New case study shows how California and Vermont are driving corporate uptake of EVs

William Brittlebank
Reading time: 5 minutes
6 July 2017

LONDON: The Climate Group has published a new case study on how California and Vermont are driving corporate uptake of electric cars through innovative public-private partnerships.

The two US states have rolled-out the successful Drive the Dream initiative as part of their efforts to engage with local businesses to spur investment in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The initiative comprises high-level events that bring together experts from the public and private sectors to advance the states’ ambitious decarbonization targets.

The case study is part of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Policy Innovation program, which brings together pioneering state and regional governments to enable in-depth global peer-to-peer learning on innovative sustainable approaches through its Peer Forum.

Collaborating with business leaders

The first Drive the Dream event was held in San Francisco in 2013, three years after the launch of the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative (PEV Collaborative) - a public-private partnership which aims to advance the PEV market in California as well as globally. It has 47 members - including the California state government, global automakers, utilities, and environmental NGOs – and drives collaboration on PEV market growth.

California held a second event in October 2015 in Los Angeles. The initiative was transferred to Vermont, which hosted its first event in September 2015 in Shelburne. The state showcased its Drive Electric Vermont coalition of policymakers, industry leaders and civil society groups dedicated to promoting the uptake of electric transportation in the state.

Customers' awareness of electric cars remains significantly lower when compared to traditional vehicles and hybrid EVs that do not require charging. Both states have indicated that stimulating market demand for electric cars is one of the main priorities over the coming years.

A major opportunity

As the transportation sector represents 37% of California’s emissions and 45% of Vermont’s, advancing the uptake of zero-emissions vehicles - coupled with increased renewable energy deployment - is crucial to achieve the states’ ambitious climate goals.

Other benefits of a cleaner transportation system include improved air quality and cost savings linked to reduced fuel imports, both of which are crucial for the two states: California tends to have a worse air quality than the national average, while 60% of Vermont’s energy consumption is based on petroleum imports, mostly used for transportation. More specifically, Drive the Dream was designed to fill a policy gap in California and Vermont: the incentivization of workplace charging.

On a global scale, the 2 degrees Celsius scenario provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 140 million electric vehicles will be needed on the roads by 2030 to keep global warming below the 2 degrees threshold.

According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), electric cars could save 125 million tons of CO2 per year by 2030 and up to 1.5 billion tons per year by 2050.

A total of 777,497 EVs were sold globally last year (a 41% increase on 2015), pushing the number of EVs on the roads past the symbolic threshold of two million. The surge has been attributed to falling costs – the price of lithium-ion batteries, which account for about 40% of an EVs cost, has fallen by approximately two thirds since 2010 - and an increasing number of supporting policies have also played a key role.

Download the Drive the Dream case study here 

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