Fueling EVs require a paradigm shift on how we view transportation, buildings and energy. It is a departure from the traditional combustion vehicle gas station model. Electricity access is ubiquitous and any electric outlet is a potential fueling station. However, modern long-range light, medium and heavy-duty EVs often require specific EV charging stations with hardware and software to meet changing needs. The perceived lack of charging stations is cited as one of the top barriers to purchase of electric vehicles. 

Each EV use case (such as public vs fleet, light-duty vs heavy-duty, long-range vs short trips) requires a different charging infrastructure approach. Thus, planning for and implementing EV charging stations requires addressing unique use case needs and removing barriers. 

Local governments can install and own EV charging equipment and adopt policies to encourage private investment in fleet, workplace, and public charging infrastructure.​ The following are key considerations for local governments that are looking to support electric vehicle charging infrastructure deployment.



Determine the amount of charging needed is the from the Alternative Fuels Data Center, U.S. Department of Energy.

  • A. Applications of City/County-Owned Charging Infrastructure

    1. Fleet Charging for City/County Vehicles

    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.



    2. Workplace Charging for City and 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.




    3. Community Charging 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.


    Some local governments have used VW Settlement funding to offset the cost of charging infrastructure. 


    4. Permit Curbside Charger Installation in Public Right of Way

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



    Learn more about the different levels of charging infrastructure and the different applications. 

    5.  Streetlight and Power Pole Charging Access

    Cities can use the electricity already wired for LED converted lightposts to easily allow for EV charging. There are devices which can retrofit a light post in a cost-effective manner to allow for charging of the electricity.



    Los Angeles, CA


  • B. Policies to Enable Private Sector Charging Infrastructure Deployment

    1. EV-Readiness Policies

    EV-readiness policy requires a percentage of parking spaces built to include electrical infrastructure that enables future EV charging. Requiring EV infrastructure to be planned for at the time of new construction is one of the most impactful, cost-effective actions a city can take to facilitate the adoption of  EVs. It dramatically reduces the cost to install infrastructure post construction.

    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. Most cities focus policies on zoning ordinances and land use modifications as opposed to building codes.


    Example EV Ready Policies:


    There are different tiers of EV-ready policy. EV Capable means installing enough electrical capacity at the panel to support future EV parking spots and raceway to the parking spots. EV Ready includes all the components of EV capable plus adds in a requirement for wiring and a junction box or 240 outlet. Learn more about the differences between EV capable, EV ready and EV service equipment installed policies.


    2. Multi-Unit Dwelling Charger Support and Incentives

    The vast majority (80%) of EV charging takes place at home.  For the roughly 26% of Americans 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. 



    • Florida State Statute protects condo owners from prohibitive rules by Homeowner Associations regarding installing a charging station in their common element parking area. 

    • Virginia Statute states no association shall prohibit any lot owner from installing an electric vehicle charging station for the lot owner's personal use on property owned by the lot owner.

    • US Department of Energy Charging at Home

    3. 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.



    • City of Chicago, IL Online Permitting Process

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


    4. 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. 



    5. City/County 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.



    6. Enable 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. The availability of workplace charging is the third most significant driver of electric vehicle adoption behind vehicle model availability and public direct-current fast charging.




  • C. Best Practices to Support Charging Infrastructure

    1. Ensure Interoperability and Open Standards

    Primarily, interoperability refers to the ability for EV charging station network companies to use standard communications to allow charging stations to connect to multiple open networks. Open networks use standard communications to allow the owners of compliant charging stations to choose from multiple open networks. This allows owners of charging stations to choose from and switch between different open standards–based networking providers on the same piece of hardware without the need for significant upgrades to existing hardware.


    Open Charge Point Protocols (OCPP) are the internationally recognized 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. 


    Interoperability and open standards 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.   



    2. Pair Charging Infrastructure 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. EV chargers paired with solar and battery storage can also provide off-grid charging where grid interconnection is an issue. 



    3. 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 and Colorado 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.




    4. Standardize Way-finding 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 way-finding 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.


    5. Incorporate 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.



Go Deeper

VW Settlement

States different agencies are responsible for development of mitigation plan and dispersement of funds. 

Types of Infrastructure

There are three different charging options and they mostly vary by the speed at which they charge the vehicle. Additionally, charging infrastructure can be networked or non-networked. Learn more about charging infrastructure by clicking below.

EV Ready

EV ready policies  ensure that buildings permitted today are prepared to support the electrification of transportation. EV make-ready policies require new structures to have the conduit and wiring in place to accommodate incremental additions of EV chargers later on.

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© 2021 Electrify the South is a program of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy that leverages research, advocacy, and outreach to accelerate the equitable transition to clean energy-powered electric transportation throughout the Southeast.