Co-op EVolution – Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide on EV Adoption

By Teri Viswanath

June 2021

Key Points

  • Given new commitments by car manufacturers, expanded policy incentives, and ambitious build-out of charging infrastructure, electric vehicles could make up 10% of all new car sales by 2025 – a five-fold increase from current levels.
  • Several factors will help rural communities close the EV adoption gap with urban cities. Cost savings over the life of most EVs is greater for rural communities, the sticker price is coming down, and the variety of mainstream car models is expanding. By mid-decade, 2% to 5% of all new car sales in rural communities could be electric.
  • From a grid management perspective, the amount of electricity the U.S. consumes will no doubt increase with greater EV adoption, up to 38% by one estimate. However, many regions already have sufficient generation capacity if vehicles are charged during off-peak hours.
  • With 80% or more of EV re-charging taking place at home, rural electric cooperatives will play an influential role preparing for membership adoption. Proactive steps might include membership education programs, closer collaboration with local dealerships, EV purchase and charging incentives, building public charging infrastructure closer to work places, and assisting in transitioning public service fleet vehicles.

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