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Income and Racial Disparity in Household Publicly Available EV Infrastructure Accessibility

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The demand for public EV infrastructure and the need for EV technology is rising.

New Nature Communications study explores the disparities in publicly available electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure accessibility.

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Jiehong Lou, Assistant Research Director

Nathan Hultman, Director

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 Lou, J., Shen, X., Niemeyer, D., Hultman, N., (2024). Income and Racial Disparity in Household Publicly Available EV Infrastructure Accessibility. Nature Communications. 

  • Prioritize public EV infrastructure: Recognizing the imperative for future market growth and equitable access, prioritizing the expansion of public EV infrastructure can ensure widespread availability of EV technology across diverse race and population groups. As low-income and minority groups are more likely to rent, public chargers should be prioritized among major rental properties and communities where there is less garage access.
  • Focus on multi-family residences: Given that low-income and minority individuals are more likely to reside in multi-family housing, such as apartment complexes, policy efforts should target these areas for EV infrastructure deployment. 
  • Mandate inclusion in new developments: Integrating charging facilities into building codes for new residential and commercial developments can reduce accessibility barriers, facilitating broader adoption of EVs among diverse communities.
  • Strengthen state-level regulations: States should bolster efforts to promote equitable access to EV charging infrastructure and tailor policies to local conditions. Current findings indicate a limited number of state-level regulations addressing this issue, highlighting the need for expanded initiatives to support the proliferation of public charging options across various jurisdictions.
  • Engage subnational entities: Local governments, such as county- and city-level authorities, should also be engaged to provide further and additional policy support to improve the equity of EV infrastructure accessibility. Localized efforts can address specific community needs and ensure that charging infrastructure development is responsive to the unique challenges faced by different regions


Publicly available electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure is pivotal for the United States EV transition by 2030. Existing infrastructure lacks equitably distribution to low-income and underrepresented communities, impeding mass adoption. Our study, utilizing 2021 micro-level data from 121 million United States households, comprehensively examines income and racial disparities in EV infrastructure accessibility. Our analysis of national averages indicates that lower-income groups face less accessibility to public EV infrastructure in both urban and rural geographies. Black households experience less rural accessibility, but greater urban accessibility compared to White households conditioning on income. However, our localized analysis uncovers significant variations in accessibility gaps among counties, rural and urban settings, and dwelling types. While Black households experience greater urban accessibility nationally, a closer look at the county level reveals diminishing advantages. This study identifies areas with pronounced inequality and urgent needs for enhanced accessibility, emphasizing the necessity for tailored solutions by local governments to enhance equitable access to EV infrastructure.

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