A partnership of U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Programs recently won over $1.8 million in DOE funding to significantly advance electric vehicle (EV) adoption in their states.

Last spring, the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (ETCF) and Clean Fuels Ohio (CFO) joined forces to develop the idea that pulling together as many states as we could into one project that would share ideas and develop well-thought-out plans for EV education and deployment could be one of our best steps toward accelerating EV adoption in our states,” says ETCF Executive Director and Project PI Jonathan Overly.

The overarching goal of DRIVE is to substantially increase electric vehicle (EV) adoption rates across consumer and fleet markets in 14 states. The project – originally titled “DRIVE (Developing Replicable, Innovative Variants for Engagement) for EVs in the USA” – will be based on a model designed to attack several interrelated market barriers utilizing proven best practices. After winning the award, the partnership decided to shorten the project name to “DRIVE Electric USA” for multiple reasons but in part because it simply and cleanly reinforces what the project aims to achieve through the exemplary behavior of 14 mostly fly-over states where EV adoption efforts are needed to help drive the American economy toward a cleaner and more fair transportation system.

While we will deploy a unified framework and plan, the project will allow flexibility in how each state team will implement the plan and utilize the best practices based on their state’s culture, governance, policy environment, economic conditions, market state-of-play, and stakeholder strengths,” CFO Executive Director Sam Spofforth said.

Visit the project website – www.DRIVEElectricUSA.org.

In addition to accelerating EV adoption, the project will advance state-of-the-art, innovative approaches to reduce interrelated EV market barriers and plans to create a “Replication Playbook” that other states can utilize to further their own initiatives. The activities, outputs and outcomes in the project are built on seven “Priority Areas” of focused work:

  1. Create and strengthen branded, statewide “Drive Electric” programs in each state, and build capacity into those programs through funded time
  2. Educate consumers by developing multiple, local EV “chapters” in all states
  3. Directly engage and educate all of our utilities and regulators
  4. Advance infrastructure in all states via statewide corridor, regional and community EVSE planning, including a focus on limited-income communities
  5. Educate state and local government officials about EV policy best practices
  6. Engage dealerships & OEMS to develop state-based, preferred EV dealer programs including light-duty and medium/heavy-duty OEMs
  7. Significantly increase fleet EV adoption across many types of fleets and sizes of vehicles

The team’s goals are anchored in creating or strengthening state-based EV initiatives in the following 14 states (after each state, the Clean Cities Program that is leading that state’s efforts are listed):

  1. AlabamaAlabama Clean Fuels Coalition
  2. ColoradoDenver Metro Clean Cities Coalition
  3. FloridaCentral Florida Clean Cities CoalitionDRIVE Electric USA logo
  4. GeorgiaClean Cities-Georgia
  5. KansasKansas City Regional Clean Cities
  6. LouisianaLouisiana Clean Fuels
  7. MissouriSt. Louis Clean Cities
  8. North CarolinaTriangle Clean Cities
  9. OhioClean Fuels Ohio
  10. PennsylvaniaEastern Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Transportation
  11. TennesseeEast Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition
  12. UtahUtah Clean Cities
  13. VirginiaVirginia Clean Cities
  14. WisconsinWisconsin Clean Cities

In each of these states, there are varying levels of already established EV outreach collaboration,” noted Doug Kettles, Director of the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition. “In Florida, we have one of the older programs in ‘Drive Electric Florida’ which was established in 2014. However, our objective is to grow and evolve our program while we partner in helping all the states fully realize a true ‘statewide’ program, and turn them into powerful motors for EV engagement.”

Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee are examples of other states where partnerships have already been developed towards these ends, but they will also adapt and mature their programs while collaboratively attacking the most prevalent barriers that exist today. Some of the logos for state initiatives are shown below. More can be seen on the project website – www.DRIVEElectricUSA.org.

Clean Cities partners will regularly convene with a 30-member Project Advisory Committee (PAC) of thought leaders and industry stakeholders to share best practices and learnings gained through implementation. The project PAC includes the following entities:

Interesting in being a sponsor or partner in the project and connecting with 14 state programs? Contact the project PI.

As of November 2020, most of the states have developed a logo and web presence while some are still developing those materials. Some of the states already have social media accounts as well. Visit the DRIVE Electric USA website to see each state’s “drive electric” program logo and links to their websites and social media accounts.

You can also find contact information for project lead staff on the website.

The DRIVE Electric USA project will last three years from October 2020 through December 2023 and utilize a 15-month starting year. The total project cost is over $3.6 million and has a 50% cost share match to go with the $1.8 million in federal funds being received. Development of the full-fledged statewide “drive electric” programs and in-state working groups/committees and actions; engagement of EV drivers, utilities, fleets, government officials, dealerships and state DOTs (as relates to corridor planning and development); and build-out of the “Replication Playbook” are the key elements in the project.