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Equity and education key to getting 280,000 electric vehicles on Phoenix streets

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, June 27, 2022 - 5:46am
Updated: Monday, June 27, 2022 - 6:49am

car using electric charging station
City of Phoenix
On May 5, 2021, the Phoenix City Council approved adding 11 electric vehicle charging station at city libraries and parks.

The Phoenix City Council approved a roadmap to get 280,000 electrical vehicles on city streets by 2030.

“Transportation and, in particular, gas powered cars are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in our city,” said Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari, who led the ad hoc committee that created the plan. “This transition is crucial to cleaning up our air and improving public health.”

Increasing public awareness and public charging stations are key to the plan’s success. So is prioritizing equity, Ansari said.  

“There are specific goals around pilot programs in underserved communities and I’m excited we’ve actually secured a fellow who will be working with our sustainability team, specifically focused on outreach, especially bilingual outreach,” she said.

Leaders approved the Transportation Electrification Action Plan, more commonly called the “EV Roadmap” on June 15. The city plans to buy 200 light-duty electric vehicles for city use by 2030, along with the necessary infrastructure. The roadmap also calls for at least a hundred new chargers and infrastructure upgrades at city facilities and 500 public charging stations.

“Electrical vehicles matter because they are the road to our future,” said Mayor Kate Gallego. “We combine them with investments in our light rail system, plans for bus rapid transit, active transportation and making sure we have more complete streets and a walkable city. EVs are a crucial piece to the transportation puzzle.”

Key goals and strategies

Prioritize equity

  • EV Equity does not translate to simply providing electric vehicle charging in these communities, but instead, identifies residents in underserved communities, conducts listening sessions to understand their unique mobility needs, and implements solutions to meet those needs.
  • Accelerate public adoption of EVs.
  • Launch a robust public education & awareness campaign to help meet the climate action plan goal of 280,000 electric vehicles registered in the city of Phoenix by 2030.
  • Install at least 500 public EV charging stations on city properties or rights-of-way (ROW) by 2030, prioritizing equity.
  • Install new EV charging ports on city property/ROW to reach 300 charging stalls in the ROW by the end of 2025.

Lead by example

  • Purchase 200 Light Duty Electric Vehicles in the city fleet across all departments by 2030.
  • Install light-duty EV Charging Infrastructure at city facilities to support the charging of 200 city fleet vehicles by 2030.
  • Install a minimum of 100 new chargers and the associated electrical and infrastructure upgrades at city facilities with capacity for additional charging capability in the future. Include a maintenance contract when possible.
  • Build out EV charging infrastructure for city employees to use at the workplace to meet employees’ current charging needs by 2025 based on ongoing employee EV surveys.

The plan lists the following strengths and opportunities:

  • Accelerating EV action to support 280,000 electric vehicles citywide by 2030. 
  • Support for 3,500 public and workplace charging stations citywide.
  •  A target of 200 EVs in the city fleet. In support of these goals, several market players are helping the electrification of transportation:
  •  Electric utilities have ambitious EV goals, incentives, and dedicated staff to accelerate the transition to EVs with a target of over 1.1 million EVs in the state by 2030.
  •  The federal government is providing $7.5B in funding for EV charging infrastructure in the recently signed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
  •  Electrify America (electrifyamerica.com) is investing $1 billion in EV Infrastructure on national highways using the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Settlement (“VW Settlement”).
  •  Vehicle manufacturers are shifting priorities toward continued research and development, and expansion of EV models and capabilities in the market. 
  • And, lastly, polling by the American Lung Association indicates that Arizona residents are supportive of the electrification of transportation

The plan lists the following barriers to EV adoption:

  • Actual and perceived costs of EV purchasing/ownership.
  • The limited number of EVs currently available in Arizona.
  • Lack of EV-ready building codes and limited access to EV charging in multi-family buildings.
  • Current limitations of EVs (range and performance) for meeting business and personal needs.
  • Range anxiety partially due to the current lack of charging infrastructure.
  • Cost of adding EV charging infrastructure to existing multi-family buildings.
  • Lack of public knowledge and experience with EVs and EV charging equipment.