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Are cities the key to the electrification of the world?


According to a recent paper, towns should employ local rules and incentives to promote the use of electric cars. The authors suggest a variety of strategies communities might use to encourage the adoption of electric cars, including setting an example and using monetary incentives. The team also discusses situational and contextual aspects, as well as hurdles and facilitators, that impact the electric revolution.

A group of Newcastle academics analyze the essential characteristics that might cement cities as drivers of the electric car revolution in a paper published in Nature Electronics.

The comment document, which was released today (31 January), argues that cities should employ local regulations and incentives to stimulate the use of electric cars. The authors, led by Newcastle University’s Dr. Oliver Heidrich, identify a variety of strategies cities may use to encourage the adoption of electric cars, including setting an example and using fiscal mechanisms. The team also discusses situational and contextual aspects, as well as hurdles and facilitators, that impact the electric revolution.

Dr. Oliver Heidrich of Newcastle University’s School of Engineering, the study’s lead author, said: “Uncertainty about legislative direction, as well as, more significantly, time, is one reason why investors, manufacturers, and consumers have been slow to embrace electric cars. Although it is already evident that electric cars will soon replace gasoline and diesel vehicles, it is less clear how this will happen and who should lead the charge in minimizing some of the uncertainties.”

Taking the initiative

The study emphasizes the critical role played by local, regional, and national governments in encouraging the adoption of electric cars. Cities all throughout the globe might utilize the instruments they control to influence consumer behavior, such as road access rights, parking fees, and land-use rules. The authors also suggest that cities’ own fleets and procurement procedures might aid in electric car adoption.

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Financial authority

Cities might utilize their fiscal authority to augment national funds to buy or lease electric cars, in addition to strengthening their leadership position. According to the authors, broad adoption by cities might help combat the idea that electric cars are just for the wealthy. Electric bus fleets and investments in bus electrification, as well as corporate fleets, might all benefit from financing.

The adoption of electric cars is influenced by a number of factors

Dr. Heidrich and colleagues discuss the important situational and contextual aspects that influence the adoption of electric cars in cities in their article.

The writers examine geography as one of the primary situational elements. Some situational characteristics include density, socioeconomic background, and the quality and availability of alternative transportation. Each city is faced with a unique set of circumstances and must determine how to best support the adoption of electric vehicles, such as by installing charging stations in densely populated areas, investing in long-distance public infrastructure, supporting home-charging infrastructures, or a combination of all three.

By explaining, teaching, and incentivizing the usage of electric cars in cities, the authors demonstrate how contextual considerations play a role. This might be accomplished via very straightforward methods such as providing priority traffic lanes, free parking, or tax breaks. The report looks at the major obstacles and facilitators to EV adoption. To overcome these impediments, the authors argue that a balance between demand pull-ins, such as costs and technology, and government push-ins, such as prohibiting internal combustion vehicles, is essential.

Whatever advances are made, it is apparent that a mix of well-thought-out local, regional, national, and even worldwide initiatives will be necessary to achieve the levels of electric vehicle ownership required to satisfy the emission reduction targets. It is evident that cities can and should be at the forefront of this much-needed transformation.

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