Providing Californians with Equitable Access to Electric Vehicles — An Application to the Southern California Region

Research Team: Avipsa Roy (lead) and Jean-Daniel Saphores

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: Electric vehicles (EV) have the potential to reshape transportation by significantly reducing carbon emissions for a cleaner environment and addressing climate change. Nevertheless, there are significant hurdles to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S. ranging from the high cost of EVs to the inequitable placement of EV charging stations. Limited access to clean transportation alternatives has environmental justice and equity implications, as more travel with internal combustion engine vehicles contributes to local air pollution and adverse health outcomes. A deeper understanding of the underlying social, economic, and demographic factors which may lead to disparities in charger placements is necessary to mitigate accessibility issues and improve EV usage among people of all ages and abilities.

Project Description: This research will identify: (a) which socio-demographic, economic, and regulatory factors explain barriers to EV charging station access (b) where within the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) region will future equitable EV placements be required to improve EV access and adoption, and (c) what other policies are needed to foster the adoption of EVs by communities of color or economically vulnerable communities. The project team will identify areas where SCAG residents would benefit most from improved access to charging infrastructure. Researchers will identify gaps in accessibility across different socioeconomic groups to compare the variation in EV charging access among racially underrepresented groups and low-income households. Researchers will also determine the current geographic coverage of EV charging infrastructure and perform site suitability analyses to determine possible locations for future EV charging infrastructure investments in socially vulnerable neighborhoods.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $96,006