Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction


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Published in IEEE Electrification Magazine, June 2023, pp. 12–23.



Copyright © 2023 IEEE. Used by permission.


All-electric vehicles (EVs), battery-powered EVs (BEVs), and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVS) are gaining market share and increasing in popularity with the buying public because the battery range (longer) and cost (lower) have reached sweet spots, the charging infrastructure is more robust, and concern with global cli­mate change is high. In 2013, only 100,000 EVs were sold in the United States, but by 2022, approximately 800,000 have been purchased. A similar growth is seen in EV sup­ply equipment (EVSE), i.e., EV charging stations, with 19,742 documented EV charging station locations in the United States in 2013 to 50,054 documented EV charging station locations, with approximately 130,000 ports, by the end of 2022.

As impressive as this growth is, the eightfold increase in EV sales is inconsistent across individual states. While geography and the states’ differing physical and demo­graphic conditions play a role, state and federal EV and EVSE policies play an outsized role in the differences among the states.

While the federal government can enact nationwide policies to increase EV adoption in the United States, it is also up to each state to incentivize EV adoption through their own policies and initiatives in their legislation. As of August 2021, 44 states had some form of charging infra­structure incentives, and 32 states had some form of EV incentives. (The nomenclature used in each state’s legisla­tion changes in reference to EVs with the most common being EVs/BEVs referring to EVs powered by an electric battery and HEVs referring to vehicles that can utilize more than one form of onboard energy. However, some states, such as Nebraska, refer to EVs and HEVs as alterna­tive fuel vehicles, and California refers to EVs as zero-emis­sion vehicles. For simplicity, EVs will be used to refer to any of these vehicle classifications.)

This article intends to shed light on the federal and state policies that most influence uniform and nationwide EV adoption—or the lack thereof. The first section, “LRTPs,” is about long-range transportation plans (LRTPs), prepared by each state’s transportation department, that include EV promotion in future planning. The second section, “Motor Fuel Tax and Vehicle Registration Fees,” is about EV regis­tration fees, a legislative action to mitigate motor fuel tax reduction from increased EV usage. The third section, “Federal, State, and Utility Incentives,” is about federal, state, and utility incentives to support the adoption and deployment of EVs and EVSE.