Call to action:
Power all vehicles with electricity from renewable sources instead of fossil fuels.
Electric vehicles have reached a tipping point toward widespread adoption—and not a moment too soon. Greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector have more than doubled since 1970, with around 80 percent of that increase attributed to petroleum-powered road vehicles like cars, trucks, and buses. Today, such vehicles account for roughly 16 percent of total emissions worldwide, prompting governments, companies, and car owners to accelerate the shift to electric transport. EV technology has advanced rapidly in the last decade, making incredible strides in range, charging time, and affordability. Now comes the next horizon: creating extensive charging infrastructure, cleaning up electrical grids, sourcing batteries more sustainably, and ensuring equitable access for all.
Know the facts. The number of EVs on the road globally has skyrocketed in the last decade—over 10 million as of 2020 compared to just seven thousand in 2010. Still, even countries that lead in EV sales are far from widespread adoption. One major barrier is a knowledge gap around EV basics. Here’s what you need to know:
- You don’t have to be a car owner to participate in the switch to EVs. All petroleum-powered vehicles should be electrified, including public buses, trains, ride-share fleets, and commercial trucks. Whether you petition your local government to electrify public transit or opt for anelectric ride-share service, everyone has a place in the EV movement.
- Depending on the source of electricity, EVs can emit significantly lesscarbon over their lifetime than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. For example, a Tesla Model 3 charged with solar energy generates 65 percent less greenhouse gas over its lifetime than a comparable ICE car.
- Achieving the full emissions-saving potential of electrifying transportation will call for a vast overhaul and upgrade of power grids so that EVs can be charged with renewable energy. See Electrify Everything Nexus to learn more.
- Because EVs don’t emit tailpipe exhaust, they don’t cause air pollution. A full transition to EVs will result in significant reductions in asthma, heart disease, and lung cancer—saving 6,300 lives annually by 2050 in the United States alone.
- EVs are quickly becoming more affordable thanks to advancements in battery technology, more automakers offering economy models, andgovernment incentives. Depending on their location, EV buyers can also access financing, such as the EV Climate Loan, which applies incentives up front.
- Fuel and maintenance costs for EVs are much lower than petroleum-powered vehicles. EVs require 50 percent less maintenance over their lifetime, and charging an EV battery costs about 60 percent less than filling up a gas tank.
- The typical range of an EV is two hundred miles per charge, and isforecast to reach four hundred miles by 2028 (roughly the same distance a large passenger vehicle gets on a tank of gas).
- Charging an EV can take anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight, depending on the voltage of the outlet or charger. This article breaks down how charging works both at home and on the road.
- Electrified roads could wirelessly charge EVs while driving. Though the technology is still under development, the world’s first electrified road test site opened in Sweden in 2018.
- According to a AAA study, 57 percent of Americans fear they’ll run out of battery in an electric car (a concern known as range anxiety). However, 95 percent of EV drivers report they’ve never run out of battery before reaching a charger. Development of charging infrastructure in the U.S. isoutpacing forecasts, but experts say more funding is needed to ensure chargers are as readily accessible as gas stations.
- Communities where personal automobiles are less common could leapfrog to an electrified future built around shared mobility. For example, Africa is focused on electrifying shared and micro mobilityoptions that are already the backbone of local transportation, led by organizations like Ugandan electric bus company Kiira Motors andRwandan electric motorcycle startup Ampersand.
Choose electric public transit when possible. While driving an EV can emit far less greenhouse gas than an ICE vehicle, it may emit more per passenger than a high-occupancy public transit EV like an electric bus. If it’s available in your area and meets your needs, prioritizing electric public transit when you’re not able to bike or walk is the most effective way to reduce your transportation-related carbon emissions. Learn more about efficient transportation solutions beyond EVs in Urban Mobility, Micromobility, andFifteen-Minute City.
- China leads the world in electric buses with more than 421,000 on the streets across the country, made possible by massive subsidies from the Chinese state.
- China-based e-bus provider BYD is helping cities around the world electrify their bus fleets, from Bogotá, Colombia to Harderwijk, Netherlands.
- In 2021, South Africa launched their first e-bus in Cape Town through Golden Arrow Bus Services, who procured the vehicles from BYD.
- Tel Aviv will charge this urban e-bus shuttle with the first wireless electric road system in Israel, using technology from ElectReon Wireless.
- North America is projected to be the fastest-growing market for electric buses, with EV manufacturer Proterra leading the way.
- In India, where there are only 30 registered cars per 1,000 people, e-buses have been identified as a key to reducing transport emissionsefficiently and affordably.
Take a test-drive. Research shows that getting behind the wheel of an EV helps drivers overcome hesitation around adopting unfamiliar technology. Test-drives aren’t just for people planning to buy an EV; they’re a way for any licensed driver to get acquainted with the future of transportation. Here are a few ways to take a test drive:
- Visit a car dealership that sells new or used EVs. Find a list of automakers who offer EVs here, and find an EV dealer near you.
- Consider these tips for a great test-drive, including scheduling ahead of time and requesting the dealership’s most knowledgeable EV salesperson.
- EV events and showcases often offer opportunities to test-drive models from multiple automakers. Find an EV event near you here and here, or check out programs like Drive Electric Week and Forth Mobile Showcasein the U.S.
- Rent an EV the next time you need a rental car.
Join an electric-car-sharing service. You don’t need to own an EV to start driving one. Electric-car-sharing services offer the option to rent an EV by the minute, hour, or day so you can pay for it only when you need it. These services are significantly more affordable than purchasing an EV, opening the door for many more drivers to access personal electric transport. One shared car can replace more than four privately owned vehicles—helping reduce the total number of cars on the road.
- Bluecarsharing provides 24/7 EV access in France, Italy, the U.S., and Singapore. Community membership fees start at $1/month.
- Good2Go offers sliding scale rates to support affordable access to clean transportation in the heart of Boston’s Black community, which has faced disproportionate environmental burdens.
- Colorado CarShare provides low-cost car sharing for underserved residents and small businesses that can’t afford to own cars.
- Korean car and bike sharing service SOCAR announced plans in 2022 to establish an electric fleet by 2030.
- Japanese tech giant Sony announced Sony Mobility in January 2022, a play to establish an autonomous EV for services like car sharing and ride hailing.
If you must own a car, upgrade to electric. Reducing the number of vehicles on the road, no matter how they’re powered, would go furthest in reducing emissions. But for those living in rural and suburban areas or places with limited public transit, owning a car may be the only option.
- This guide is a great place to start the EV ownership journey, fromincentives and financing to comparing models to setting up at-home charging.
- Find a deal on used EVs here and a list of the most affordable modelshere.
- Learn about ways to charge your EV with cleaner energy even if your local grid isn’t fully renewable here—from avoiding peak charging hours to accessing renewable charging networks.
- Peer-to-peer car sharing app Turo lets you expand EV access in your community by renting out your car when you’re not using it.
- Consider a bidirectional charging model like Ford’s wildly popular F-150 Lightning, which can help power your home during outages and redistribute renewable energy to the grid.
Call for action from your government. Governments play a critical role in passing policies that make EVs more affordable, easier to charge, and more accessible to all. Governments are also instrumental in ensuring the electrical grid itself is powered by renewable sources. As their constituent, you have a critical role to play, too: letting leaders know EVs are a priority.
- Elect leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to curbing climate change. If you’re in the U.S., this endorsement guide andscorecard can help you find out where your candidates stand.
- Vote for policies that promote EV adoption both for individual consumers and across public transit systems, with a focus on increasing equitable access. See the Governance section below for examples of what those policies can look like.
- When it’s time for your representative to vote on a policy that advances EVs, call and ask them to vote yes. This tool can help you find contact information.
Share your experience. Peer influence has a bigger impact on clean-energy adoption than advertising, experts, or reviews. Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors, take them with you for test-drives, and post about your EV experience on social media channels.
Regeneration is a response to the urgency of the climate crisis, a determined what-to-do manual for all levels of society, from individuals to national governments and everything and everyone in between. It describes a system of interlocking initiatives that can stem the climate crisis in one generation. Regeneration