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Putting Equity at the Forefront of Electric for All

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By Mustapha Ahmed, Director, Data Science and Data Strategy
Sep 27, 2023

Grocery stores, shopping malls, and convenience stores are all intuitive choices for EV charging stations given their placement in high-traffic areas with convenient amenities for EV drivers to utilize while they charge, ample parking stalls, open space for electrical equipment and often 24/7 public access. At first glance, these locations present enough reason to deploy a new fast charging station, but EVgo’s Network Planning team also uses its proprietary siting tool to evaluate other factors prior to selecting a new location to add to our network. These factors include but are not limited to forecasted charging demand, vehicles in operation, electricity rates, current nearby infrastructure, and multifamily housing density (because we know public charging is more likely to be used by multifamily residents who lack home charging).  

We’ve spent a lot of time thinking (and writing) about the strengths and weaknesses of potential fast charging sites and recognize that additional data-driven insights can hold us accountable to building both a customer-centric and a more equitable charging network – and realize our vision for Electric for All.   

Oakland RC
In November 2022, EVgo celebrated the opening of a new public fast charging station at Marina Square Shopping Center in San Leandro, California. Located near Oakland International Airport and I-880 in a community disproportionately impacted by air pollution as indicated by both CalEnviroScreen and EJScreen, the station increases access to public fast charging infrastructure for residents and rideshare drivers and was built with funding support from the California Energy Commission.
In early 2021, EVgo’s Network Planning team began using EJScreen, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) environmental justice (EJ) mapping and screening tool, to measure our progress as a network in terms of equity and access. We have written about EJScreen and its application to the EVgo network in the past, but in sum, the EJScreen tool provides a nationally consistent dataset to measure both environmental and demographic socioeconomic indicators.  

Using EJScreen, we can better understand if our stations are serving impacted communities, which are defined as more diverse, less affluent and more impacted by air pollution than the average neighborhood in a given geography. Because EJ communities often have relatively high population density and a large share of multifamily dwellings, fast charging stations in these areas meet EVgo's return hurdles while also increasing access to public charging for those who may not have the ability to plug in at home.   

For example, Figure 1 shows a map of Los Angeles layered with EJScreen data. Impacted communities have EJScreen scores > 50 and are shown on a gradient of light to dark purple — the darker the color, the more impacted the area. The blue dots represent existing EVgo stations while the blue diamonds represent future stations.

Figure 1 Los Angeles
Similarly, in a map of Phoenix in Figure 2, the blue dots are existing EVgo stations and blue diamonds are future stations.  

Phoenix EJ Map
Figure 2 Phoenix
Lastly, in the Denver metro area, where 88% of our operational stations are within impacted communities, the blue dots in Figure 3 show existing EVgo stations, and blue diamonds are future stations. 

Denver EJ Map
Figure 3 Denver
These examples show that many of our existing stations serve impacted communities. Today, 44% of the EVgo network serves an EJ impacted community, which means an EVgo charger is within a 10-minute drive. This translates to nearly 1,350 operational stalls serving EJ communities, with hundreds of additional stalls forecasted to be under construction or operational by the end of the year.  

For more information on our progress toward building an equitable charging network, as well as additional background on our methodology, please revisit our first and second blogs about our journey to Electric for All.