Advancing Equity in Electric Vehicle and Charging Access for Ridehail Drivers in the Context of California’s the Clean Miles Standard

Research Team: Susan Shaheen (lead), Mengying Ju, and Elliot Martin

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley

Problem Statement: Transportation network companies (TNCs) play an increasingly prominent role in providing on-demand mobility for travelers across California. However, these mobility benefits can come with increased vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and higher emissions. To reduce pollution from TNCs and advance broader policy goals, California enacted SB 1014 (Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program), which establishes emission reduction targets for TNC fleets. One way to achieve these targets is by electrifying TNC vehicle fleets, however, this can come with a host of economic and technical challenges such as vehicle range, cost, and access to charging infrastructure. In addition, there are also a number of equity concerns associated with TNC electrification including the spatial distribution of and access to charging infrastructure, the cost burden of the vehicles on TNC drivers, and the limited range of electric vehicles for drivers in lower density regions who must routinely make longer trips. These issues may disproportionately impact TNC drivers, who traditionally earn lower incomes relative to the general population.

Project Description: This project will investigate potential inequities of TNC electrification and explore strategies to mitigate them with an eye toward the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Air Resources Board’s implementation of SB 1014. The research team, with advisory support from Rideshare Drivers United (RDU), will identify barriers to electric vehicle (EV) adoption among TNC drivers, analyze TNC trip patterns, and evaluate the accessibility of charging infrastructure to drivers. The team will work with RDU to connect directly with TNC drivers through two focus groups, a survey of TNC drivers using both EVs and conventional gasoline vehicles, and expert interviews with state agencies, TNCs, and other relevant stakeholders. Survey questions will cover perceptions toward EVs and incentive programs and expected changes in driving activity in response to this policy. The researchers will conduct in-depth interviews with 10 to 15 drivers from the survey to gain further insights. The team will also create a dataset of TNC trip and refueling/charging activities through logs collected from drivers recruited from the focus groups and the survey. This data will be integrated with publicly available EV charging datasets. The analysis will also identify deficiencies in EV charging infrastructure for TNC fleets needed to meet SB 1014 targets.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $85,000