Seeking Justice in EV Charging Access: A Case Study of North Carolina’s Triad Region

Authors: Gregory Carlton*, University of North Carolina - Greensboro, Selima Sultana, University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Topics: Transportation Geography, Environmental Justice, Planning Geography
Keywords: Electric Vehicles, Accessibility, Equity, Environmental Justice, Transportation
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Electric Vehicles (EVs), though environmentally friendly, were once considered a transportation mode afforded only to the wealthy. Over the past decade, a growing market of used EVs has emerged, putting this once unaffordable technology in reach of consumers from more modest economic backgrounds. While EVs have become more affordable, it is unclear if the charging infrastructure used to energize them has followed suit. There are two primary types of charging infrastructure: home-based charging, and public charging stations. Early-stage research has shown that lower-income residents and people of color generally have less access to both of these charging types. The siting of new EV charging stations has generally excluded inner-city communities in favor of commercial corridors and high-income communities. Compounding this problem is the fact that lower income residents often live in multi-family apartment complexes or in rental properties, providing them less access to home-based charging. Using network and demographic analysis performed within a GIS environment, this research aims to quantify the differences in EV charging access between higher-income suburban communities and lower-income urban communities in North Carolina’s Triad region. Factors that were considered in this analysis included distance to public EV charging stations, availability of public charging outlets, household dwelling type, and homeownership rate. It is hoped that by identifying disparities in EV charging access, it will encourage municipal governments to rectify these issues so that residents from all backgrounds can equally access this emerging technology.

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