News Release

As Electric Cars Revolutionize the Vehicle Market, New Study Helps Cities Address Infrastructure and Parking Challenges

First-of-its-kind policy analysis of best practices from across U.S. and globally
For Immediate Release

Portland With electric vehicles (EVs) hitting U.S. streets in record numbers, a new study by Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group highlights best practices to help local officials make their cities as EV-friendly as possible. The new report, “Plugging In: Readying America’s Cities for the Arrival of Electric Vehicles,” includes local and state data for Portland and Oregon about the projected number of electric cars expected on the road in coming years, and how cities can accommodate these new EVs with enough places to park and recharge.

“Electric cars are leaving gas-guzzlers in the dust in Portland,” stated Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director of Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center. “We have an opportunity to make a positive change after more than a century of vehicles spewing pollutants into the air. Local and state officials who want to plug into this opportunity need to commit to an EV-friendly infrastructure as smooth and fast as possible.”

In particular, the report calls on local officials to implement the following EV-friendly policies:

  • Residential access to on-street EV charging
  • Access to public charging stations
  • Support for private investment in publicly-accessible stations
  • Incentivized EV parking and charging

EV sales nationwide increased 38% in 2016, and then another 32% throughout 2017, as charging stations became more convenient. Those electric car purchases reflect Americans’ values, including a desire to protect our communities’ public health, reduce global warming pollution and stop using so much oil.

"Electric cars are here and thousands of more drivers will soon be transitioning away from a gas station lifestyle,” stated Zach Henkin, Deputy Director of Forth. "With many long range and plug-in hybrids to choose from and the new state $2,500 Clean Car Rebate, it has never been more a more affordable time to buy or lease an electric car in Oregon."

Plugging In” estimates that Portland could possibly see 41,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030.

But with more electric vehicles on the road, and many more coming soon, cities need to map out where EVs will charge, particularly in city centers and neighborhoods without off-street parking. In all, major cities will need to install hundreds to thousands of new publicly-accessible electric vehicle chargers to keep the increased number of EVs running, depending on the size of the city.

The report’s authors note that local and state officials increasingly are having to lead on issues related to climate change, clean energy, and clean cars, as the Trump administration dismantles federal policies that offered concrete solutions to these issues. In the coming weeks, the administration is expected to propose new steps towards revoking federal fuel efficiency standards and weakening clean car policies.

“Adopting smart public policies, which have been implemented already in visionary American and international cities, can help more U.S. cities lead the electric vehicle revolution,” noted Meiffren-Swango.  “For the sake of our public health and environment, it’s crucial that we expand access to clean transportation for those who live, work and play in our urban centers. And once we complete the transition away from gasoline and diesel, we can all breathe easier and see more clearly.”

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