Volta Marks Zero Emissions Day By Delivering its 25 Millionth Free Mile

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Volta electric vehicle charging station in the Washington, D.C. area.

Volta electric vehicle charging station in the Washington, D.C. area.

Together, Volta partners and drivers have surpassed a significant milestone of 25 million free, electric miles delivered across our network of charging stations.

This notable milestone translates into obvious benefits to drivers of electric vehicles   (EVs), but also represents significant benchmarks and value to Volta site partners and, of course, the environment at large.

Site partners (the malls, markets and stadiums that have installed Volta charging stations) have seen particularly compelling results. Using charging sessions as a proxy for visits, installing a free Volta station can be associated with a 64% increase in EV driving customer visits to a Volta retail partner location. Charging users have also spent more than 2 million hours shopping at Volta partner retail sites, while topping off for free. In short, they are visiting more and staying longer, rewarding Volta Charging site partners with more business.

Those 25 million free miles also represent over 550,000 gallons of gas saved and nearly 11 million pounds of CO2 offset. The environmental benefit of that offset is equivalent to planting more than 125,000 trees.

“The EV drivers who utilize Volta Charging stations are already a step ahead in their individual commitment to zero emissions,” said Scott Mercer, CEO, Volta. “Volta is proud to do our part for the environment, and the planet, each and every day, especially today, on this 10 year anniversary of Zero Emissions Day.”

Governor’s Executive Order Will Make CA Electric Vehicles 50x Cleaner by 2045

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volta electric vehicle chrging sttion at crissy field san francisco california

Electric vehicles charged on the California electricity grid are already some of the cleanest cars around at 109 MPGe. Thanks to Governor Jerry Brown’s Executive Order to Achieve Carbon Neutrality released last night, they’re about to get even cleaner.

MPGe by State, 2018

Average miles per gallon equivalent of electric vehicles, 2018 Union of Concerned Scientists

The order calls for the golden state to run on 100% clean energy by 2045. That will increase the efficiency of an electric vehicle charged on California grid energy from 109 MPGe to over 5,000 MPGe–over 50x cleaner. Drivers that purchase clean electric vehicles through the 2030’s will enjoy knowing that the energy that comes out of wall outlets and public charging stations like Volta’s will become dramatically cleaner each year as more renewables come online.

The U.S. Grid Overall to Become 100% Cleaner by 2040

us power sector emissions grids getting cleaner graph

US electricity has become cleaner over time, and is predicted to continue to reduce in carbon intensity. Source: US Department of Energy

This is one of the truly amazing advantages of electric fleets. While it’s already cleaner to drive on electricity than gas in all 50 states, it will become significantly more so over time. The positive environmental contribution of someone who chooses to buy an electric vehicle today will grow each year as the grid itself gets cleaner.

This is wonderful news to receive this week, which happens to be National Drive Electric Week 2018. Volta applauds Governor Brown’s leadership and ambitious vision in setting a clear path to a 100% carbon neutral California, and we applaud all who have chosen to do their part and go electric.

Try an EV for yourself and see what all the buzz is about at an NDEW 2018 event near you. For the in the San Francisco Bay Area, Volta’s All Electric Drive-In Movie Night celebration of NDEW is already sold out but be sure to sign up for notifications about future drive-ins here.

Volta Closes $35M Series C Funding Round

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Free Volta Electric Vehicle Charging Station in Washington, D.C.

San Francisco, CA (July 23, 2018) – Volta Charging, a category groundbreaker in mobility infrastructure, today announced the closing of a $35M Series C Funding Round. The round, designed to accelerate the rapid expansion of Volta’s Electric Vehicle (EV) charging and media network, is led by the Invenergy Future Fund, with both the Invenergy Future Fund and Activate Capital assuming Series C Board seats.

This round of funding is Volta’s largest yet. Participants in Volta’s Series C round include new, as well as returning, investors from the US and Europe. GE Ventures, Orsted Venture, Nautilus Venture Partners, and Idinvest all join as new investors. Virgo Investment Group and Autotech Ventures, among others, also each increased the size of their previous investments, bringing the total now raised by Volta to more than US $60M since the Company’s founding in 2010.

“Out of all of the EV charging network startups we have seen, Volta has the most elegant business model…” – Autotech Ventures Managing Director, Dr. Alexei Andreev

Volta has developed the country’s most utilized electric vehicle charging network. By installing chargers in high-traffic locations in top media markets and partnering with advertisers to sponsor the service, Volta EV chargers are available to both drivers and real estate hosts without cost. With over 1,000 faces available for sponsorship opportunities across 500 stations today, Volta plans to double its network footprint by the end of 2018 by adding more stations and opening new markets. The capital investment will also allow Volta to respond to the increasing demand of real estate owners who are looking ways to monetize their assets and increase consumer dwell time. By year’s end, Volta anticipates that its network will operate nationwide in nearly all of the top 10 media markets, in addition to its initial launch market, Hawaii.

With over 1,000 faces available for sponsorship opportunities today, Volta plans to double its network footprint by the end of 2018 by adding more stations and opening new markets.

Volta helps brands meet and exceed their financial targets, as well their corporate social responsibility goals. Sponsorship of amenities, such as Volta’s charging networks, brings greater lift over traditional out of home media both in reputation and purchase intent. Volta also works closely with municipalities and industry groups with a stated commitment to emissions reduction. To date, brand and site sponsored stations have delivered over 22 million free electric miles, saving over 9 million pounds of CO2.

“This esteemed group of investors, who share our vision, are each focused on advancing energy, transportation, technology or media platforms worldwide and we are excited to benefit from these relationships as we continue to advance mobility infrastructure worldwide,” said Scott Mercer, CEO, Volta Charging. “With this influx of capital, we will be immediately able to respond to the respective demand from advertisers, EV drivers, and landlords as we add meaningful value to communities nationwide.

“We gained confidence in the Volta team through their focus on execution, and applaud their insight to bring the media industry to bear to create a mobility infrastructure solution. Volta distills the surrounding complexity and accelerates the market by executing on consumer preferences that won’t change: free charging in premier convenient locations,” said John Tough, partner at the Invenergy Future Fund. “We look forward to partnering with the broader investor group to help Volta meet what has become unabating demand for its differentiated and scalable model that brings real value to all stakeholders.”

“Volta brings us an opportunity to elegantly advance the intersection of two of our most important sectors – energy and transportation,” said Anup Jacob, Managing Director, Activate Capital. “By leveraging sponsorship to underwrite free charging and infrastructure, Volta has created a unique model to accelerate the future of mobility.”

“Since we invest exclusively in transportation technology, we spend a lot of time researching electric vehicle charging technology,” said Autotech Ventures Managing Director, Dr. Alexei Andreev. “Out of all of the EV charging network startups we have seen, Volta has the most elegant business model which decouples EV adoption and revenue generation. Instead of selling electrons to EV owners, Volta sells advertising space and marketing analytics to media customers. We’re excited to welcome and participate alongside the new round of incoming investors that will help Volta rapidly grow its footprint across the US.”

“We are excited about the opportunities presented by Volta’s advertising-funded mobility solution. We look forward to working with Volta and support their vision to connect consumers, brands and communities,” said Victor Westerlind, Managing Director at GE Ventures.

“Virgo was excited to lead the Company’s prior debt and equity raises, which enabled the Company to prove the power of its business model over the past two years. We welcome our new partners and look forward to collaborating with Volta to further talent and product development. Volta is well poised to increase both the scale and scope of its innovative business,” said Eli Aheto, Partner, Virgo Investment Group.

“Governments, municipalities, and of course, the automotive industry itself, are all dedicating significant resources to the future of mobility,” added Mercer. “Our Series C will also allow us to focus on both growth and leading-edge product development to meet and exceed the needs of this dynamic environment.”

About Volta
Volta is changing the dynamic of mobility infrastructure. Volta Charging has developed the country’s most utilized electric vehicle (EV) charging network. By installing chargers in high-traffic locations in top media markets and partnering with brands to sponsor the service, Volta EV chargers are available to both drivers and real estate hosts free of cost. Volta also works closely with municipalities and industry groups with a stated commitment to emissions reduction. Volta currently operates citywide EV charging networks in more than 50 municipalities. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York City, and is always looking for new transportation problems to solve. To learn more visit www.voltacharging.com.

Media Contact:
Rachel Honig, Amplify Cooperative

Volta’s Vision for Fan Engagement from the Green Sports Alliance Summit Main Stage

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Free Volta EV Charging Stations at the Oracle Coliseum in Oakland

Free Volta EV Charging Stations at the Oracle Coliseum in Oakland

“How can we leverage the power of business and excitement around sports to drive sustainability?” That question drives Green Sports Alliance (GSA) members, which happens to include two stadiums that host Volta’s free EV charging stations—The Oracle Arena / Oakland Coliseum and the United Center in Chicago—as well as many of their member teams. Each year, the Alliance holds a summit to share ideas and inspiration about how to drive sustainability through sports.

“This is so much bigger than providing a few plugs for EV driving fans. This is about leveraging the power of stadiums as iconic cultural centerpieces to show the world that clean mobility is here, and it’s for everyone.”

At this year’s summit, Volta CEO and Founder Scott Mercer spoke from the main stage as part of the thought leadership panel alongside other key executives in the sustainability space. Below is a recap of key questions and an overview of Volta’s vision for driving fan engagement through unique, positive sustainability experiences in the sports world.

1. What is your sustainability story?

“While being environmentally and socially responsible is key to us at Volta, it’s also very important to us to build an EV charging business model that is financially sustainable. That’s why we built a unique model where the charge is free to EV drivers, entirely enabled by sponsors and content. The community as a whole feels inspired and empowered to make the leap to an electric car.

“Stadiums make perfect partners to drive exposure, engagement, and inspiration for fans by showing that EVs are here, and their community is ready to make this change. Teams benefit from new fan engagement opportunities using the digital screens on the stations where we dedicate one of the rotating digital sponsorships to their use.

“This is so much bigger than providing a few plugs for EV driving fans. This is about leveraging the power of stadiums as iconic cultural centerpieces to show the world that clean mobility is here, and it’s for everyone.”

Free Volta EV Charging Stations at the United Center in Chicago

Free Volta EV Charging Stations at the United Center in Chicago

2. Where do you see the puck going in the future of your industry? How does your work act as a catalyst for sport?

“Shifting transportation to clean, electric power is a massive undertaking. While rolling out enough chargers in enough places is extremely important, an equally critical piece is enabling this huge social shift that’s going to be involved in remaking American car culture to fulfill this electric vision.

“Sports stadiums are ideal partners to both enable this change, and also to benefit from it. Volta brings a whole new way for stadiums and teams to engage with sustainable transport. It’s our vision to leverage the excitement of technological innovation and connect that with the excitement around sports to create a whole new category of fan experiences. These aren’t just a row of posts with cords attached that benefit a handful of fans. We envision a sports team that has a Volta station for each one of their star players, with our digital screens hosting interactive fan engagement experiences so they can see themselves in a photo with their favorite player and maybe enter for a chance to win free tickets and share on social media.

“These types of meaningful, memorable experiences can have a ripple effect beyond the game. Together, we can inspire change in local communities and people’s lives as we accelerate EV adoption and provide a cleaner future for everyone.”

3. How do you know that you’re actually making a difference? What can you measure?

“We know we’re advancing sustainability in two ways: infrastructure and influence.

“So, first, we’re building the most highly utilized charging network on a per-port basis. We’re seeing an average usage of 8-10 hours a day. Through our live data monitoring we’re able to prove how much carbon we’ve saved and then sell carbon credits on the California market. To-date, we’ve prevented over 9 million pounds of CO2 from going into the atmosphere and we’re installing a new station almost every day so the pace of that impact keeps accelerating.

“Second is this cultural piece. We’re influencing millions of Americans to consider making that leap to an electric car. Third-party research studies have shown us that up to 68% of people who see a Volta station in the wild will consider going electric for their next car. That’s truly inspiring to us to see that we’re delivering millions of free electric miles to today’s EV drivers and at the same time, inspiring millions to make that shift from gas to electric, which for millions of people in the US is the single most powerful climate action they can take.”

If you are a venue manager interested in free EV charging services, let us know here. If you’re a fan excited to see your team lead the charge on electric vehicles — tag them and let us know on our Facebook page.

Volta Trail Running Team Pushes Past Their Comfort Zone

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broken arrow skyrace course

It was a big weekend for the Volta team up at the Broken Arrow Skyrace in Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe last weekend. We had runners in the 5k who braved 3,100 ft elevation gain, the 10k with 2,000 ft gain, and the 26k with a grueling 5,300 ft gain. 

While two team members had been running consistently when everyone signed up in January, the rest hadn’t quite. They considered the intense elevation and thought it sounded crazy, but thought, “why not?” The more experienced runners encouraged and trained with those who were less experienced on early runs starting from our San Francisco warehouse, up Portrero Hill, and out to the beautiful San Francisco shoreline.

On Saturday, June 17 the 5k runners woke up excited and ready to go. At the bottom of the hill they looked up at the sheer incline and realized just what they had signed up for. They were scaling a ski slope. But they looked at each other, nodded, and set off at the starting horn with Volta’s SVP Operations, Jon Michaels, cheering them on.

Volta Media Sales Account Coordinator Hannah Egan climbing up a rusty stair ladder along a sheer drop during the “Vertical Kilometer” 5k.

They made it over rocky ridges, past sheer cliff drops, and across a rickety ladder to finish in the snow at the summit.

Volta Operations Project Manager Erica Duran cresting the summit in the snow and she finishes the Vertical Kilometer race.


Congrats to our “Vertical Kilometer” finishers!

Day 2 brought the 10k and 26k. Runners woke up excited only to see hail–yes, hail–outside their window. It seemed to pass and the race was on so they headed to the starting line despite ominous skies and murmurs of lightning warnings from race officials.

Dark clouds threatened more bad weather on the day of the longer races.

Volta’s lead software engineer, Caleb Brewer, was running the 26k in sandals to win a bet with a member of the operations team.

“It was fine,” he said, “except for one time when I scooped up snow in between the sandal and my toe socks. That sucked. My feet were pretty cold the rest of the race. But otherwise it was fine.” Definitely the kind of mindset we want tackling our most complex engineering problems.

Volta’s head of engineering conquering the mountain in sandals like a beast.


The Volta Trail Running Team after cheering their distance runners at the finish line.

There’s nothing quite like coming across the finish line of a grueling effort to your team members cheering you on, whether it’s a race up a mountain or a tough week facing down the intrinsic challenges of startup life. Hard work, determination, and training make it possible. A great team makes it fun.

Speaking of which, we’re hiring! Check out open positions here and join us on the mountain next year–whether on the trails or yelling your heart out for your team.



How Many EVs Can Use Level 3 Charging? (CCS / CHAdeMO)

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Of all 46 plug-in passenger vehicles and SUVs that have been sold in the US in the last decade, 10 models can use CCS or CHAdeMO “fast charging” from the factory.

The Chevy Bolt EV does offer a premium trim that comes with a CCS charging port, but the base model only has Level 2 charging. Tesla owners can purchase a large $450 adapter to use with CHAdeMO stations, but they are typically slower and more expensive than Tesla’s proprietary “Supercharger” version of Level 3 stations.

See below for a full list of electric cars that can use Level 3 charging. This list was last updated in June 2018.

US Plug-In Models Can Use Volta Level 2 J1772 Can Use Level 3 CHAdeMO/ CCS
Audi A3 – eTron Yes No
BMW 330e Yes No
BMW 530e* Yes No
BMW 740e Yes No
BMW i8 Yes No
BMW X5 40e* Yes No
Cadillac CT6 PHV Yes No
Cadillac ELR Yes No
Chevy Volt* Yes No
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid* Yes No
Fiat 500E* Yes No
Ford Cmax Energi Yes No
Ford Fusion Energi* Yes No
Honda Clarity PHEV* Yes No
Honda Fit EV Yes No
Hyundai Sonata PHV Yes No
Kia Optima PHV Yes No
Mercedes B-Class EV Yes No
Mercedes C350e Yes No
Mercedes GLE 550E Yes No
Mercedes S550H PHV Yes No
Mini Countryman S E PHV Yes No
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV* Yes Yes
Porsche 918 Spyder Yes No
Porsche Cayenne S-E Yes No
Porsche PanameraS-E Yes No
Smart ED Yes No
Toyota Prius PHV Yes No
Toyota Prius Prime* Yes No
Toyota RAV4 Yes No
Volvo XC60 Yes No
Chevy Bolt EV* Yes Some
Tesla Model S* With free adapter With $450 adapter
Tesla Model X* With free adapter With $450 adapter
Tesla Roadster With free adapter With $450 adapter
Tesla Model 3* With free adapter With $600 adapter
BMW i3* Yes Yes
Chevy Spark EV Yes Yes
Ford Focus Electric (CA only) Yes Yes
Honda Accord PHV Yes Yes
Honda Clarity BEV* Yes Yes
Hyundai Ioniq EV Yes Yes
KIA Soul EV Yes Yes
Mitsubishi i-Miev Yes Yes
Nissan LEAF* Yes Yes
VW eGolf Yes Yes

*Top 15 Best-Selling Plugin in 2018

Overall, about 30% of all plug-in vehicles sold in the U.S. can use DCFC CCS  or CHAdeMO Level 3 charging. For more information about Level 2 versus Level 3 charging and a complimentary analysis of which type fits best with a specific location, please reach out to our site partnerships team.

Join the Team and Make a Difference

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Join the fast-growing, fast-paced team at Volta and help drive the adoption of clean transportation to make the world better for everyone. See open positions here.

Founded in 2010, Volta Charging is a nationwide network of free electric vehicle charging stations that are supported by sponsor brands. Volta’s sponsor-backed model provides free charging for electric vehicle drivers; free charging stations for host businesses; positive visibility for sponsor brands; and environmental benefits funded by advertising revenue from sponsors displayed on Volta’s charging stations.

View Open Positions Here

Our Fearless Leader

Volta is led by CEO and founder Scott Mercer, an entrepreneur with a passion for driving faster adoption of future-focused technology. Early in his career, Scott ran a vintage automotive restoration business and sold a restored 1967 Jaguar XKE to seed the beginnings of Volta.

Scott understood the largest impediment to bringing electric vehicles to a broad consumer base was a lack of infrastructure. While support has been growing globally for electric cars, the distribution of public charging stations is emerging as a major impediment to widespread adoption. In response, Volta launched with a mission to inspire change and energize communities to drive electric cars by facilitating accessible charging at no cost. By building new infrastructure to meet electric transportation needs, Volta is also creating new ways for sponsors to reach their target audience. Volta’s network attracts new visitors to shopping malls, grocery stores, and other local businesses who stay for longer to enjoy shopping and restaurants while grabbing a free charge.

Headquarters and Company Culture

Volta is headquartered in a repurposed warehouse in San Francisco’s design district where operations, design, sales, executive and marketing teams all work in a shared open space layout. Several Volta team members also operate remotely from key markets including Los Angeles, New York City.

Volta HQ hosts two free Level 2 EV charging stations in front of the building that are available to the public as well as to Volta staff. Volta team projects include rebuilding a 1972 Zagato EV and designing an outdoor garden and meeting space in the back lot. Volta staff often bring dogs to the office for Volta Dog Days.

Join the Team

Celebrate the EV Success Story this Earth Month

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#AllElectricWeekend Volta

Get automatically entered to win a weekend in an EV! Share your EV fact using the hashtag #AllElectricWeekend and tagging @VoltaCharging.

No purchase necessary to win. By entering you agree to all sweepstakes rules, terms, and conditions available here.

A US Driver Goes Electric Every 3 Minutes

Tweet or post this with the hashtag #AllElectricWeekend and tag @VoltaCharging to get automatically entered to win a weekend in a Tesla.

So far in 2018, an American driver has bought or leased a new electric car every 3 minutes on average. Welcome to the year of the electric car.

There are now over three quarters of a million electric vehicles on the road in the US and the trend is accelerating faster every year. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that drivers will actually have to pay a higher upfront cost for a gas car by 2025 and that electric cars will outsell gas cars as soon as 2040.

Top 10 Best-Selling Plug-in Electric Cars of 2018

  1. Tesla Model 3 EV from $35,000
  2. Toyota Prius Prime Plug-In Hybrid from $27,100
  3. Chevrolet Bolt EV $36,620
  4. Tesla Model S EV from $74,500
  5. Chevolet Volt Plug-In Hybrid from $33,220
  6. Tesla Model X EV from $79,500
  7. Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid from $33,400
  8. Ford Fusion Energi Plug-In Hybrid from $33,400
  9. Nissan LEAF EV from $29,990
  10. BMW i3 EV & Plug-In Hybrid from $44,450

Consumer Reports’ Top-Ranking Vehicle for Driver Satisfaction Has Been an Electric Car Every Year Since 2011.

Tweet or post this with the hashtag #AllElectricWeekend and tag @VoltaCharging to get automatically entered to win a weekend in a Tesla.

Here’s Why:

Awesome Acceleration

Why do EV drivers love their cars so much? Well for one thing, electric motors deliver instantaneous acceleration in a way that internal combustion engines simply can’t. Electric cars are just more fun to drive. Tesla’s seven-seater luxury sedan hits 0-60 faster than any road-legal supercar ever built. And luckily for those of us who don’t have 70-grand+ to drop on a car, all the other EVs on the top-10 bestseller list have zippier acceleration than comparable gas cars. Drop a Chevy Volt into “sport mode” or try out any pure EV for some serious snap. It has more torque in the base model configuration than the 2018 Dodge Charger.

Great Handling

Many electric vehicles are built on the “skateboard” platform that puts the heavier battery at the base of the car, lowering the center of gravity and making corners and curving roads a whole lot of fun. Test drive a Nissan LEAF, Chevy Bolt EV or any type of Tesla to experience it for yourself.

Silent Ride

You haven’t experienced Highway 1 down the stunning California coast until you’ve done it in an EV. Gliding through the curves and gazing out at the stunning view with only the distant calls of seabirds overhead to break the hypnotizing, peaceful meditation is a memory like no other. After getting used to the silent, gliding stealth ride of an EV, even the quietest gas cars suddenly feel obnoxiously loud.

Super Savings

It’s cheaper to drive on electricity than gas in all 50 states. A recent Forbes article notes that “the average cost to operate an EV in the United States is $485 per year, while the average for a gasoline-powered vehicle is $1,117” and that electric cars are cheaper to maintain because they “have fewer moving parts, no exhaust system, less need for cooling, less abrasive braking options, and no need to change ‘oil, fan belts, air filters, timing belts, head gaskets, cylinder heads and spark plugs.’” Cha-ching!

Oh, Yeah, and They’re Green

Over the last several years, all US states have been cleaning up their electrical grids. Not always for sustainability reasons, but simply because natural gas and renewable energy sources have become so much cheaper. Plain old economics. In fact, despite political rhetoric to the contrary, more coal plants were shut down in the first two months of 2018 than in the first three years of the Obama administration combined.

Thanks to these economic trends, it’s now cleaner to drive an electric car than a gas car in every single state from West Virginia to California

It’s time to try an EV for yourself! Win an Weekend in an EV by posting with the hashtag #AllElectricWeekend and tagging @VoltaCharging. Start off with a pledge to go electric on  Twitter!

Publicly posted entries on Facebook and Instagram count, too. Good luck!

Prize DeliveryA cash prize to the winner for the cost of renting an electric vehicle via turo.com for two consecutive days, up to $200 per dayThe winner must have a valid driver’s license and free turo.com account. No other prize substitution permitted except at Sponsor’s discretion. The prize is nontransferable. Any and all prize related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes shall be the sole responsibility of the winner. For full contest rules, terms and conditions please click here.

Switching to an EV Is the Top Climate Action in These 15 States

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By Ry Storey-Fisher

Volta Charging Stations electric vehicles tesla model x fiat 500e

Forbes recently reported that driving an EV is “far cleaner than driving on gas,” no matter where in the U.S. you plug in. But just how much does it matter to the climate?  We wanted to investigate which purchase decision has the SINGLE biggest positive climate impact. Many might guess that switching a home to 100% renewable energy takes the top spot, but it turns out that switching from a gas to electric car the single biggest climate action you can take in 15 states.

The Single Best Action to Take Depends on Where Your Live

The three biggest sources of climate-disrupting greenhouse gas emissions are transportation, building energy use, and agriculture. That means the three biggest climate actions an individual can take are typically to clean up their vehicle fuel, home energy source, or diet.

While carbon emissions related to food production consistently account for less than 10% of the average American household’s carbon footprint, home energy and transportation each come in around 20-40%, depending on the state. Choosing a cleaner car or cleaner home energy source is almost always the most effective climate purchase a household can make. Which is best? It depends on how dirty your state’s electrical grid is in the first place.

Average household carbon footprint distribution in a state that drives more than the national average but has a very clean electrical grid (California) versus a state that starts out with greener driving habits but has a dirtier electrical grid (Illinois). Source: UC Berkeley CoolClimate Lab

It’s Already Cleaner to Drive Electric than Gas in All 50 States–Even Better than Going Solar in Some

For decades, electrical grids were run almost exclusively on high-carbon fossil fuels such as coal. Dirty electricity grids mean that every time you plugged in–whether it’s your fridge, air conditioner, or electric car–lots of carbon dioxide got released into the atmosphere. In recent decades, US electricity grids have gotten cleaner in practically every state. Increasingly clean electricity sources mean that electric cars emit far less than their gas-guzzling counterparts. From West Virginia to California to Idaho, each electric car saves thousands of pounds of CO2 per year.

In 15 states, switching from a gas car to an EV results in greater emissions reductions than powering 100% of your home electricity needs with solar panels, making it the #1 climate purchase decision in those states. Not coincidentally, these states have some of the country’s cleanest electricity grids. In California, switching from a gas to electric car is more than three times better for the climate than switching 100% of home energy from the grid to home solar panels.

EVs to Become Top Climate Action for 78% of All US Citizens by 2040

As electricity grids draw increasingly from renewable sources in the coming decades–the US Department of Energy estimates that the carbon intensity of electricity will decrease 34% by 2040–electric vehicles will become the top climate action in more and more states. With these trends, choosing an EV will become the top climate action in half of all states by the early 2020s. By 2040, EVs are expected to be the top climate action in 37 states, encompassing 78% of the US population.

U.S. Electricity To Keep Getting Cleaner Over Time

us power sector emissions grids getting cleaner graph

US electricity has become cleaner over time, and is predicted to continue to reduce in carbon intensity. Source: US Department of Energy

Here are the states where choosing an EV is already the single best climate action an individual can take:
Alaska, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington

15 States Where Getting an Electric Car Is the #1 Climate Action

EV Advantage Rank State EV Climate Impact Solar Climate Impact EV Advantage
(lbs CO2e  saved/ yr) (lbs CO2e saved / yr) (lbs CO2e saved/ yr)
1 Vermont 11,473 0 11,473
2 Idaho 12,514 627 11,887
3 Maine 11,678 1,728 9,950
4 Washington 10,200 1,527 8,673
5 Oregon 10,805 2,386 8,419
6 New Hampshire 9,688 2,116 7,572
7 California 10,110 3,038 7,073
8 New York 8,422 3,079 5,343
9 New Jersey 8,350 3,847 4,503
10 Connecticut 8,178 3,802 4,376
11 South Dakota 10,561 6,241 4,320
12 Rhode Island 7,717 5,633 2,084
13 South Carolina 10,386 8,942 1,444
14 Massachusetts 7,093 5,772 1,322
15 Alaska 6,030 5,561 469

And here are the additional states where choosing an EV will be the top climate action by 2040: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin. Of course — getting solar AND an electric car is the ideal “green dream” scenario, but given limited resources it can be helpful to understand how these two investments compate environmentally.

An Electric Car Bought Today Will Get Cleaner Every Year

It’s important to remember that an electric car is still far cleaner than driving on gas in every state. It’s also extremely important to note that any gas car that is purchased today will cause the same high level of pollution per mile for its entire lifetime. As this study shows, an electric car purchased today will become cleaner every year as the US transitions to cleaner electricity grids. There’s never been a better time to go electric.



Methodology: Using state-by-state data on home electricity use, average miles driven per year, and the carbon intensity of each state’s electricity grids, we calculated the relative benefits of switching 100% of average electricity use to home solar panels and compared that to the environmental benefit of switching from the average gas vehicle to an electric vehicle for the average person in each state. The analysis accounted for lifecycle emissions for producing solar panels as well as lifecycle emissions for producing the electricity used to charge EVs in each state.

Celebrating a Million Free Miles a Month

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Volta Charging Station Electric Vehicle EV Sponsored

With the help of our site partners, media sponsors and drivers, the Volta network delivered over a million free, electric miles in one month for the first time in January 2018. Drivers soaked up over 1,026,000 free e-miles while shopping, dining, and enjoying themselves at Volta site partner locations. That’s enough free miles to drive 41 times around the planet with zero tailpipe emissions.

Like the larger trend of EV adoption, benefits from the Volta network will only keep accelerating. Volta’s unique business model has propelled over 100% average network growth rate since 2012 with plans to add more stations than ever in 2018.

EV Adoption Is a Win-Win-Win for Retail, Brands & Communities

Site partners win because EV drivers reward their forward-thinking support by spending hundreds of thousands of hours each year at grocery stores, cinemas, shopping centers and event venues in the Volta network. The Volta team is able to provide hardware, installation, maintenance and operation at no cost to sites thanks to media sponsors that power these free amenities for local communities.

Volta Customer Feedback Charging Station EV Sponsorship

Brands that choose to sponsor Volta stations win because it just so happens that the most convenient places to charge also happen to be the best place to share their message: front-and-center at the busiest shopping and entertainment destinations in each region. The ideal placement and fact that consumers increasingly choose brands that stand up for important social issues make Volta sponsorship a powerful way to connect. When a brand can communicate its message alongside doing something positive for the community or the environment, it only makes the bond with consumers stronger. We each know that we vote with our wallet, and we want to vote for brands that are making a difference.

The most valuable “win” for the Volta team is the benefit to bring to local communities. Hundreds of thousands of EV drivers benefit by charging up to 60 free miles while doing errands or visiting their favorite destinations. Millions more benefit from the improved air quality as countless vehicle trips through neighborhoods, past schools and by offices are made without emitting a single drop of tailpipe pollution. That’s fantastic news, especially given that tailpipe emissions can be as harmful as secondhand smoke to children.

Each person who chooses to drive an EV and chooses to support retailers in the Volta network is actively driving a virtuous cycle to help us grow and deliver free electric miles will all the associated benefits to more communities across the country. We love to hear driver’s experience with going electric and charging at Volta stations. Join other EV drivers in leting us know where you love to shop and charge with Volta (or where you’d like to see more stations!) on our Facebook page.