states). 

While all of these are things that states are doing to increase the adoption of EVs, the study found three policies that have the greatest impact. ZEV mandates and EV deployment targets, incentives for installing a charger, and financial incentives for EV purchases.

For states that missed out on making the top 30, ACEEE recommends coming out with a comprehensive plan with specific goals, collecting data, benchmarking progress, establishing a direction for charging stations, and adding funding adders for low-income communities. The majority of states in the Midwest and the South ranked poorly in the study. 

The latter is bad news for companies like Ford and General Motors, which are investing millions into developing new electrified vehicles.

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