- California leads the nation when it comes to state policies encouraging electric vehicle adoption, and no other state comes close, according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
- ACEEE’s 2023 State Transportation Electrification Scorecard awarded the Golden State 88 out of 100 possible points. California wants to electrify all light-duty vehicles; it’s investing in the power grid; and it has made equity a key consideration in its efforts. New York ranked second, with 62 points.
- States must move “far more aggressively” to encourage adoption of EVs and enable the electric grid to reliably charge them, Peter Huether, senior research associate at ACEEE and lead author of the report, said in a statement.
While some states have made significant strides to encourage EV adoption, some have done very little, ACEEE’s report shows.
The group assessed all 50 states and the District of Columbia, but it only ranked the top 33 “because states ranked lower than that each achieved no more than 15% of the total available points,” according to the report published Wednesday.
Rounding out the top five states are Colorado, Massachusetts and Vermont.
“We are seeing incremental progress, not transformational progress,” Huether said. “States will have to move far more aggressively to do their part to enable the electric vehicle transition that the climate crisis demands.”
Among the strong policies states have adopted, California requires 100% of light-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emissions by 2035, and it requires increasing proportions of heavy-duty sales to meet that standard as well.
“States are moving to adopt critical programs developed by California that will drive EV penetration,” the report found. As of May, seven states had adopted the light-duty mandate while eight had adopted the heavy-duty targets.
California and New York are leaders in EV incentives. Both states have “comprehensive and substantial EV tax credits and rebates,” the report found. Further, “California scores full points for utility spending on EV charging infrastructure.”
Colorado’s score was most improved, said ACEEE, tallying 61 points for improvements “across the board but particularly in optimizing its electricity grid for EVs and accelerating the adoption of [heavy-duty] EVs.” The state scored 48 points in the 2021 version of the report.
Massachusetts requires EV-ready parking spaces in some new commercial building construction, and it has allocated its initial funding from the Volkswagen environmental mitigation fund to electrify regional transit buses and develop charging infrastructure.
Vermont has mandated a zero-emission transit bus procurement target for transit agencies and led all states on transportation electrification outcomes, ACEEE said. The state has the most Level 2 charging ports and electric transit buses per 100,000 residents.
Oklahoma, ranked 21st, has the most direct-current fast chargers per capita.
When it comes to equity of the transition, ACEEE said California and New York “are again leaders.” Both states have dedicated portions of their EV programs towards low-income, economically distressed, or environmental justice communities, California at 42% and New York at 16%.
On the whole, however, states “scored poorly on equity metrics,” the report said. And only California scored more than half the points available for equity considerations. “Few states other than California have made significant investments to ensure that electric vehicles and charging are available in underserved communities,” ACEEE said.
“Supportive state policies are needed to ensure that the electric grid is ready and that all households and businesses, including those in underserved communities, can use EVs and have adequate access to charging,” Huether said.
States looking to improve their score should begin by collecting data, including EV registrations, charger locations, and EV adoption by race and income, the report recommends. They can also look to federal funding authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and the bipartisan infrastructure law “to help coordinate planning and deployment of charging infrastructure,” alongside private funding.