Utilities are not alone in the effort to raise EV awareness and often depend on supportive state regulations to increase investment. Education and awareness are key components of New York’s comprehensive Charge NY initiative seeking to accelerate the EV market across the state and combine public funding with utility programs and private investments. In California, policymakers are mobilizing funding from large settlements with Volkswagen and NRG Energy to invest in awareness campaigns to support public and utility investment in charging infrastructure.
Across the country, 12 states including both California and New York have enacted legislation or regulation allowing utilities to own and operate charging stations. Colorado is the most recent entry into this group and has emerged in 2019 as a leader in transportation electrification policy. While the state has no approved filings from electric utilities so far, a suite of policies enacted recently expands state support for vehicles and charging infrastructure while directing utilities throughout the state to step up transportation electrification investment.
In addition to legislative support, utilities can lean on third-party organizations to amplify awareness. Forth, a Portland-based NGO focused on EV adoption, is working directly with Portland General Electric to lead the awareness efforts of the utility’s approved transportation electrification programs. This involves direct outreach to key customers like ride-hail drivers and the general public on the benefits of EVs and the availability of programs to help drivers save money. Forth and the other partners of the EV Shared Mobility project, a multi-city effort to encourage the electrification of for-hire vehicle services, are all incorporating education and outreach into their program designs and working directly with electric utilities to ensure that investment in charging infrastructure and other resources leads to increased EV uptake among shared mobility service providers.
Projects like EV Shared Mobility seek to highlight the importance of outreach and distill good practices that can be adapted to amplify consumer knowledge of EVs throughout the United States. EV market forecasts and growth projections rely on the assumption that the public will be aware of and attracted to the benefits of EVs. With more than $86 million in pending investment in education efforts, electric utilities and their partners are in a position to increase awareness around and investment in the EV market.