Transportation Electrification Plan

Adopt a Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan at each future review that fully supports the City’s goal of 30% of vehicle transportation will be electric-powered by 2030 and a long-term goal of 80% penetration by 2040 by providing adequate substation distribution in areas of concentrated requirements and conveniently available opportunities for vehicle charging with aggressive, measurable intermediate goals. Study the tariffs necessary to fully compensate City Light for the installation of and power supply to these stations and how low-income vehicle owners can be subsidized.


Seattle adopted the Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan in Oct. 2020. At the same, the City granted City Light the authority to offer incentive programs to promote the use of electric vehicles. The plan was developed by City Light with assistance from the Rocky Mountain Institute, after a lot of community engagement. The plan lays out the principles by which City Light plans to accommodate the electrification of vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks, and buses. The plan as it stands does not have a specific level of electrification that it is either promoting or insuring it will have resources to meet, but the city has a goal of 30% electrification of all vehicles citywide by 2030 (see Resolution 31696). An earlier draft of the plan with more details is here. City Light is expected to continue working on an implementation plan, based on this strategic plan.

Washington State has one of the highest rates of electric vehicle (EV) adoption, and much of that is in Seattle. Seattle's electricity rates are relatively low, and gasoline is relatively expensive here. People here have more motivation than many places to be early adopters. Further, City Light forecasts that by reducing the ration of fixed costs to power costs,  increasing demand for electricity will reduce the cost per kilowatt hour. Seattle City Light and E3 have estimated that City Light receives a net utility benefit of about $1200 per personal EV over the vehicle's lifetime, and $120,500 for a bus or other heavy duty EV. This will decrease rates for all users, not just people with their own vehicles. 

Furthermore, we know that air pollution, much of it from gas and diesel vehicles, is responsible for poor health outcomes and premature death. Although air pollution in the Duwamish Valley is often from industry, throughout most of Seattle air pollution is mostly from gasoline- and diesel-fueled motor vehicles (except when wildfire smoke blankets the area). 

Current Policies

Now that the Transportation Electrification plan has been approved, City Light is working on an implementation plan for it. City Light and the Office of Sustainability and Environment have come out with Seattle's Clean Transportation Electrification Blueprint: Electrifying Out Transportation System. This plan sets to following goals for 2030:

The Blueprint identifies lessons learned in equitable policies, and identifies current gaps in policies and data.

City Light is in the process of building out EV Fast chargers for personal vehicles as a pilot program. Here's a map to the current, limited system. Private vendors are also installing systems, including Tesla, Volta, EVgo, SemaConnect, Blink, and others.

City Light is also working with King County Metro on recharging infrastructure to support their bus electrification program. 


Credit: Seattle City Light