Utilities Can Boost Electric Vehicles and Cut Carbon

It’s Climate Week in New York and a new video, Accelerating the Electric Vehicle Market, shows that electric vehicles are essential for protecting our planet. The transportation sector is the largest U.S. source of carbon pollution and electrifying vehicles is a key strategy for cleaning up our mobility.

As the video makes clear, electric utilities are really important for achieving the transition away from today’s oil-fueled transportation because these companies are unique in their ability to provide the widespread electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and customer awareness that will accelerate EV uptake.

Transportation electrification is “unstoppable,” Ceres President Mindy Lubber notes in the video, but we must make the transition rapidly to safeguard our planet and to capture the benefits to consumers and the electricity grid.

If we convert most passenger cars to EVs and power them with clean energy, we’ll achieve a vital milestone for avoiding the worst impacts of global warming as described in NRDC’s new comprehensive analysis, “America’s Clean Energy Frontier: The Pathway to a Safer Climate Future.

As the video notes, electric utilities can accelerate the market for electric vehicles by installing vehicle-charging infrastructure along highway corridors, in cities, at workplaces and at residences, including apartment complexes. Key principles for deploying infrastructure include increasing electric vehicle access to disadvantaged communities, including in areas historically plagued with poor air quality. Utilities should use their existing relationships with consumers to provide attractive vehicle-charging rates and incentives to charge at times when the grid has excess capacity.

States that accelerate transportation electrification can save billions of dollars because electric transportation is cheaper and cleaner than the petroleum system of today. As the video shows, state and federal climate leaders should pursue the rapid shift to electric vehicles to clean the air and strengthen their economies.

About the Authors

Luke Tonachel

Director, Clean Vehicles and Fuels Group, Climate & Clean Energy Program

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