Estimating job creation benefits for EV charging infrastructure projects

Written by: Suzanne Williams for Argonne National Laboratory


When the Mid-Atlantic Electrification Partnership set out to create a regional electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem in Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and West Virginia in 2021, its members knew that success would require plenty of analysis and promotion of project benefits.

Potential backers of sustainable infrastructure projects need to know the expected return on investment (ROI), because although everyone benefits from improved air quality, that alone may not convince policymakers to commit public funds. Projections for job creation and economic development are critical to advancing public support and financial investment.

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Recognizing the need to acquire hard data reflecting the potential benefits of installing EV charging infrastructure, Virginia Clean Cities Executive Director Alleyn Harned turned to Argonne National Laboratory, a project partner, for assistance.

Argonne’s JOBS models calculate estimated economic impacts of alternative transportation energy projects based on anticipated dollar flows by examining products and services bought and sold, employment, earnings and economic output. The newest tool in the JOBS model family, JOBS EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment), helped Harned determine the job-creation potential of installing EV charging stations at homes, workplaces and public spaces.

The current electrification project covers the first ten years of Virginia’s three-decade effort to fully electrify the state’s vehicle ecosystem. Consequently, Harned’s modest assumptions for the JOBS EVSE analysis represented achieving only a third of the long-term goal. They included annual installations of 148,000 Level 2 home chargers for ten years; 16,881 Level 2 workplace chargers for ten years; 10,733 Level 2 public space chargers for ten years; and 1,201 DC fast chargers for ten years.

The potential impact that JOBS EVSE calculated for the EV charging station installation project impressed Harned.

“The job creation numbers were really surprising, and it was especially cool that JOBS EVSE could differentiate between a wide variety of job inputs that included categories like marketing and advertising,” he said.

The tool indicated that based on Harned’s use case assumptions, the ten-year first phase of the EV charging station installation effort would produce a net total of approximately 275,000 jobs.

Harned noted that while JOBS EVSE does not quantify outputs by job type or salary, it opens the door to a larger discussion about the value of sustainable infrastructure projects.

“The jobs created by these projects offer an opportunity to raise people and communities up and reduce our dependence on old technologies,” Harned said. “Considering that in Virginia we spend about $50 million dollars a day on imported oil, it’s really no surprise that there’s plenty of job potential here.”

Other long-term economic benefits for consideration include future jobs related to EV charging station maintenance; the opportunity to create functional apprenticeships to help people grow their job skills; the additional cash motorists would see from fuel savings (home electricity is a third the price of equivalent gasoline in this market) and vehicle upkeep savings; and the reduction of lost productivity days related to air pollution.

The Mid-Atlantic Electrification Partnership plans to publish the full results of Harned’s work with JOBS EVSE on the Virginia Clean Cities website, so others considering electrification can see the potential wide-ranging economic benefits of such efforts.

JOBS EVSE is a Microsoft Excel-based spreadsheet tool developed for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Vehicle Technologies Office that is available for free download from Argonne National Laboratory.

Argonne is a multidisciplinary science and engineering national laboratory located in Lemont, Illinois, which is run by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy.


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