Parking & Mobility magazine, November 2021

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Electric Vehicle Charging Offers Gains Against Mobility Inequity By David J. Karwaski

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LECTRIC VEHICLES ARE HOT COMMODITIES THESE DAYS, evidenced by, among oth-

er things, the huge number of new orders for the F-150 Lightning pickup truck. In the past, most electric vehicle models have been priced at the higher end of the spectrum, more suited for higher-income groups than the average household’s income level. However, that situation is changing and lower-cost electric vehicle models are becoming more common. Several major automobile manufacturers have entry-level electric vehicle models in the works or already on the street (think Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt). Mid-priced models are popping up on the market, including Volkswagen’s ID4 and Hyundai’s Ioniq Five. Even Tesla’s long-awaited, ­under-$30,000 vehicle is in development, with a small hatchback to be offered in 2023. Boosting the Trend What does this mean for the parking and mobility industry? In one sense, it’s a reminder that we can be sustainable in our mobility choices yet still enjoy the convenience and comfort of a motorized vehicle. Sure, riding a bicycle or walking to your destination or riding a bus are very sustainable mode choices, however not everyone has those options or will choose to eschew driving. Even at UCLA, with our long-standing, successful transportation demand management program; our Sustainable Transportation Plan acknowledges that a large portion of our commuters—more than a third—will continue to drive to and from campus for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it makes sense to help enable as many of these ­commuters as possible to choose electric vehicles.

Nonetheless, UCLA is not in the business of selling cars, so how can it boost electric vehicle ownership? By making EV charging available at costs far lower than the cost of gasoline for the same commute distance. And even include a bit of free EV charging with a Clean Fuel parking permit. Now, chargers and their installation are not free, so UCLA does not give away Level 2 or Level 3 charging sessions. But we have learned that by providing an inventory of 120v outlets—Level 1 charging—in our parking structures, and making those available to any EV owner who has a Clean Fuel permit, UCLA can provide approximately 25 miles of “trickle charge” to hundreds of EV commuters each day.

As lower-cost EVs become more common, UCLA aims to educate our campus community—particularly our lower-income employee cohort—about the lower total cost of ownership these electric vehicles offer. 8 PARKING & MOBILITY / NOVEMBER 2021 / PARKING-MOBILITY.ORG