Plugging Local Governments into Resources to Advance Transportation Electrification - CivicWell

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Plugging Local Governments into Resources to Advance Transportation Electrification

By Leslie Baroody, Air Pollution Specialist at the California Air Resources Board

Climate Change & Energy


March 14, 2024


California has an ambitious goal of 5 million light-duty zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roadways by 2030 and infrastructure goals of 250,000 shared electric vehicle chargers, including 10,000 direct current fast chargers and 200 hydrogen stations by 2025 (Executive Order B-48-18). The Governor’s Executive Order N 79-20 aims to achieve 100% light-duty ZEV sales by 2035, 100% ZEV medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in California by 2045, and 100% zero-emission off-road vehicles and equipment operations by 2035. CARB’s Advanced Clean Cars II regulation, the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation, and the Advanced Clean Fleets regulation support the state’s ZEV vehicle sales goals. Currently, there are over 1.7 million ZEVs and over 10,000 direct current fast chargers in California, exceeding 2025 goals. However, Level 2 charging infrastructure and hydrogen fueling stations must increase significantly in the next year to meet 2025 targets. The State has a variety of policies, resources, and funding to support the rollout, but local jurisdictions have a critical role in equitably advancing ZEVs given their authority over such areas as permitting, zoning, and building codes. They are also well-positioned to engage their communities in equitable ZEV planning and implementation.

EAs local governments adopt Climate Action Plans, they are encouraged to prioritize 1) transportation electrification, 2) reduction in vehicles-miles-traveled, and 3) building decarbonization, as noted in the 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan Local Actions Appendix D. In Table 1 of the Local Actions Appendix the priority greenhouse gas reduction strategies for transportation electrification are: 1) converting local government fleets to ZEVs and 2) creating jurisdiction-specific ZEV ecosystems to support ZEV deployment.

The main barriers to ZEV adoption are the upfront cost of ZEVs, inadequate charging infrastructure, and a lack of consumer awareness and education about ZEVs and refueling. These barriers are pronounced in underserved communities. What can local jurisdictions do to help tackle these barriers while providing co-benefits to their community? A definition of “ZEV community readiness” and a menu of actions are available here. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has numerous ZEV resources including the GO-Biz Electric Vehicle Charging Station Readiness site with a permitting guidebook, best practices and resources, and California ZEV funding resources. For a broad range of funding opportunities search the California Grants Portal. Find ideas from other cities or counties by accessing the newly developed California General Plan Database Mapping Tool and the California Action Plan Database.

Funding sources include CARB’s Low Carbon Clean Transportation Funding Programs such as Clean Mobility Options (CMO) and CMO funding for zero-emission mobility projects and needs assessments, and Planning and Capacity Building, Clean Mobility in Schools (CMiS) and the Sustainable Transportation and Equity Project (STEP). The California Energy Commission’s Clean Transportation Program and CALeVIP provide funding for regional charging infrastructure.

California received $384 million from the Infrastructure and Investment and Jobs Act National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program to deploy publicly available, fast-charging EV chargers along state and federal highways. Interested site hosts and potential project partners can access information here. In addition, utilities are vital local government ZEV partners and frequently offer ZEV infrastructure funding, incentives, and resources.

For more information visit CARB’s Local Actions for Climate Change website.