Jan 19, 2023 - Business

Richmond's electric vehicle charger inequity

Illustration of an unequal sign with a lightning bolt through it on pavement

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Electric vehicle chargers are easier to find in whiter, wealthier neighborhoods in Richmond and nationwide, an analysis by the Axios What's Next team found.

Why it matters: Automakers and lawmakers are pushing EVs as a cleaner alternative to traditional cars.

  • But concerns over charging access are one of the biggest holdups preventing more car buyers from going electric — along with high EV prices.

By the numbers: In the Richmond area, majority-white tracts are 2.69 times as likely to have a charging station as majority-nonwhite tracts, according to the analysis of the 35 U.S. cities with the highest share of EV sales.

  • Nationally, majority-white tracts are about 1.4 times as likely.

Zoom in: The highest concentrations of EV charging stations in the Richmond area are in the 23230 zip code, which includes Scott's Addition and Libbie Mill, per the data.

  • A cluster of chargers at The Current, a newly opened luxury apartment building in Manchester, accounts for the second highest local concentration.

Yes, but: There are just over 100 EV charging stations with unrestricted public access in the Richmond area.

Methodology: The analysis relied upon EV market share data from S&P Global Mobility and charger location information from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Reality check: Charging is only one roadblock when it comes to electric car equity.

  • Price is also a major concern. The average EV sold for $61,448 in December, according to Kelley Blue Book, putting them outside many car buyers' budgets.

What we're watching: Virginia is on track to adopt California's vehicle emissions standards next year under a "clean car" law passed in 2021.

  • It would require about 8% of new cars sold by manufacturers be electric or hybrid. The percentage would increase annually after that, AP reports.
  • Republicans are pushing to repeal the mandate, which they call unrealistic, but this week Democrats in the state Senate blocked the effort.

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