Charging Forward: Creating A Productive Framework For Promoting Electric Vehicle Adoption Among U.S. Cities Based on Development Stage


  • Vignesh Kumar Stanford University


Electric vehicles are among the most promising innovations to date for their role in minimizing human-induced carbon emissions and combating climate change. Despite the clear need for this technology, the U.S. is struggling to promote its adoption, with electric vehicles accounting for a dismal 2% of the new automobile market—less than half of the global average. This disparity raises the logical question: “What can U.S. cities do to increase electric vehicle use?” To address this, I conducted a comparative analysis of the 2020 electric mobility action plans for two U.S. cities (San Jose, California and Denver, Colorado). These cities were selected because of their state, adoption rate, promotion efforts, and digitally-accessible action plans. To compare the action plans from both cities, I used a discourse and word cloud analysis and identified four areas of focus from both cities: (i) vehicle cost, (ii) charging infrastructure, (iii) fleet electrification, and (iv) public awareness. Due to significant variation between U.S. cities, I categorized cities into five levels of development: L1: Rural, L2: Town, L3: City, L4: Advanced City, and L5: Future City. Based on criteria such as population, adoption rate, charging infrastructure, and adoption goals, I used Denver as a reference point for Level 3 and San Jose for Level 4. From this analysis, I establish best practices for electric vehicle promotion efforts for cities at each of the five development stages. By creating this productive framework, I hope to facilitate and accelerate efforts for electric vehicle promotion among U.S. cities.






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