Policy Memo: Expanding Access to Electric Vehicles in California’s Low-Income Communities
Executive Summary: In September 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an ambitious executive order requiring all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035 (California Governor 2020). This action recognizes that the growing threats of climate change and local air pollution necessitate a rapid transition away from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. In California, disadvantaged populations in particular face significant barriers, including financing and charging, to electric vehicle (EV) adoption. For the state to meet its clean energy goals, it must include these communities in a more just transition to widespread use of EVs. This should include avenues of support such as updating state building codes for multi-unit dwellings, where almost half of all Californians live. Charging site access must be increased through curbside infrastructure expansion and institution of statewide EV charger rebates. Finally, increased access to vehicles themselves should be facilitated by expanding incentives and formats for EV sharing programs.
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Christopher Jackson is a PhD Candidate in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, where his research focuses on developing nanomaterials tools for sensing and gene delivery in biological environments. He currently serves as the president of the Science Policy Group at Berkeley and the workshops director for Engineers & Scientists Acting Locally. He is passionate about issues related to science policy, energy and climate, immigration, and equity.
DISCLAIMER: The findings and conclusions published herein are solely attributed to the author and not necessarily endorsed or adopted by the Journal of Science Policy and Governance. Articles are distributed in compliance with copyright and trademark agreements.