More Washington Drivers are Choosing Electric Vehicles

While flying cars may still be years away, electric vehicles are already a reality. And according to a recent study, electric cars could soon become even more common.

The study, “Plugging In: Readying America’s Cities for the Arrival of Electric Vehicles,” by WashPIRG Foundation, Environment Washington Research and Policy Center, and Frontier Group, forecasts how many new electric vehicles we can expect on the roads in years to come, and makes recommendations for how cities can better provide the infrastructure needed for charging and parking those vehicles.

On Feb. 27, at America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, local leaders held a press conference to help prepare the public and the city for the coming sea change in electric vehicles. Tacoma City Council Member Ryan Mello, Greater Metro Parks Foundation Executive Director Bryan Flint, and Pierce County Sustainability Manager Ryan Dicks were among those present.

Director of Environment Washington Research and Policy Center Bruce Speight gave a statement about the study’s findings.

“Electric cars are leaving gas-guzzlers in the dust in Washington,” Speight said. “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.”

The Study’s Main Recommendations for Cities 

  • On-street access to charging for electric vehicles in residential areas
  • More accessible public charging stations
  • Government support for private investment in publicly-accessible charging stations
  • Incentives for EV parking and charging

Katherine Stainken, Policy Director for Plug In America, spoke about her hopes for cities to provide more infrastructure for electric vehicle drivers.

“One of the biggest barriers to greater EV adoption is the lack of charging infrastructure,” Stainken explained. “We’re excited for more tools to be available to cities and towns across the United States that will help to speed adoption of these clean vehicles.”

EV Expansion by the Numbers 

  • U.S. EV sales increased 38% in 2016
  • In 2017, U.S. EV sales increased another 32%
  • GM will launch 20 EV models by 2023
  • Ford plans to invest $11 billion in EVs and have 40 models by 2022
  • Seattle may have as many as 47,000 EVs on the road by 2030
  • Tacoma could see 15,000 EVs on the road by 2030

Alana Miller, policy analyst at Frontier Group and co-author of “Plugging In,” gave her thoughts on this rapid expansion, and what it means for U.S. cities.

“American cities risk being unprepared for the impending arrival of thousands of electric vehicles on their streets,” Miller said. “Without forward-thinking policies that give EV owners places to park and charge their vehicles, cities could lose out on the health and air quality benefits that electric vehicles can deliver.”

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