Advancing Deployment of Electric Vehicles in Disadvantaged Communities in the Southern California Edison (SCE) Service Territory
Widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), which includes both electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles, can help clean the air, but the high up-front cost of passenger electric vehicles, limited charging infrastructure, and low consumer awareness have slowed the adoption of these vehicles in the communities that need them most. People of color and people experiencing poverty are disproportionately impacted by the burdens of transportation systems, and do not receive an equal share of the benefits of clean transportation technologies. This study examines how Southern California Edison (SCE) can advance deployment of electric vehicles in disadvantaged and low-income communities in a way that optimizes monetary investment and community benefit. To inform this study, several researchers and I conducted interviews at community events in the San Joaquin Valley Air District and in San Bernardino County. We interviewed community members about their transportation habits, needs, and challenges. For SCE to increase EV deployment in disadvantaged communities, it is important to talk with people in the community to understand their mobility needs and who they trust. Based on these interviews and further engagement with community members, targeted outreach plans should be developed. Finally, reworking and expanding funding and finance programs to meet the needs of low-income communities is essential.