The top cities for EV preparedness

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Amsterdam is the number one city in the world for EV preparedness, according to a new report. Image: Chris Yunker/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Sixteen cities in nine countries are making a concerted effort to put six million electric vehicles on the road by 2020. A new report called the EV City Casebook is tracking those efforts and offers tips to other cities to reach those goals.

The EV City Casebook

The new report, published by the International Energy Agency, the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative, and C40 Cities, details the efforts of the cities to boost EV sales. Those efforts include adding EVs to municipal fleets and to public transportation, as well as financial incentives, such as rebates and tax breaks on vehicles and charging equipment.

From the report:

“Cities are also leading by example. Many have already added electric vehicles to municipal fleets and incorporated hybrid buses into public transportation. They are placing charging spots at public buildings and, in some cases, offering discounted electricity rates for EV users from municipal-owned utilities.”

The 16 cities

The 16 cities account for around 30 percent of the EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs on today’s highways. Those cites include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, BrabantStad, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kanagawa Prefecture, Los Angeles, New York City, North East England, Portland, Ore., Research Triangle, N.C., Rotterdam, Shanghai, and Stockholm.


The top cities cited have been active in implementing infrastructure to provide charging stations for EV drivers. Leading the world in preparing the roads for an onslaught of battery-powered cars is Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. The 136 mile city has a solid infrastructure in place for charging EVs. There are around 750 cars on the city’s streets now, out of a population of 780,000. The city is anticipates it will host 10,000 EVs by 2015. It also hopes to be free of all internal combustion cars by 2040.

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Barcelona, Spain is the second most EV-friendly city, according to the report. It has a population of 1.6 million and hosts only about 400 EVs. However, the city is full of electric scooters and motorcycles and boasts 4,500 charging stations, built since 2010. It says it will have 3,000 EVs on its streets by 2014.

Los Angeles

It probably comes as no surprise that Los Angeles is the one U.S. city among the top three. With a population of 4.1 million, it has about 2,000 EVs currently on the road. It wants to make that 80,000 by 2014. The city’s Department of Water and Electricity is offering a $2,000 discount to homes that add a charging station, and is investing $60 million   in smart grid technology to bring the city’s aging power grid into line.

The Southern California city is also allowing zero-emissions vehicles to use carpool lanes, even with only one occupant in the vehicle. The city is also offering an a $2,500 rebate to those who purchase EVs. That is in addition to the federal rebate of $7,500.


Some of these goals may seem ambitious, and it will be many years yet until EVs are the norm. But as oil reserves diminish and nations work to move away from fossil fuel dependence, we may all be grateful later for these preparatory efforts.


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