Cities Charging Ahead!

Cities Charging Ahead! (CCA) was two peer cohorts of Minnesota tribal nations and cities that worked to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) adoption between 2018 and 2021.

The cohorts engaged around three main topics areas: electrifying fleets, installing charging infrastructure, and EV readiness. Cohort participants received education, technical assistance, and peer support around these topics.

CCA was led by the Great Plains Institute and Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs). Funding was provided through the Carolyn Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Energy Foundation, Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Division of Energy Resources, and Xcel Energy.

On this page, you can access some of the key tools and resources that resulted from the two cohorts. This includes tools aimed at educating and engaging communities as well as decision-making tools.

The first cohort had 28 participants consisting of one tribal nation and 27 cities. The second cohort had 30 participants, with two tribal nations, 14 returning cities, and 14 additional cities. The map below shows the locations of participating tribal nations and cities.

A map of cities and tribal nations that participated in Cities Charging Ahead! cohorts

City Resource Database

Peer support was an essential aspect of the CCA cohorts. To facilitate peer-to-peer interaction beyond CCA, the City Resource Database was developed. The database compiles CCA’s participants, their actions towards EV readiness, and contact information in a single location. Suggested uses for this database:

  • Contacting a city that has purchased an EV model that your community is considering to ask questions about its performance and use.
  • Reaching out to all CCA participants who use the same charging provider to gain insight about their experiences.
  • Evaluating how many tribal nations and cities charge for the use of public charging stations to determine if that option is right for your community.

Access the City Resource Database →


Tribal nation and city participants used the information and resources from CCA to move forward on their EV journeys:

Over 13 CCA participants conducted fleet analyses to determine which vehicles were ideal for converting to EVs and to identify EVs to add to their fleet. Another five CCA participants have plans to conduct fleet analyses. As a result of their CCA participation, many of these cities were connected to electric utility resources and funding for these studies.

Over 14 participants have added at least one plug-in EV to their fleet (several have two or more!) for a total of 27, with 9 participants planning to purchase 16+ EVs! The City of Eden Prairie even added an EV to their public safety fleet.

CCA participants have installed 58 chargers! Of those chargers, seven are direct current fast chargers, and more than 19 participants have added at least one Level 2 charger. At least 10 communities have plans to install charging stations, and many plan to install multiple chargers.

Eleven cities accomplished or are working towards implementing development guidelines for EV charging infrastructure for private development in a variety of ways. Many others are exploring this option as it may be the best lever a city has to increase EV charging infrastructure in their footprint.

Tribal nations and cities were charging ahead into 2020 with big plans to continue their EV journey when the pandemic hit and priorities turned to health and other obstacles, such as financial losses. The supply chain also caused issues for accessing EVs and charging infrastructure. In late 2021 we saw an increase in EV events, purchases, and announcements of future purchasing intentions that signaled the market was moving again.


Throughout CCA, the Great Plains Institute and CERTs produced many resources designed to help local governments educate their communities about EVs and reasons to electrify transportation. These resources included items like a customizable slide deck with more than 100 slides of EV information to educate a variety of audiences, messaging handouts that dispel common EV myths and perceived barriers, a social media guide, content for local government websites, access to stock photos, and more. Access these educational EV resources →

Additionally, below are case studies and webinars that were produced as a result of the CCA cohorts.

Case Studies

One of the most prolific aspects of the Cities Charging Ahead effort was the ability of the participating cities to share and collaborate with one another on different projects. Great Plains Institute investigated some of the more ambitious and creative projects completed during the CCA effort and wrote case studies detailing the projects and what made them so successful and innovative. Each of the studies below tells the story of a real action taken during the CCA effort by a participating city. 

  • The Red Wing DC Fast Charger: Businesses in the City of Red Wing, MN were a prime example of the forward-thinking needed to accelerate the adoption of EV infrastructure. Read about Red Wing’s experience and get some tips about how to implement something similar in your community.
  • DC Fast Charger Collaboration Along Minnesota’s North Shore: The draw of a popular tourist destination and an enterprising partnership created a win-win situation for EV drivers and Minnesota communities from the Twin Cities to the Canadian border. Learn how city-utility collaborations can make these projects feasible.
  • Capital Improvement through Charging Stations in Edina: The City of Edina approved spending $25,000 on charging stations in its 2019 capital improvement plan and installed its first station along 50th and France. Learn about the city’s decision-making process on where to add charging stations in the community, lessons learned, and advice for other cities.
  • EVs in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota: A series of interviews with staff of Minnesota cities that are transitioning fleet vehicles to EVs. Cities interested in EVs can learn from experiences of these cities including Carver, Eden Prairie, Faribault, and Woodbury 

Recorded Webinars

CCA presented 16 webinars over the course of the two cohorts. These webinars are available to watch by following the link to the CCA playlist on the Great Plains Institute’s YouTube channel.

A recording of the Electric Vehicle Bootcamp is available below. This recording provides a high-level overview of the main topics covered in both cohorts. It is a great summary of what is important to know for accelerating EV adoption! The topics covered include an overview of charging and charging stations, fleet electrification, and EV readiness. Each section’s duration and the minute markers of when they begin and end are listed for convenience.

  • Overview of Charging and Charging Stations
    • Duration: 30 minutes
    • This section starts at minute marker 2:52 and lasts until 31:02
  • Fleet Overview:
    • Duration: 17 minutes
    • This section starts at minute marker 33:02 and lasts until 49:21
  • EV Readiness:
    • Duration: 20 minutes
    • This section starts at minute marker 51:43 and lasts until 1:11:15

Still Need Help?

We hope you find the tools and resources resulting from the CCA cohorts useful at whatever stage of your EV journey. Reach out to Drive Electric Minnesota if you have questions about any of the resources provided on this page! You can also sign up for the Drive Electric Minnesota newsletter, where we communicate the latest Minnesota-related EV news and information.