White House and federal agency officials recently convened key stakeholders, including USGBC, to identify challenges and opportunities to support and promote electric vehicles (EV).

Government officials at the meeting included high-ranking staff within the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), branches of the military (Army and Navy) and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Representatives from the automotive industry (Audi, BMW, General Motors, Nissan, Tesla and others), utilities and the EV charging sector formed the other part of the dialogue.

This initial discussion provided an opportunity for EV industry stakeholders to identify challenges, many of which require coordination across related industries and sectors. The issue of EV charging at the workplace and in single-family homes was of particular concern.  Consumers must rely on charging stations at both ends of their daily commute, which can deter some from choosing an EV vehicle over a conventional or even a hybrid one. Another issue was the government’s role in promoting EV. In particular, representatives from the Army and Navy discussed adding EVs to their respective fleets.

Through LEED, USGBC has long supported alternatives to conventionally fueled automobiles, including through promotion of EVs. LEED v4 rewards the inclusion of EV infrastructure in project design and construction. This innovation credit requires that electrical supply equipment are in place in for at least 2 percent of all parking spaces used by the project. The credit also mandates a discounted parking rate of at least 20 percent for green vehicles in general.

By moving away from traditional methods of transportation and promoting investment in vehicles like EVs, LEED projects become even more environmentally sound. Parksmart, previously known as the Green Parking Council, will be another tool for promoting EV infrastructure, following its acquisition by GBCI earlier this year.  

Although this convening serves as a means of presenting challenges to the EV market, it is also a precursor to a more public-facing summit planned for July of this year, which will focus on solutions.