Case Studies: City Public & Curbside EV Charging Strategies

March 2024

CLEE report cover with green banner on top that reads 'Case Studies: City Public & Curbside EV Charging Strategies' with CLEE logo. EV charging stations are pictured below.

As California and other states transition to one hundred percent zero-emission new vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2035, local governments will play a crucial role in addressing inequities in the ZEV transition. Limited access to abundant and reliable charging equipment remains a key barrier to ZEV adoption for all, and city governments can lead efforts to broaden charger availability. 

Curbside and public right-of-way (PROW) locations are a key venue for city governments to lead electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure development and deliver a more equitable charging network for residents. Publicly accessible areas may provide particularly useful charging options for residents in underserved communities who are likely to lack access to charging in private driveways or garages, in multifamily dwelling parking lots, or at workplaces.

Our case study report, informed by interviews with city leaders and EV charging project directors, gathers insights from city programs that are leading efforts to expand charging infrastructure in the PROW. Some key findings include:

  • Prioritizing equity can be challenging for strategies based on private EVSE providers. 
  • Utility leadership is vital to fast-rollout public programs.
  • Systematic approaches can yield substantial public benefits. 
  • Residential Level 1 cord cover programs can safely improve accessibility at low cost. 

While curbside and PROW charging programs to date represent crucial first steps to develop a comprehensive EV charging network, the findings in this report indicate that cities are only in the early stages of optimizing publicly accessible charging for priority populations. The report concludes by highlighting several measures that cities can take to further promote equity in EV charging program design and implementation. Some key recommendations include:

  • Prioritize site selection in lower-income and underserved communities. 
  • Incorporate community input into investment decisions including site selection, mode preference, amenities and design. 
  • Ensure that priority communities where charging infrastructure will be deployed are also provided with targeted EV incentives and awareness campaigns.

This policy brief is intended to guide local leaders as they plan and execute public EV charging infrastructure development with a focus on equitable investment.

Access the full report here – Case Studies: City Public & Curbside EV Charging Strategies

Contact Ted Lamm or Malcolm Johnson for more information.