Equity in the EV Revolution Requires Charging Equity

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Rural communities, low-income neighborhoods, and people living in apartments are among the groups who stand to be left behind by the Electric Vehicle (EV) movement that is transitioning the US from gas-powered vehicles to those that can be run on renewables.

If the benefits of cleaner transportation — better air quality, less noise, lower energy costs — don’t flow equitably to all Americans, EV adoption is likely to stall, limiting the country’s ability to achieve its climate goals, says Axios.

Researchers from the University of Michigan have shown recently that the lower a household’s income, the higher transportation energy burdens they are likely to carry, even if all gas-powered cars were replaced with EVs.

Current federal plans indicate that placing chargers in disadvantaged neighborhoods, multi-family buildings, and rural or tribal areas is a subordinate priority to getting them placed every 50 miles along highways.

But access to EV charging at home must be a priority -While recharging your EV is likely to cost $20 or $30 at a public charger, at home it it is estimated to cost about $10. People in single-family homes have access to low-cost, off-peak electricity, while users of public chargers must pay the fee chosen by the operator, which is often double or more the cost of at-home charging.

As many rural communities transition away from coal and other petrochemical extraction to sustain their economies in favor of renewable energies, the technologies fueled by renewables are following suit. It is yet to be seen if the inequities of the industrial revolution can be avoided in the renewable revolution.

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