One solution to the problems of poor air quality in Phoenix, Arizona and global climate change is to alter the way the population uses transportation. In the US, around one-fifth of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are due to cars and trucks used for transportation and the increasing level of CO2 emissions is exacerbating our impact on the climate and is causing a shift in climate. By switching from combustion engine vehicles to public transportation, electric vehicles, or going entirely vehicle-less, the amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere every day will be decreased and overall air quality within cities will improve. If public transportation, riding a bicycle or walking is not an option, electric vehicles (EVs) are ideal as a lower-carbon emitting option over traditional combustion engines when they are recharged using renewable energy sources, like solar.
To encourage the adoption of EVs, this project pushed to overcome a few of the traditional barriers to adoption – initial cost, charging station infrastructure, and education about EVs. First, charging infrastructure was installed on all four ASU campuses. Then, to discover the biggest barriers to EV adoption, a literature review was conducted to develop a general understanding of barriers which guided the creation of survey questions. This survey was distributed to all staff and faculty at ASU (over 9,500 individuals) and received over 1,400 responses. To begin building the EV program at ASU, other universities with EV programs were interviewed to learn best practices and to understand what is most effective in encouraging EV adoption on campus. The responses determined that ASU needs to:
1. Install more charging stations on campus.
2. Offer premium parking for EV/hybrid users or a discounted parking pass or free charging.
3. Add charging stations to ASU interactive map.
4. Develop an incentive program with EV dealerships.
The project built partnerships with EV dealerships to lower the initial costs associated with buying and leasing EVs. Finally, to increase awareness of EVs, the dealership partners brought EVs to campus for a demonstration day paired with Earth Day. The ASU EV program will reduce barriers to EV adoption to help reduce CO2 emissions related to transportation at the ASU campuses and improve city air quality.