PEV Action Tool

PEV Action Tool

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs or electric vehicles) offer a transformative opportunity to address energy security, air quality, climate change, and economic growth.[i] As such, over the past few years, both private industry and government have invested significantly in electric vehicles. In its second year of mass market availability, electric vehicle sales are increasing rapidly; the number of PEVs sold will most likely see more than 150 percent year-over-year growth in 2012.

However, electric vehicles remain a small percentage of the U.S. vehicle fleet, and future market growth is uncertain because of economic, policy, and technical challenges. In order for public and private benefits to materialize fully, the PEV market must see sustained growth over a decades-long period. As such, state transportation departments (DOTs) and other public entities like metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), local governments, and state energy agencies can play an important role in defining public policy that facilitates PEV deployment. In states that are not looking to actively promote PEV adoption, these same agencies could still benefit from better understanding and adequate preparation for a transition in the personal vehicle fleet that is already underway. 

In order to share information and best practices on PEV deployment and define the role of state DOTs in this market, Washington State Department of Transportation initiated a Federal Highways Administration pooled fund study on strategies and best practices to support PEV and charging infrastructure commercialization. Representatives from seven other state transportation departments (Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin), Federal Highways Administration, and various other local and states entities (Siskiyou County, Oregon Governor’s Office, City of Raleigh, and California Energy Commission) participated in two workshops in Berkeley, CA and Raleigh, NC in March and June 2012, respectively. See the state DOT electric vehicle project for more information.

Explore the PEV Action Tool Map


The Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool is the synthesis of the workshops as well as previous research conducted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). The purpose of the Action Tool is to help state DOTs determine their goals for PEV deployment and to chart out a path for reaching those goals. The Action Tool is also a resource for learning about PEVs and best practices from other state agencies. Although state DOTs are the primary audience, many of the suggested actions and resources in the tool are applicable to other public entities such as local governments and other state agencies.

The tool contains four parts: the Actions Map and Profile Descriptions, the Actions List, Briefs, and a Resource List. The Actions Map and Profile Descriptions present a high-level overview of the tool and chart out 33 actions that state transportation agencies can take. This component allows state transportation departments to assess its profile type – whether it is just starting work, a Learner, an Actor, or a Leader on PEV deployment. It also allows a DOT to explore what aspect of PEV deployment to focus on, e.g., charging station deployment, or policy and research. Next, by clicking on a particular action, the DOT can read an in-depth description of the action within the Actions List. To supplement the Actions List, the Tool also contains two Briefs detailing the benefits and common concerns regarding PEVs. Finally, the Resource List contains a list of references, additional reading, and quantitative data.


Visit to see all PEV-related work at C2ES.


[i] PEVs refer to all electric vehicle types including all electric vehicles (e.g., Nissan LEAF), extended range electric vehicles (Chevrolet Volt), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (e.g., Toyota Prius Plug-in).