Webinar: Community Charging Models
April 25, 2023
The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office) hosted a webinar on community charging. The purpose was to inform on key considerations of community charging models and how electric vehicle (EV) charging can meet community needs and support equitable and widespread EV adoption.
- Sarah Cardinali, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
- Alexander Epstein, PhD, U.S. DOT Volpe Center
- Lisa Thurstin, American Lung Association, Minnesota Clean Cities Coalition
- Jason Wager, Centralina Regional Council, Centralina Clean Cities Coalition
- Hannah Morrison, Portland Bureau of Transportation
- Andrew Dick, Electrify America.
Lessons learned from these projects can help identify best practices for communities pursuing electrification, including strategies for improving the equitable distribution of project benefits, stakeholder engagement, site selection factors, and permitting and policy considerations that could impact the project. Audience members left the webinar with a better understanding of best practices for planning for and implementing community charging models.
- Publicly accessible community charging options are important, particularly to meet the needs of low-income households that primarily live in multifamily housing (MFH) or rent single family homes.
- Four high-level community charging models include:
- Curbside Charging: This model refers to charging on the side of a road or sidewalk. Additional definitions that fall into this category of charging include public right-of-way charging—a charger located in a place owned by a government entity (i.e., highway, street, alley, and sidewalks) —and streetlight or pole charging—a charger located on the side of the road or sidewalk attached to a streetlight or pole.
- EV Car Share: This model includes short-term rentals that can enable access to EVs, creating awareness of the benefits across communities. Car sharing may include options for round-trip, one-way, or one-way floating return locations, allowing for flexibility depending on user needs.
- EV Mobility Hubs: These hubs allow for charging multiple vehicles and modes of transportation at one singular spot. Due to the need to accommodate a variety of modes, it is critical to carefully select the site and work closely with the utility to ensure that there is sufficient power.
- EV Charging at MFH: When installing EV charging at MFH, it is critical to determine who will own, insure, and be responsible for operations and maintenance for the infrastructure. Building owners can be good candidates for this role. If implementing EV car sharing at MFH, similarly, it is important to consider who will own/lease, insure, clean, and maintain the vehicles.
- MFH charging is going to be most relevant in urban and suburban areas. The more that existing infrastructure can be adapted or reused, the more potential there is to pass on the savings to the user.
- It is important to have a good plan to begin with, allowing for more adaptability as the project progresses.
- New policies should prioritize stakeholder engagement, meeting people where they are and bringing them along with you.
- From the top down and bottom up, it is critical to involve the community. Local governments will need to ask themselves what role they plan or want to play in the deployment of EV charging, particularly with EV charging in public rights-of-way or in other public locations.
- Electrify America is paying close attention to the research of organizations, like the UCLA Luskin Center. Their research found that in California, where there is a robust used vehicle market and a significant number of residents in MFH adopting EVs, people in MFH rely on public DC fast charging at about three times the rate of single-family homeowners as their primary means of charging.
- U.S. Department of Energy Previously Funded Community Charging Projects
- DriveElectric.gov Technical Assistance and Resources for States and Communities
- Vehicle Charging Innovations for Multi-Unit Dwellings (VCI-MUD): Project Toolkit
- Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions for Multifamily Housing Market Scan from the U.S. DOT Volpe Center
- Charging Forward: a Toolkit for Planning and Funding Urban Electric Mobility Infrastructure
- Charging Forward: a Toolkit for Planning and Funding Rural