The first EV adoption strategy by a US municipal-utility


US utility Seattle City Light has partnered with Rocky Mountain Institute to develop a roadmap to electrify the city’s transportation system.

The roadmap Seattle City Light: Transportation Electrification Strategy is considered to be developed by a municipal utility in the US.

Lynn Daniels, manager at Rocky Mountain Institute, said: “This report creates a roadmap for Seattle City Light both to enable and respond to this rapidly changing market, ensuring that Seattle remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.”

Read more stories about electric vehicles here

Recommendations included in the report to expand the city’s EV market include:

  • Investing in charging infrastructure, including utility-owned direct-current fast chargers and grid upgrades.
  • Supporting the deployment of privately-owned fast chargers for ride-sharing drivers and for residents of multi-unit dwellings and under-served communities.
  • Provide incentives and technical expertise for installing Level 2 chargers at residences and workplaces.
  • Explore and pilot electricity rates that make electric transportation cost-competitive with transportation by conventional vehicles.
  • Improve customer service to offer streamlined and transparent interconnection and service upgrade processes for new charging stations.
  • Develop digital content to help customers make informed decisions about buying EVs.
  • Establish standards to encourage “smart charging” during low-cost hours and to support the use of EVs as flexible grid assets.
  • Prepare for heavy-duty electrification, and support the electrification needs of partner agencies such as Metro and the Port, by offering responsive rates, incentives, grid infrastructure, technology demonstration and siting analysis.
  • Prepare to support urban fleet and freight operators and develop packaged charging solutions including financing, make-ready investments, smart charging and incentives for charging depots.

 “Investing in charging infrastructure and proactively engaging with fleet and transit customers are two of the most important ways that City Light can accelerate the transition to electric vehicles in Seattle. We’re very proud to help lead the way to cleaner air, lower transportation costs and more equitable access to transportation in our city,” said Brendan O’Donnell, Manager of Planning, Strategy and Analytics at Seattle City Light, who led the strategy project.

Learn more about RMI’s work on transportation electrification here.