Study: California can supercharge America’s electric vehicle revolution

Media Contacts

Five ways the state can streamline charging to make owning and operating an electric car easier

Environment California Research and Policy Center, CALPIRG Education Fund

SACRAMENTO — California is home to the nation’s largest fleet of electric vehicles (EVs), and has signaled its intention to put even more on the road. But in order to meet current and future demand for these climate-protecting vehicles, according to a new report, the state must take steps to make EV charging easier.

Emissions from transportation — in particular from private, gasoline-powered cars — are now the top contributor to global warming in California. By embracing five strategies outlined in the report, California can accelerate the transition to zero-emission electric vehicles, which will help address climate change and improve air quality.

“Electric vehicles are coming — that’s what California has decided, and it’s a great decision. So we have to do all we can, as quickly as we can, to make driving an EV as convenient as filling up with unleaded,” said Environment California Research and Policy Center executive director and report co-author Dan Jacobson. “With the right infrastructure and the right rules of the road, EVs are poised to take over. Let’s get to work.”

Ready to Charge, released by Environment California Research and Policy Center, CALPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group, urges California to adopt policy solutions that: facilitate the installation of more public charging stations; allow drivers to use and pay at any station, regardless of which company operates it; require disclosure of data so EV drivers can seamlessly find available stations; ensure chargers are occupied only by charging EVs (not by parked cars); and promote shared mobility so people can drive EVs without having to own one.

In 2012, California passed the Electric Vehicle Charging Open Access Act to help tackle this issue by expanding charging access and clarifying pricing for EV drivers. The California’s Air Resources Board is currently developing rules to implement the law.

“By improving charging infrastructure for EVs, California can create the roadmap for other states to follow,” said CALPIRG Education Fund executive director and report co-author Emily Rusch. “All eyes are on us, and we have the tools to make sure that plugging in is as easy as fueling up.”

California is a leader in adopting EVs, accounting for half of America’s EV sales, and it is poised to set the bar even higher. The state set a goal of getting 5 million zero-emission vehicles on California streets by 2030 — up from 513,000 sold through 2018.

“In coming years, millions more Californians will be driving EVs. We must clear all roadblocks to charging up our cars when we’re away from home,” said report co-author and Frontier Group policy analyst Alana Miller. “The good news is that smart policies, many of which are already in place in Europe, can help maximize the potential of electric vehicles. EV charging stations need to be intuitive, affordable, accessible and everywhere.”