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IV. PROMOTE EV CHARGING ACCESS
AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Electric driving requires a paradigm shift in how we fuel our vehicles as fueling can take place at home, in the community or along our highways. People’s perceived lack of visible charging stations is cited as one of the top barriers that contribute toward car buyers not purchasing electric vehicles. Thus, designing and planning charging systems will require addressing unique needs and removing barriers that local leaders are in a position to help with. Local governments can install and own EV charging equipment and adopt policies to encourage private investment in charging infrastructure. One useful tool to help determine the amount of charging needed is the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Projection Tool (EVI-Pro) Lite, from the Alternative Fuels Data Center, U.S. Department of Energy. Additionally, the cost of installing chargers may be reduced by leveraging funds available for charging equipment from the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement fund.

A.  EV-Make-Ready Policies

EV make-ready policies ensure that buildings permitted today are prepared to support the electrification of transportation. EV make-ready policies require new homes, buildings, and parking structures to have the conduit and wiring in place to accommodate incremental additions of EV chargers later on. It does not require  builders to instal the charging stations now. It is more cost effective  to add these features during initial construction or during a major building upgrade rather than retrofitting existing buildings and parking lots when the need for EV chargers arises. 


One study found retrofitting costs for EV chargers, such as expanded electrical panels, raceways and prewiring, are as high as  $3,550 per space compared to around $900 for new construction. The cost to prewire homes is even less. The International Code Council adopted EV ready standards for commercial and residential buildings, however, Florida recently failed to adopt state-wide building codes to require EV make-ready, leaving it to municipalities to implement EV make-ready policies. Nationwide, cities have passed EV make-ready policies requiring between  10% and 20% of new commercial parking spaces be prepared for the installation of Level II charging with 208 Volts/40 Amps or 240 Volts/40 Amps. Most cities focus policies on zoning ordinances and land use modifications as opposed to building codes. Summary of Best Practices in Electric Vehicle Ordinances from the Great Plains Institute is a guide to EV and EV charger ordinances in the US.

 

Examples: 

B.  Multi-Unit Dwelling Charger Support and Incentives

The vast majority (80%) of EV charging takes place at home. For the roughly 30% of Floridians that live in multi-unit dwellings (MUDs) like apartment buildings and condos, the majority  do not have a power outlet accessible necessary for home charging. As noted in the previous section, it is cost-prohibitive to install the infrastructure post-construction (pricing referenced above), with the result that  most MUD residents are denied the benefits of home charging . This underscores the importance of a city or county taking make-ready policies to ensure equity and accessibility for all community members. When new MUD projects are being considered, installation of shared charging equipment at MUD developments should be required or encouraged. 

 

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C. Streamlined Charger Permitting Process​​

Cities and counties can make the permitting approval process easier for the installation of EV chargers with strategies such as one-day turnaround, online design review services, and expedited inspection for EV charger permits.

 

Examples:

  • City of Chicago, IL Online Permitting Process

  • Many cities in California--from small to large--, pursuant to Assembly Bill 1236 (i.e. Burbank, CA)

 

For some cities, Reduce/Waive Permitting Fees for Charging Infrastructure

Cities and counties can reduce the cost of installation of charging by waiving the permitting fees for installation of charging equipment. 

 

Example:

D. City Charging Station Installation Guidelines and Best Practices

Cities and counties can clear up any confusion around how to go about installing EV charging equipment by providing clear expectations to stakeholders such as step-by-step instructions or installation guidelines. The city/county can maintain hard copies of the resources and digital copies on their website for installation at different types of sites.

 

Examples:​

E. Workplace Charging For City & County Employees

Workplace charging is one way to encourage and support employees who drive electric. It extends their all-electric driving range, enabling those with long commutes or those who lack home charging to drive electric. According to the Department of Energy, an employee with access to workplace charging is six times more likely to drive electric than the average worker. It can attract visitors as well. It can be free or have a subscription fee. Additionally, daytime charging can easily take advantage of low-cost, environmentally friendly solar power.

 

Examples:

F. Workplace Charging for Private Sector Employees

Encouraging workplace charging in your community is another way to build infrastructure. When new projects are being considered for permitting, encourage the property/business owner to consider installing workplace charging.

 

Examples:

G. Public Charging Stations on Public Property

Cities can spur EV adoption in the community by providing public access to EV charging stations. There are examples of both free and pay-to-charge systems.

Examples: 

H. City-Owned Fleet Charging Stations 

Some cities install charging stations to support their fleets’ electrification specifically and do not designate them for public use. This ensures the stations are always available for their use.

Example:

I. Permit Curbside Charger Installation in Public Right of Way

A challenge for some businesses and residences is lacking off-street parking at which to install a charging station. Some cities have addressed this issue by permitting installation of curbside EV chargers.

 

Examples:

J. Pair EV Charging Stations with Renewables

Several companies offer solar canopies to generate the power for charging stations. Solar canopies have the additional benefit of providing an attractive, shady parking place so cars are sheltered from the sun. Battery backup systems can be added to solar canopies co-located at critical facilities such as water treatment plants or hospitals.

 

Example:

K. Free Up Access to Chargers with  Instructional Signage and Code Enforcement

One challenge for public EV charging is that access to chargers can be  blocked by non-EVs or EVs that are not actively charging. Local governments can discourage this from happening by ensuring adequate instructional signage that only actively-charging EVs (determined by whether or not they are plugged in) should be parked in those spots. Some states, such as Florida, outlaw non-EVs from parking in EV-designated spaces, but local enforcement may not happen. Enforcement can be encouraged and in states without such legislation, it can be added to code.

Examples:

L. Wayfinding Signs for Drivers to Locate Chargers

Many potential EV drivers fear not being able to find public charging when they may need it. Local governments can help increase visibility of the availability of EV chargers and also help EV drivers better utilize existing EV chargers by providing wayfinding signs on the street for public charging stations. Additionally, EV charging locations can be made highly visible with signposts and painted parking spots. Efforts by the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition are underway to get Florida highways designated as “Alternative Fuel Corridors” by the Federal Highway Administration. Local governments can support these efforts for the economic benefit of attracting EVs to local businesses or downtown areas offering charging stations.

M. Interoperability and Open Charge Point Protocols

Open Charge Point Protocols (OCPP) are the international standards established by the Open Charge Alliance. These standards are intended to ensure interoperability between the main components of EV charging;

  •  the vehicles, 

  • charging infrastructure, 

  • charging software, 

  • and the electric grid. 

These components need standardization to provide reliable charging experiences and long term flexibility as vehicles, charging infrastructure and charging software evolve overtime. Thus, OCPP compliance is often a requirement of EV charger grant and rebate programs.  Electric Power Research Institute paper Interoperability of Public Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure details the issue.

N. Resilience Planning

It is important to incorporate electric transportation in resilience planning for 3 primary reasons: 

  1. Adequate charging infrastructure needs to be deployed along evacuation routes to ensure that personal and fleet EVs can evacuate safely;

  2. First responder and essential service EVs need access to charging infrastructure backed-up by battery storage to ensure accessibility during power outages (such installations can also serve as emergency charging hubs for communications and other electronic devices); 

  3. With the proper charging technology and building electrical system integration, stored energy in fleet EVs, especially medium and heavy duty vehicles such as transit and school buses, can be used to power essential services such as shelters.