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A three-dimensional view of charging infrastructure equity

Electric vehicle (EV) sales are on the rise, as plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars become more affordable and reasonable for lower-income people. One key to this transition is also making the fuel that powers them more accessible – electric charging stations and other infrastructure must be affordable, available and in close proximity to where they are most needed.

Maria Xylia, Somya Joshi / Published on 9 June 2022
Download  Download the policy paper / PDF / 1 MB

Xylia, M. and Joshi, S. (2022). A three-dimensional view of charging infrastructure equity. Policy paper. Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm.

If a transition to fossil-free alternatives for transportation is to help reach climate goals, it must be implemented in a manner that does not exacerbate existing inequalities, in terms of accessibility to services, as well as personal and household mobility costs. Here, the authors use Sweden as an example to introduce three dimensions that are linked to equitable charging infrastructure deployment, with a focus on private chargers: data transparency, local accessibility and opportunities for demand flexibility.

Using these three dimensions, we present an overarching analysis of charger subsidy schemes at the national level and local level. Our analysis shows that private chargers (including at-home and at-work charging) appear in higher density in Swedish urban areas with higher incomes; however, car density is much higher in other parts of the country, where private charging access is still low.

Based on our analysis, we make specific recommendations for data collection and for developing indicators for monitoring access to private charging infrastructure and its relationship to income inequalities at the most local level. These measures will bring us closer to broader infrastructure deployment, and as a result, EV expansion will occur more quickly on the path to fossil-free transport.

Key messages

  • Three dimensions to charging infrastructure equity are explored, using Sweden as an example: data on private charger deployment, access to charging infrastructure, and the role that private charging plays when it comes to demand flexibility.
  • Car density has an inverse relationship to charger density: the higher the number of cars per capita in a given area, the lower the number of chargers. Disposable income has a direct one in most cases analysed: the higher the disposable income, the higher the number of chargers per capita in a given area.
  • Cities where overall mean private charger density is above the national mean still have a significant share of areas with charger density below that mean, signifying the need to collect data at the most local level.
  • Private charging, e.g. at home or work, should be the main charging strategy because it delivers time-flexible charging at lower costs. Public charging, although important, cannot and should not be the main metric for infrastructure equity.

Download the policy paper / PDF / 1 MB

SEI authors

Maria Xylia
Maria Xylia

Senior Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Somya Joshi
Somya Joshi

Head of Division: Global Agendas, Climate and Systems

SEI Headquarters

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