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Cleveland is Ranked as the Fourth-Lowest City Among the Top U.S. Cities for Electric Vehicle Adoption

Electric Vehicle (Credits: Forbes)

Cleveland is facing challenges in meeting the ambitious climate goals set for 2050, particularly in the area of transportation and the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

Recent data shows that only about 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the city are EVs, ranking Cleveland 47th among the top 50 U.S. cities in terms of EV registrations. This percentage is higher than cities like Detroit (also 3 percent), Buffalo (2 percent), and McAllen, Texas (about 1 percent).

Cities with higher GDPs, warmer climates, and longer commutes tend to have higher EV registrations and more charging stations. For example, cities like San Jose, San Francisco, and Seattle have greatly higher percentages of EV registrations compared to Cleveland.

Cleveland takes first step towards EV equity (Credits: Ideastream)

Several factors contribute to Cleveland’s lower adoption of EVs. One major factor is the higher cost of new EVs compared to traditional gasoline vehicles.

Many of the latest model EVs from brands like Tesla, Volkswagen, and Audi cost over $50,000, with no models available below $35,000. Additionally, cold weather, such as Cleveland’s Lake Effect winter, can affect battery performance, making EVs less appealing in such climates.

Mayor Justin Bibb’s role as chair of the Climate Mayors and President Biden‘s emphasis on carbon elimination goals by 2050 highlight the importance of government initiatives in promoting EV adoption. EV incentives, like federal tax credits, have been effective in boosting sales, but recent policies limiting incentives to American-made vehicles could impact this trend.

Electric Car (Credits: City Journal)

Despite challenges, there are benefits to transitioning to EVs, including reduced noise pollution and cleaner air in cities. However, concerns remain about the environmental impact of lithium battery production. Studies have shown that a widespread shift to EVs could save thousands of lives lost to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases by 2050.

In Cleveland, efforts are being made to expand EV infrastructure, including the construction of new charging stations. Existing stations are located at various sites but are not always easily accessible to the public. The cost of charging an EV, while initially high, can be more economical in the long run compared to gasoline refueling.

One can indeed say, Cleveland faces opportunities and challenges in promoting EV adoption as part of its efforts to meet climate goals and improve air quality in the city.

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