How Cities Can Promote the Use of Electric Vehicles

By August 2, 2017 Blog
Drawing of charging stations in front of solar panels and windmills

Electric vehicles (EVs) are a supremely valuable resource for communities and the residents that live in them. EVs emit zero air pollution, are quiet, and have a very significantly reduce carbon footprint — even when considering how the electricity used to power them is generated.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has developed a list of action items that cities and community residents can utilize to further enjoy the benefits of electric vehicles, and to support residents who invest in “clean car” options. Citizens and government leaders alike can prepare for EVs and their supporting charging stations by considering these best practices for amending local regulations to be more electric car-friendly.

Know the history in your area. The U.S. Department of Energy funded 16 EV community readiness projects for public-private partnerships to work together on plans to enhance EVs in 2011. New York State joined the Northeast Vehicle Network project that created best practice document on building and electrical codes, local policy making, and site design. Find out what your city has done to enhance clean energy and clean air.

Learn that different types of charging stations are appropriate for various public settings. Understanding the charging level and the number of charging stations which would be necessary to support various locations based on estimated electric vehicle-usage is very important. The number and type of EVs in a certain community help determine the amount and the type of charging station the EV charging infrastructure would need. For more information on learning about the type of charging stations, reach out to EV Connect which can provide more information about your specific site’s charging program needs.

Take advantage of permitting practices and municipal codes to boost use of charging stations. Consistent and easy-to-understand residential charging station permitting processes can help operating an electric car much simpler for residents and visitors of a community. National electrical and building codes don’t prevent nor enable the installation of charging stations, but, on a municipal level, the creation of certain provisions in local codes has successfully encouraged, and in some cases, discouraged EV-preparedness and usability.

Think about EV drivers, charging costs, and the general public when installing charging stations. EV charge station hosts are in charge of the design and siting of public charging stations, but cities can boost compliance with industry best practices. NYSERDA outlines examples of best practices as a resource for local governments to share with charging station hosts while they plan their installations.

Encourage availability of charging stations. Proper signage at charging station spaces, plus the enforcement of parking restrictions by conventional gasoline-powered vehicles in charging station spots, will help maintain the access and contentment of EV drivers. Nothing is more frustrating for an electric car-owner than to find a charging station, only to see that regular vehicles are parked in the charging spots. Signage and enforcement of parking laws enable EV drivers to efficiently and easily use the charging resources made available to them.

Discuss EV charging stations in transportation planning meetings. Cities can address the shifting automobile market in transportation planning discussions to successfully prepare for future local transportation needs and desires. Stakeholders in the discussion might include local workplaces, utilities, car dealerships, retailers, and, of course, EV drivers. Get involved in your city’s “clean” coalition to take part in these discussions.


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