News Release

Decision-makers have a new data-driven platform to spur EV adoption at least cost and time

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Caret software platform

The Center for Sustainable Energy® (CSE) is launching a dynamic, data-driven software platform to enable decision-makers to calculate the mix of incentives that will most cost-effectively and rapidly accelerate adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) to reach emission-cutting goals.

CSE, an independent nonprofit, used its deep EV and EV charging domain expertise and its decade-long experience designing and administering over $1 billion of EV and EV charging infrastructure incentive programs to develop a unique software platform, called Caret™. It allows decision-makers to plan, manage, and optimize how dollars are spent to maximize EV adoption and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction at the lowest cost and in the shortest time.

“Caret™ allows decision-makers to take their EV adoption programs for a virtual test drive. Once the incentive types, amounts and durations are entered, the platform calculates in real time the GHG reduction, program cost and EV adoption annually over time,” said CSE President Lawrence Goldenhersh. “Because transportation is the biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, to tackle climate change it is critical that we implement policy that quickly and cost-effectively electrifies light-duty vehicles.”

The Caret™ software program enables users to experiment with a variety of incentive types: new EV, used EV, dealer, made in America, original equipment manufacturer (OEM), internal combustion engine (ICE) scrap and replace, and EV charging. Users can design holistic EV incentive programs and dynamically predict program costs and results in real time.

Caret™-powered insights are built on:

  • Deep Data: The platform pulls from relevant data sets around the world and leverages CSE’s deep domain experience administering over $1 billion in EV incentive programs in six states. To date, those programs have incentivized nearly 30% of new EV sales in the United States.
  • A Learning Algorithm: Caret™ automatically adjusts incentive amounts required to meet program goals as projections are replaced by market data. This data-rich program management strategy avoids the “set it, forget it, and study it later” approach that can result in inaccurate predictions about both program costs and benefits.
  • An Affordability Calculator: Decision-makers can view available makes and models of new, used, purchased, and leased EVs that are affordable at different income levels. Real-world data informs efforts to ensure  disadvantaged communities  share equitably in the benefits of the EV transition.
  • A Proprietary Mathematical Framework: This sophisticated framework is grounded in sociotechnical transition theory and the science of diffusion of innovations. This framework allows Caret™ to account for social barriers that EV buyers face beyond price, such as limited awareness about EV technology and concerns about charging availability.

“A quantitative framework based on diffusion of innovation theory is a powerful approach to model EV adoption as we move beyond the early adopters toward more mainstream adoption,” said Yale University Associate Professor and Behavioral Economics Advisor to CSE, Kenneth Gillingham. “What motivates buyers to adopt new technologies like EVs goes well beyond just price. Leveraging this insight with data is essential to overcome the variety of barriers to EV adoption.”

EV sales have climbed as the technology has advanced and choice has expanded, and about 1.5 million EVs are on U.S. roads today. But EVs make up less than 1 percent of U.S. light-duty vehicles, and studies estimate that number needs to grow to 90% to meet climate goals.

“Caret™ leverages data, technology, advanced economic modeling, and deep EV expertise to make it easy for decision-makers to create, manage, and continuously optimize EV programs to achieve targeted results at the lowest cost and in the shortest period of time,” Goldenhersh said.

Learn more about Caret™.

About the Center for Sustainable Energy

The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is an independent nonprofit with a single mission: Decarbonize. Financially independent from donors, members, or shareholders, CSE has built a reputation as a trusted neutral party in clean energy and transportation program design. We advise governments, regulated entities and the private sector and build and run programs to expand renewable energy and clean transportation markets, improve building performance and advance energy efficiency. Learn more at

October 6 2020
Center for Sustainable Energy