Skip to Main Content

Electric Vehicles: Equity


Research in Progress

Democratization of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure, National Center for Sustainable Transportation, start date: October 2021; expected completion date: September 2022.

To ensure that electric vehicle adoption is possible everywhere and that the air quality benefits of electric vehicles are spread equitably, the infrastructure needs of all drivers must be considered. This project will analyze electric vehicle charging needs at the household level throughout California to determine how many vehicles will have access to charging at home or work and how many will need to rely on shared infrastructure in other locations. The analysis will make it possible to determine both the overall need for charging infrastructure and the spatial variability of this need under various scenarios of infrastructure prioritization and vehicle adoption patterns.

Emissions Impact of Electric Vehicle Adoption on Disadvantaged Communities, National Center for Sustainable Transportation, start date: October 2021; expected completion date: September 2022.

A secondary impact of EV use is the shift from tailpipe pollutant emissions to pollutants coming from the smokestacks of electricity generation units. As electric vehicles are being adopted in relatively wealthier communities, there is a question as to whether pollution is being shifted from these communities to more disadvantaged, lower-income communities, which tend to be located near fossil fuel power plants. This project will examine that question through three phases of modeling and analysis.

Evaluating Revenue Neutral Incentive Systems for Zero-Emission Light-Duty Vehicles in the United States, with Attention to Equity Impacts, National Center for Sustainable Transportation, start date: October 2021.

This white paper will evaluate revenue-neutral mechanisms to encourage zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales in the U.S. with no net cost to taxpayers. The researchers will undertake this analysis for light-duty vehicles in the U.S. market and will also review the effectiveness of various "feebate" incentives globally. This project will explore different incentive structures, including how the incentives impact different income and demographic groups. Finally, researchers will examine how feebate policies interact with other ZEV policies, analyzing whether feebates can add significant additional incentives without creating burdensome new costs to society or particular groups. 

Completed Research

"A Quantitative, Equitable Framework for Urban Transportation Electrification: Oakland, California, as a Mobility Model of Climate Justice," Audrey Ku, Daniel M Kammen and Sergio Castellanos, Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 74, 2021.

This paper implements a framework that catalogs and maps opportunities at a city level to support the electrification of the transportation system in an equitable way. Leveraging the use of hyper-local air quality data paired with sociodemographic indicators, the authors evaluate the framework in the city of Oakland, California, within a context of prioritizing interventions and incentives while reducing environmental hazard exposure with an equity focus.


Equity Considerations for Widespread EV Infrastructure Buildout, National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) State EV Infrastructure Summit, September 2021.

Ensuring Equity in EV Programs, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), May 2020.

At a meeting of NARUC’s EV State Working Group, presenters from the National Consumer Law Center and Pacific Gas and Electric discussed how utility commissions can ensure that transportation electrification programs and investments reach underserved communities, including low-income customers and those who live in multi-unit dwellings, while minimizing rate increases.

► Presentation slides