Four U.S. cities have joined together to demonstrate the potential for electric shared mobility services. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and a team of valuable partners, Making the Case for Smart, Shared, and Sustainable Mobility Services aims to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in shared mobility applications and to establish best practices that can be used by others around the United States. The project, led by the City of Seattle and Atlas Public Policy, brings together the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficient Mobility Systems program and major industry stakeholders with the cities of Seattle, New York, Portland, and Denver to test different electric, shared mobility interventions.

Project teams in each city will focus on one type of market intervention and analyze the impact on electric vehicle adoption and electric miles traveled by carshare and ride-hail services. The project will culminate in a replicable blueprint that sets an example of how to electrify shared fleets across the United States.

The project began in early 2018 and over the course of three years, the cities and their partners will implement their programs in three phases. In close collaboration with the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment, Seattle City Light, ReachNow, eluminocity, and other shared mobility and electric vehicle infrastructure stakeholders, the Seattle Department of Transportation will test whether strategically siting charging stations around shared mobility hubs will increase the use of electric vehicles in shared mobility services. A key objective for shared mobility hubs is to advance the use of electric carshare and ride-hail vehicles by accommodating fast charging at or very near hub locations.

The cities of New York and Denver will work with a mobility service provider, and EVgo, a charging provider, to deploy EVs and install charging that can be used for free for a year by participants in ride-hailing services.

Finally, in the City of Portland, the non-profit clean transportation organization, Forth, will partner with Uber and Portland General Electric to develop a trial for the “Uber Electric” program, which will systemically encourage ride-hail drivers for either Uber or Lyft to use an EV. Forth will test how well targeted promotion of EV use with access to free and unlimited DC fast charging at a downtown depot can encourage the adoption of EVs by these drivers.

The pilot programs will be supported by an EV Shared Mobility Playbook, created by Atlas Public Policy, which will summarize the findings from the interventions, compare and analyze the cities’ results, and identify factors that affect the success of shared mobility electrification programs. The Playbook will be a resource for other cities or organizations that are considering pilot programs for electrification in shared mobility spaces. Additionally, the team will develop tools to be featured on the Playbook to better understand the costs, risks, and process of electrifying. Resources will include a business case analysis tool, applicable literature, and case studies. The project will be a leading example with clear lessons learned on how to successfully develop future interventions for smart, shared, and sustainable mobility.

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Project Impacts

  • Integrate innovative EV and charging technology with incumbent shared mobility services, bringing up to 1,000 new EVs, more than 50 fast charging stations, and more than 65 Level 2 charging stations to our target markets.

  • Save nearly 2.5 million gallons of gasoline over the three-year grant period within four of the nation’s fastest-growing cities.

  • Provide operational evidence in support of EV business models for shared mobility applications across the diverse geographies and demographics of the participating cities.

  • Demonstrate sustainability beyond the grant period and highlight the operational advantages of using EVs to inform future research and development in existing and future shared mobility services.

Project Structure

Each of the four cities have lined up key partners to deploy EVs in shared mobility services and test targeted interventions that could accelerate EV adoption in these services and by the public. The partners in each city will deploy vehicles, infrastructure, and help evaluate the effects of the programs in each city.

This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy under the Vehicles Technologies Office Deployment Award Number DE-EE0008261.

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