Vehicle electrification policies set criteria for the minimum number of electric vehicles that must be on the road in a given year. Electrification policies should include interim targets, with a steady increase leading to the desired final year value. Because electric vehicles are still an emerging technology, vehicle electrification policies are often coupled with rebates or other incentives to encourage consumers to invest in the often more expensive electric vehicle.

The effectiveness of vehicle electrification policies in reducing GHG emissions depends heavily on the composition of the electricity grid. In areas where the electric grid is made up primarily of fossil fuel sources, increased vehicle electrification can actually increase GHG emissions relative to the status quo. Therefore, careful analysis is needed before implementing vehicle electrification policies. However, vehicle electrification will be important for meeting long-term goals for emissions reductions.

For passenger heavy duty vehicles (HDVs), these policies can either require a minimum proportion of the fleet be electrified, or can require that cities invest in infrastructure to electrify the bus fleet. For example, trolleybuses, which are common in many cities, draw power from electric lines place over streets. Because individual heavy duty vehicles are harder to electrify given their power and weight requirements, it may be necessary to have this infrastructure in place prior to achieving high levels of vehicle electrification.