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Webinar: Community Charging Models (Text Version)

This is a text version of Webinar: Community Charging Models, presented on April 25, 2023.

Bridget Gilmore, Joint Office of Energy and Transportation: Really grateful you can join us today. Great. Thank you all so much for joining us today. We will get started in just a couple of minutes. Let folks enter the Zoom room.

Thanks so much for joining us. We'll get started in just a couple more minutes. Thanks so much for being here.

All right, I won't belabor the point too long. I see that there are a lot of people already on. Thank you all so much for joining us today for our weekly webinar series from the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation.

Today's topic is on community charging models. So just a few tips and tricks for Zoom, and I'll go through a bit of background from the Joint Office. So for folks who have been joining us each week, thank you so much for being here and bearing with me as I do this.

For the Zoom room, the controls are located at the bottom of your screen, so you can toggle your cursor and find that Q&A function. That's where you can direct your questions today. This allows the panelists to directly respond to you. So please do put your questions through using that function. As a quick disclaimer, this webinar is being recorded and may be posted on the Joint Office website or used internally. So if you speak during the webinar or use your video, you are presumed to consent to recording and use of your voice or image.

By way of agenda, we will start off with a quick introduction from the Joint Office, then go into a brief presentation from NREL on community charging, and then we'll hear from folks at Volpe, who will go over some EV charging for multifamily housing use cases, and then we have a great panel, so that will really be where the portion of - the largest portion of today's webinar will take place. We'll have folks from Minnesota Clean Cities Coalition, Centralina Clean Cities Coalition, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Electrify America, and the Volpe Center.

So just for folks who may not be aware of the Joint Office, we're still a relatively new office. We're a joint effort between both the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation. Our mission is to accelerate an electrified transportation system that is affordable, convenient, equitable, reliable, and safe. And our vision is to see a future where everyone can ride and drive electric come into reality.

So we are really focused on four BIL programs, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs. The first of which is the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program. This is known as NEVI, and it's fast charging along the major highway corridors in the U.S.

And then the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program is a program that's currently open. The funding opportunity closes on May 30. But these are grants for community and corridor EV charging as well as alternative fueling infrastructure. And then we are also supporting the Low-No Emissions Grants Program for clean transit bus deployment and the Clean School Bus Program in support of clean school bus deployment. And the notice of funding opportunity actually just opened yesterday for this year's round of funding - $400 million open until August 22nd.

So in terms of technical assistance, we are here to provide specialized assistance for states, communities, tribal nations, transit agencies, and school districts. We conduct one-on-one meetings with folks for the NEVI Program, answering any questions and concerns. We have a great concierge service.

So do please feel free to reach out. And you can officially have your request routed based on your inquiry type. And we have over 50 staff members who are supporting us in providing this technical assistance.

Our main house, our main hub for information is This is our website that has lots of great information, data and tools, and news and events. And this is where you can find our technical assistance request form.

It looks like this. It's in the top-right corner of our website. You can reach out. And across the website, you can also subscribe to different news alerts, find out when new resources are available, new webinars are coming up, that type of thing. So do please subscribe.

Okay, and now we will go into a bit of an introduction for our Executive Director Gabe Klein. We're really pleased that Gabe could join us today. He has great experience from the public and private sectors that he brings to the Joint Office.

He previously served as the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation and the director of Washington D.C. District Department of Transportation. He's created his own mobility consultancy and has invested in and advised transportation startups. He's also very passionate about community charging. So I'll turn it over to you, Gabe, to provide us with some opening remarks.

Gabriel Klein, Joint Office of Energy and Transportation: Thank you, Bridget. I really appreciate that intro. And thanks for all the work you've done to put this together as well as the other webinars. As you noted, I'm super excited about this topic today. Very passionate about it.

As a former city DOT chief, I know how challenging the urban context is. And actually personally, I'm getting ready to fly out to Portland tonight and see some of the city leaders tomorrow and see all the great work happening there. They're on this call also before the Urbanism Next Conference on Friday. So if any of you are there, would be great to see you.

Last week, the Joint Office had the chance to get together and discuss really in depth - work through with you guys in an in-depth way - the intricacies of community charging. And the stakeholders needed to engage. And then obviously, there are barriers that need to be overcome.

I wanted to mention today one resource - I hope that will be helpful to help address these potential hurdles and challenges - is the soon to be released Urban EV Toolkit. Very excited about this. Volpe has been working on this - DOT, we've been working on this. It's a great consolidated effort.

And it's going to have great information on benefits, challenges, success stories, benchmarks, resources, and different types of resources that can be matched up to fulfill, really, the outcomes that cities and towns want to accomplish versus just putting in chargers, because we know it's more complex than that. So it's going to touch on topics related to multifamily housing, building codes, curbside charging, fleet charging, which will include micromobility, ride hailing, taxi, and so forth. So keep your eyes peeled for that. We'll be announcing it officially in the next few weeks and putting it out.

And on today's webinar, we're going to hear from experts on community charging, including an overview of community charging models from Sarah Cardinali from NREL. NREL is one of our awesome partners that we work with on a regular basis. I was just out there last week with the team there. Takeaways from market research on multifamily homes from Alexander Epstein and Volpe, another one of our great partners. They've done a phenomenal job working on this and the Urban EV Toolkit.

And a community charging panel discussion with Lisa Thurstin from Minnesota Clean Cities, Jason Wager from Centralina Clean Cities, and Andrew Dick from Electrify America, Hannah Morrison from PBOT, and Alexander Epstein from Volpe. And the Clean Cities Coalition, these folks are invaluable. There's like over 100 Clean Cities Coalitions all over the country. Please look them up in your community. And they'll talk about how you can leverage their expertise.

And last, I really want to thank, which I did before we came on, but I really want to thank all the participants and panelists for being here. It's going to take sharing as much information and these best practices as possible to move at the speed that we need to move to create a multimodal, high-quality, equitable, and frictionless electrified transportation system to make it a reality. So I'm grateful to all of you for doing this.

And please reach out to our office, as Bridget said, You can send us a message right there. You can also put comments and questions in the chat throughout. And thanks so much. I will be going back to being a participant now.

Bridget Gilmore: Thank you so much, Gabe. That was great. And before I hand it off, we just wanted to do a couple of polling questions. Make sure we're reaching folks across the country and across sectors. So if we could pull up the first poll, that would be wonderful.

Thank you so much. So this first one, what sector are you coming from today? We'll give people just a couple of minutes to fill this one out. And once we reach a critical showing, we can move on to our second one.

OK, great. So it looks like we have folks from across all of these different sectors. Lots of folks from local and regional government - that's great - and the NGO sector.

But really great showing across sectors. Thank you all so much for being here. Great, we'll go to the second one.

OK, so this one is what region of the country are you coming in from? Or which country or international, if that applies to you. Great, looks like we do have one person international.

That's great. And folks from across the country. Thank you all so much.

Alrighty. So we will keep moving along here, these are great panelists today. First of which, we'll pass it to Sarah Cardinali. But these other folks will get a chance to introduce themselves when we begin our discussion, provide a bit of an intro, and talk about the work they're doing. But first, I'll pass it to you, Sarah.

Sarah Cardinali, National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Great, thanks, Bridget. You can go ahead and go on to the next slide. Like Gabe mentioned, I'm just going to be going over a little bit at a high level a definition of community charging and giving you some examples, specifically those in many cases from some of the different Department of Energy-funded programs.

Community charging, in and of itself - it can mean a lot of different things. When we were even planning this webinar, we were kind of throwing around, well, what should we include? What does it mean? And I think one way that we can really frame community charging is to consider where and how publicly accessible charging can serve the needs of the community - in places where people live and work, and especially, ensuring that charging serves the needs of those in disadvantaged communities as well.

There's an upcoming study that's led by one of my colleagues here at NREL, D-Y Lee. And he surveyed consumers and community members in terms of their needs and preferences with respect to community charging. And the study has really found that - and you can see the results there on the screen - low-income families are more likely to lack access to home charging, about 30% to 40% live in multifamily housing, and even more rent single family homes. And so obviously, having easily accessible public charging can really help to mitigate that and provide that access.

If at-home charging isn't available, consumers of all income levels were found to prefer retail and curbside charging as viable alternatives. And so when we walk through today and hear from our different panelists, I'd really like to invite everybody both on the panel and in our audience to consider how we might better define community charging and what are the different charging models and strategies that can help support electrified mobility. Next, Bridget.

So, yeah, as I mentioned previously, the Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Office has funded a variety of different community EV charging concepts through different FOA projects, including curbside charging, EV car shares, EV mobility hubs, charging at multifamily housing, et cetera. In fact, DOE has actually awarded more than $490 million since 1998 through these funding opportunities to help implement our alternative fuels and energy-efficient vehicle technologies.

And what we've really found is that the lessons learned from these funded projects can help highlight opportunities for greater project efficiency and success, so that people who are just now embarking on similar projects or similar programs can take into account these lessons learned, these best practices - learning from these roadblocks in order to better engage stakeholders, define strategies for improving the equitable distribution of project benefits, site selection, all different kinds of different things that can really go into making your project a success. Next.

So now, I'm going to go into just the four, kind of, high-level project types that our panelists are going to be talking about today that are some really good examples of communities. And so the first one here is curbside charging. So there's a few different ways that we can do curbside charging. You could locate a standalone EV charging station on a road, or a sidewalk, or a public right-of-way.

Streetlight poles can be a good option for potentially lower cost than doing curbside. Other pole types, such as those owned by utilities or phone companies, are another way to potentially use existing infrastructure. But I think, for this kind of charging, one of the key points to really take away is that importance of working with local government stakeholders to ensure involvement at all points of the planning and decision-making process.

This might require multiple different municipal departments or governments to be involved. People - maybe you'd think about city councils, and buildings, and parking groups, and things like that, but also maybe folks like forestry and parks, or public transit, or sewer, or water. There's a lot of different folks that you may need to get involved to enable this type of charging.

And community engagement is another critical piece. When determining siting, you want to make sure that you're engaging with local residents and learn how residents use their public spaces in order to help determine if the selected sites are really the best locations. And Jason with the Centerlina Clean Cities is going to be speaking today on one of the funded curbside charging projects and touching upon some of the unique permitting and community engagement work that he did there.

And I also want to point out that the image to the right is taken from a recent public right-of-way initiative led by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. And while this wasn't one of the funded DOE projects, we're definitely excited to hear more from Hannah, one of the lead planners on this project. Next.

Talking about car shares briefly. I'm sure most of you are familiar. But car shares are short-term rentals that can enable access to a vehicle without having to incur that high cost of ownership. They can also help create awareness of EV benefits in more communities. One of the VTO-funded projects actually found that EV car share programs in low-income multifamily housing can help expand clean transportation options.

And really what works best for the project is going to depend on who the car share is intended to serve, whether it's the general public or multifamily housing residents, and where the vehicles can be left at the end of the trip. There's a lot of different common considerations that we found when designing an EV car share program, things like operating models, program rate structures are critical. And vehicle ownership is also important to consider. Who's going to own, lease, insure, clean, and maintain the car?

And there's a lot of different ways that you can potentially do that. And Lisa today is going to be sharing some different lessons learned from one of those projects - an all-electric, free-floating car share service launched in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. So we'll look forward to hearing from her.

EV mobility hubs. Really what these hubs can do is to allow for charging multiple vehicles at one location and also other modes, potentially, like electric buses or e-bikes, all at a singular spot. In this project, we found that it was really important to determine who from the site selection and charging equipment standpoint is going to own, insure, and be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the EVSE, as well as for what length of time that's defined for. Potential responsible parties include the utilities, municipalities, site hosts, or the charging station network.

As I think many of you all know, engaging your utility is absolutely essential for any electric mobility project. They can provide valuable input on the project parameters, the site selection, and a number of other factors. So definitely engage your utilities, especially when you're embarking on a project like this.

For example, in a mobility hub, if you're using an EV transit bus there, it might need quite a bit more power than what you would need if it was light-duty vehicles, or e-bikes, or things of that nature. You'll also need to really consider site selection when you're working through a project like this.

The image on the slide here is of an Electrify America EV fast-charging station with some solar-powered canopies. This is in Baker, California. To note, this was not one of the DOE-funded projects, but we are definitely excited to have Andrew on today to talk about Electrify America's work on designing and deploying community charging.

And then, last but not least, multifamily housing. We definitely know that widespread equitable EV deployment requires adoption beyond just those with access to garages or other dedicated off-street parking capabilities to allow them to charge their EVs while they're at home. So residents of multifamily housing are a critical target for expanding the potential market for EVs. And folks who live in multifamily housing are definitely going to be more likely to adopt electric vehicles if charging solutions that meet their needs are available.

There's a lot of different strategies to consider for multifamily housing - not all without challenges. But we're definitely going to talk a little bit about this more today. And this picture here is from the Saint Paul EV Spot Network and a car share project initiated by Minnesota Clean Cities and others, which also has a multifamily housing charging aspect to it. So Lisa is going to talk about this one as well.

And I'm also now going to turn this over to Dr. Epstein from Volpe, who's going to share some insights from some recent market research that they have done on charging at multifamily housing. Dr. Epstein.

Alexander Epstein, U.S. Department of Transportation, Volpe Center: Thank you very much. And let me go ahead and share this. Thank you. Thank you. That's a perfect tee up for a preview of what will be an available resource soon after this webinar. It's an Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions Market Scan, specifically for multifamily housing that our team at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center has been preparing, initially as an internal product to inform the Joint Office and now as a public resource.

So I'll just provide a little bit of a preview of some of the portions of this resource that build on some of what you just heard from Sarah, specifically homing in on the multifamily segment of the housing market, which is perhaps larger than some of us may realize, and then we really try to make sense of this market, its challenges and opportunities, and how to map different types of solutions for electric mobility charging to those segments of the multifamily market.

So I'm not going to go into detail on all the site specific considerations here, but again, those will be available in the posted slides. So first, just big picture, you may have just seen roughly what the breakout of the multifamily versus single family housing is. But even more high level than that, we know that around 80% of EV charging takes place at home.

At the same time, it's striking that only 5% of that home charging takes place in multifamily housing today, which speaks to the magnitude of the challenges in bringing charging to a multifamily setting. About one out of three households in the U.S. are multifamily, rather than single family. And about 2/3 of rental households are multifamily of two units or larger in the building. And that's in spite of the fact - the 5% figure is in spite of the fact that about 76% of rented multifamily households do have at least one vehicle per the census.

So as I said, we have attempted to understand this space in a coherent way. And while we went through many word banks, many iterations, ultimately what seems to be the most mutually exclusive way of segmenting this market is, where is the vehicle stored? Where is the mobility parked at the end of the day? And the first question here is there accessory parking?

Is parking provided, as Sarah alluded to, with the building that the resident lives in? If the answer is yes, go to the right branch. And then the question is, are those parking spaces assigned? And in a multifamily building that does have accessory parking, there will be multiple spaces, so that is a salient question that affects where charging infrastructure is going to be installed.

If there is not accessory parking, where is public parking available? And then it segments into a curbside scenario or into a poorly differentiated - either dedicated charging hub, where it's short-term charge and go or a longer-term parking, typically lower power. There may be more amenities. There may be more of a destination that would be use case 2 - public garage or lot. And what we do in this resource is then go into what are some of the considerations and what are the solutions for each of these five use cases?

So I won't go through those here. Again, those are available in the posted slides. We also have combed through quite a bit of literature to bring some - again, some of the more salient points about what are the costs and timelines of some of the solutions that apply to these five use cases.

Forthcoming research published by - to be published by Eric Wood here - so we've communicated closely and coordinated closely with the national labs throughout this work - shows roughly what that spectrum in order of magnitude costs and timelines are - anywhere from virtually no-cost level one - appropriate extension cord to a high DC fast charging.

And the rough implementation timelines as well, ranging from days to potentially years depending on the utility that may be required. With a large asterisk there that those are not set ranges for implementation timeline. And some of the things that may significantly affect these timelines are also aspects of emerging business models that we identify in this market scan.

For example, cost and timelines of implementation could potentially be short circuited in at least three different ways that we've identified here. One is a peer-to-peer approach. And we've seen the scale in other areas, whether it's hospitality or indeed renting. Peer-to-peer car rental has scaled quickly.

So similar to that Airbnb or Turo model, there's one approach for having a private property owner to private vehicle owner rather than necessarily a third party. So that's one potential. And that's being piloted in New York City. Another approach is having multipurpose infrastructure, for example, DC fast charging that also provides grid services because it has on-site storage that can function as backup power, that can provide arbitrage or other ancillary grid services, and potentially passive income.

And thirdly, mobile solutions. So there's any number actually of different mobile and semi-permanent installations that could map to pop-up charging stations where there may be prohibitive, either cost or time prohibitive, installation barriers. For example, perhaps a more remote part, where there may not be commercial development nearby, it may be a way to bring either L2 to or even low DC fast charging to those different areas by bringing the battery in a sense to the vehicle, rather than the vehicle to the battery.

And just a few additional takeaways throughout that in our market scan we highlight, and again, you'll see this in the slides, it's the future proofing. As was mentioned earlier, if there are opportunities in a location to bring an electric bike, an e-bike, or a docking station, for example, when trenching is occurring or when service is being brought to a street furniture location, like a pole or a streetlight, there are opportunities there.

There are access and equity opportunities considerations in terms of implementing those latest U.S. Access Board design guidelines, for example, cord management. In one of the case studies, we've been talking with ubitricity, which has the U.K.'s largest public charging network. They actually get around that by not having a cord and having a BYO, bring your own cord model.

And then there's any number of policy considerations, resilience analysis, security considerations, especially for areas with low amenities or that are not destination locations. If the multifamily housing resident needs to use those, and ultimately, public charging is a way to provide that substitution for at-home charging, then all of these considerations become important at the planning stage, at the implementation and operating stage for any charging infrastructure.

And again, MFH largely going to be most relevant in urban and suburban areas. And that's where the multimodality is going to be important, something that Gabe spoke to at the beginning, just really considering all opportunities to maximize those multimodal returns on investment, whether you're integrating with e-bikes, or scooters, or indeed mini cars, or electric golf carts, depends on your market.

I will plug briefly the urban EV toolkit or Urban Electric Mobility Toolkit. This is coming out in a few weeks, so that website is not currently live. But it will be live. And just to put a picture to what Gabe mentioned verbally, this is roughly the shape of the document. It will be a Joint Office U.S. DOT product that brings everything from soup to nuts on how to consider the benefits, and then whom to partner with, how to plan, and how to pay for electric mobility infrastructure in urban and suburban areas.

And it really is supposed to be and can be looked forward to as a one-stop resource for a lot of different stakeholders, whether it's site owners or planners, to scope, plan, and fund electric mobility infrastructure. So we're excited about that. I think I'll leave it at that. So thank you.

Bridget Gilmore: Great. Thank you so much for you. We really appreciate that teaser as well as - I feel like there is a really great teeing up across both of your presentations for this panel discussion that we're about to have so.

I'll invite all the panelists to feel free to turn on your video at this time. And we're going to go around and do a quick round robin - give each person about three minutes to introduce yourself and the work that you are doing in this space. So we'll start with Lisa.

Lisa Thurstin, American Lung Association and Minnesota Clean Cities Coalition: Great, thank you for inviting me here. I am the director in the Clean Air Initiative Program at the American Lung Association, and also I oversee the Minnesota Clean Cities Coalition. This project is a large - it's very large with a variety of partners and different funding sources, and I'm talking specifically about the Department of Energy portion of this project. So the total Department of Energy-funded project is $6.6 million with a $6.8 million in cost share. And as Sarah mentioned, this project has multiple areas of interest, mentioned in her opening.

So first one is the EV Spot Network encompasses chargers that support two audiences with renewable powered curbside hubs at 70 locations. This includes level 2 and a couple of DC fast chargers. The car share program, it's a one-way car sharing system that operates in a 36 square mile area within Saint Paul and Minneapolis and includes 150 vehicles, which are at this point, Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolts.

And then the other part of it, the charging system is the EV Spot charging, where we offer public access in the same service area. The third part is - of the project is - the multi-unit dwelling car share project, which brings hub-based electric vehicle access to low income and market rate apartment buildings around the Twin Cities, which includes nearly seven counties in the metro area. And at these multifamily homes, there's going to be 25 host sites once this project is complete with level 2 chargers and two vehicles at each site.

Our key partners, including our coalition, Minnesota Clean Cities Coalition, is - who is the lead on this is - via the Department of Energy. And then the next includes a large utility who is providing the make-ready to cities, city of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, who own the curbside charging equipment. Hour Car, who oversees the fleet aspect of this project and is a local shared mobility non-profit organization. And then we have a variety of nonprofits and community-based organizations throughout the metro area. With that, I'll pass it on to Jason.

Jason Wager, Centralina Regional Council and Centralina Clean Cities Coalition: Hey, thanks so much, Lisa. I'm Jason Wager. I'm the assistant regional planning director at Centralina Regional Council, council of government in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, and also host to the Centerlina Clean Fuels Coalition, U.S. DOE Clean Cities program here in our area.

We were fortunate enough to partner with our friends at the UNC Charlotte EPIC Center, so Energy Production and Infrastructure Center, on what was called the Pole Vault Project. You happen to see a picture in Sarah's slides there in passing of that project. Just like the name sounds, it was an attempt to look at what options were available adjacent to poles, where we would already have power that we could perhaps put in charging and found out a lot of things about the technology, but also about the process.

And in our role as a council of government, we do a lot of land use planning work, we're working with local governments and planning issues. Couple that with our Clean Cities hat, understanding electrification, we were the kind of liaison folks that work through the process to help those discussions along. So really appreciated the chance to work alongside our partners again at UNC Charlotte EPIC, and then also bringing in the city of Charlotte and so many staff members there, as well as our partners throughout the entire thing at Duke Energy, our utility here.

I think we learned a lot. We learned that no two poles are exactly alike, the power available, the situations that you might be able to deploy relative to any given pole. We also learned a lot about, in addition - so I guess, one thing, technically - we learned that you might call it pole adjacent as much as you might call it pole-mounted charging. Sometimes that might work just as well.

But also learned a lot about the deployment and working with communities - everything from sort of equity and development of the process to even some of the things on the big picture when you scale this up from a single pilot location to a much larger deployment. So we ended up coming away with several broader policy recommendations for the community as well as some site specific considerations, some equity items and so forth. So I'll maybe stop there. And I know we've got some questions coming up, so turn it over to the next panelist.

Bridget Gilmore: Great, thank you so much. Hannah, do you want to go next?

Hannah Morrison, Portland Bureau of Transportation: Yeah, thanks, Bridget. Hi, everyone. I'm Hannah Morrison. I use she/her pronouns.

And I'm a planner in the Policy Planning and Projects Group at the Portland Bureau of Transportation. So I really work on a lot of projects related to electrification and emerging technology, but I've spent the last two years focusing on this electric vehicle charging in the public right-of-way project, which Sarah referenced earlier. And I'd also like to thank Gabe and the entire team at the Joint Office for inviting us to share some of this work.

So our EV charging in the right-of-way project enables EVSE companies and our local investor-owned utilities to install level two, kind of these medium-speed EV chargers curbside, either pole mounted or on pedestals in commercial centers across the city. We're going to have an open permit process and allow both these private EVSE companies and our utilities to install chargers, and provided that they signed legal agreements with the city that will contain requirements on insurance, maintenance, data sharing, and more.

So we're really going to be allowing these chargers within these areas designated as centers by our comprehensive plan. And these are areas where growth is expected and will be directed. And they have higher intensity zoning, including multi-unit dwellings and commercial zones. And we really wanted to use this project to direct chargers to fill these gaps that have formed from where the markets have gone and especially direct charger installations towards people that can't charge at home.

So our project can meet those goals. Our project will also require permit holders to meet an equitable distribution requirement. And I'll talk a little bit more about that later. And we just had our overarching policy and project approach approved by the Portland City Council in early March.

And we're now in the process of beginning to implement the policy by updating our administrative rules and creating all of these necessary contracts and negotiating things and signing permits. So we expect to issue permits later this year and hopefully, see the first EV chargers installed in probably late 2023 or early 2024. Thank you.

Bridget Gilmore: Super exciting. So finally, we'll turn it over to Andrew. You wanna go next?

Andrew Dick, Electrify America: Thanks, Bridget. Hi, everyone. My name is Andrew Dick. I'm business development manager for incentives with Electrify America. Electrify America is the largest open network of DC fast chargers in the country. And we're specifically focused on ultra-fast charging, which is 150 kilowatts and above.

Since the outset, we've had two broad categories of investments. We have our highway chargers that we install on long-distance travel corridors across the United States - east, west, north, south routes - many of them you can go coast-to-coast. And then we use those to connect metro nodes. And metro chargers are really community charging hubs that are intended to serve people who are within that community.

And we've gone through a few different phases of our thinking in terms of the way that you best provide community charging. In our first investment cycle between 2017 and 2019, we actually funded a fairly large number of units for workplaces and multi-unit dwellings. But beginning in our second investment cycle, we really moved towards the model of trying to install high-power, high-speed DC fast charging at retail locations, grocery stores, near large concentrations of multi-unit dwellings to serve as more of a place that folks can go once a week, a trip that they're going to be doing anyway - a weekly grocery trip - and charge their vehicles up at those locations.

So I think we see a role for level 2. If you can actually install at the multi-unit dwelling, if you have it at your workplace, that's fantastic. It's definitely part of the solution.

But for somebody who lives in a multi-unit dwelling, a modern EV takes approximately 8 to 10 hours to charge fully on a level 2 charger. And so if your vehicle is completely empty, you need to do a once weekly charging trip. It's not realistic in many cases that person is going to find somewhere to leave their vehicle for 10 hours on a Saturday to charge it all the way back up.

So we really try to match the charging to the use case and serve that community charging need by installing very high-powered DC fast charging where people are going to be any way once a week, so they can do their grocery run, come out 45 minutes later, their car is all charged up. And that's the approach that we've largely taken to community charging. So I'll stop there for now. I know we have a panel discussion coming forth.

Bridget Gilmore: Great, thank you all so much for those overviews. I feel like it already spoke to all the different applications and use cases that community charging is being implemented as. I wanted to start off with a question for everyone, just talking about the community engagement portion and how you identify that was the right type of charging for the locations that you all selected. So anyone is welcome to begin if that resonates with you, that question on community engagement.

Lisa Thurstin: I can -

Andrew Dick: Sure.

Lisa Thurstin: - start off. Oh, sorry.

Andrew Dick: Go ahead, Lisa.

Lisa Thurstin: Sorry. When we were in the planning stages of this project, there were a variety of listening sessions were hosted by the partners to gauge interest, the need, and the compatibility of each site selected. Like I said, we had 70 hubs. And it was all laid out on a map - and also looking where this is falling in the community.

We know other communities that car sharing is most successful is areas with a high density of residents and good transit service, so we also know that car sharing and good transit service has not always been accessible in an equitable way. So the goal was to expand the access in Saint Paul and Minneapolis by placing them in some of the neighborhoods that have fewer - they never had car sharing before. And so there's more access to the resource.

Andrew Dick: Sure, from our perspective, we've done focus groups and listening sessions, that type of research. We also pay very close attention to the research of organizations, like the UCLA Luskin Center, that found that in California where you have a robust used vehicle market and a lot of MUD residents adopting EVs that they're relying on public DC fast charging at about three times the rate of single family homeowners as their primary means of charging.

In addition to that, we have a sort of a web-based submissions tool. We received 3,969 submissions from individuals, businesses, organizations across the country during our cycle three planning and that is actually open now for cycle four. So we try really hard to listen to the community and understand what their needs are and how we can do a better job of meeting them.

Hannah Morrison: And I can add that while we haven't actually picked any sites for EV chargers to go in, we have narrowed down to these kind of larger locations. And that was based on really engagement that was done by other staff for other projects to listen to kind of what people need for EV charging and really trying to locate EV chargers as close to these multi-unit dwellings as possible without, kind of, going through the often expensive process of upgrading parking units within the apartments.

And then we also worked with our local utility partners - sorry, in the office - and found out that PGE, the one that Sarah referenced earlier, they had a pilot project and they installed a level 2 charger on a utility pole. It was actually the most used level 2 charger during the pandemic. And there was really widespread kind of community need for that.

Jason Wager: And I'll just add that for our partner at the city of Charlotte - and this has somewhat been mentioned by others - but there was an interest in this case, what we're termed opportunity corridors had already been identified around the city. And so those were areas that already were identified as needing or perhaps could benefit from some investment. And at the same time, I guess what really helped make the decision for us or really helped engagement was realizing that one of the long-time community-based organizations that we had collaborated with in the past, in this case, it's CleanAIRE North Carolina, was already active in one of the communities.

And they had an initiative - a green district initiative going on so that really helped make the case. In this case, it was a pilot, so a one single site location and all of those needs kind of came together. But I think that the takeaway for us was a lot more streamlined and more possible by already having those relationships in place and building off of them rather than coming in fresh.

Bridget Gilmore: Yeah, that's great. And I'm looking at a question from Peter that came in through the Q&A function, and it seems to speak to similar to what you're talking about, Jason, that streamlining aspect of these programs. But this one is for Jason and Hannah: was there an effort to streamline permitting for your programs before launch?

What was it like? And what were some of the key solutions that were required? So it sounds like Jason touched on them, but if you want to expand on that or, Hannah, if you want to jump in.

Hannah Morrison: Yeah, that's something we spend a lot of time on. I think I mentioned that we've been doing this project for about two years. And it has been a combination of working with teams across the city really, including like our parking teams, our utility permitting teams, trying to figure out how to model the permit system on other existing processes and kind of nestle it in there so we're not creating something totally new, make sure that we're getting the right people's eyes on it and not the unnecessary number of eyes on it. So that was a huge goal for us.

Jason Wager: Yeah, and I could speak much, much longer - at much length. But I think at a high level, we were looking ultimately at installing EV charging and a right of way. So that was the situation, which is a little bit different than, say, if it was an off-street or some other situation. And I think that what we came to realize is not only is there your zoning and your maybe code reviews that everybody usually equates with permitting, but there were all these additional layers of review within any given situation.

So everything from what might be required adjacent to certain uses, screening, what would our Department of Transportation folks want to look at regarding bike lanes that might be nearby or ADA accessibility. And it goes on, and on, and on. So when you think, oh, go get your permit, it's so much more layered than that.

And so streamlining that it takes a bit more of looking at all of those steps. So that was one of the things that we did come away with as a recommendation, it's kind of the super obvious one, but that coordination among agencies so that it truly can be that one-stop shop. Once you submit, everybody that is interacting with each other is talking.

Because what would happen is one group's or one individual's interest would potentially conflict and get in the way of another's. And so what you're really saying here is we're not going to be able to deploy this here, in effect. So kind of getting that all together in one place and then thinking about that in an infinite number of scenarios when you start scaling. So one site is difficult enough, then you want to scale that and do all these different scenarios, it gets even more interesting. So we definitely identified the need to streamline and so many ways to look at that.

Did we streamline? I would say that was really the goal of the pilot was to look at what were the needs. So we didn't as a direct result, but it definitely flowed out of that work.

Hannah Morrison: I just want to add really quickly - in streamlining the permits, it's also really important to talk to utilities. And we learned a lot about how to help them streamline their process and integrate with ours.

Bridget Gilmore: That's great. Yeah, do any other panelists want to speak to the streamlining of the permitting process before we move on?

Andrew Dick: Sure, I would jump in and say we probably see a different range of permitting issues on the DCFC side. I'm sure there are sort of special issues at building in the right of way. But the permitting process can also be a significant source of increased cost and delay for deploying DC fast charging. And often, this is just because we go to jurisdictions and when we show them our design, it's the first time they've ever seen this type of installation.

And so sometimes, they don't even have an electric vehicle classification in their zoning code, and we get categorized as an automobile service station. which is a very restrictive classification code, because you think you have tanker trucks, and explosive vapors, and things like that. And so it becomes very difficult in some jurisdictions to build EV charging stations when really we're talking about installing electrical equipment in an existing parking lot. It's a very low impact installation.

So jurisdictions I think can really help to accelerate this process by looking at their zoning code, looking at their building codes proactively, identifying opportunities to clarify what the processes around permitting these stations, set up a permitting checklist online, so EV charging providers know what they need to do, what documents they need to bring. These are all things that can help more charging get in the ground.

Bridget Gilmore: That's great. There is one question that came in - and this might be a good one for you, Andrew - talking about the pricing of commercially-provided charging, thinking specifically DC fast charging, says typically costs two to three times electricity rates at a residential single-family house. So how do you all think about proposing equitable pricing for residents of multifamily housing for community charging?

Andrew Dick: Sure, absolutely. So the rates at DC fast charging stations are certainly higher than you would see at a residence. And it's largely the product of utility demand charges. Utility demand charges can result in costs of thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars per month, where those rates haven't been reformed and brought down.

And so even though we charge $0.48 a kilowatt hour, which is more expensive than residential, in some cases, we are buying power from the utility for $2 or $3 per kilowatt hour. And so there's actually a significant increment where the cost we're selling it for is lower than the cost we're purchasing it for. So we've been working state by state to try to find states that have particularly challenging utility environments and reform those, such that we have an operational cost structure that allows us to provide affordable charging to drivers as well.

Bridget Gilmore: Great. Thanks so much for that. Any other comments on the affordability of charging? Alex, I see you're unmuted.

Alexander Epstein: I might add to that. The more that existing infrastructure can be adapted or reused, especially I'm thinking of energized street furniture, there's a potential there to pass on the savings to the user. And there are, of course, challenges with curbside charging because the priorities for how limited public right of way will be used in the future needs to be considered closely, especially with transit, or bike lanes, or other multimodal uses of the curb and curb management being more dynamic going forward.

But that's something that our conversations with, for example, Los Angeles and again, I mentioned ubitricity, by no means the only company out there - but being able to piggyback on existing electrical service, especially where that electrical service is already at a higher power, where you might have a 240 volt service is certainly an opportunity to not encounter demand charges, at the same time, be able to leverage already publicly subsidized infrastructure.

Bridget Gilmore: Great. Thank you all. A next question is thinking about the overall transportation planning scenario and how folks are thinking about balancing parking requirements with their sustainable development goals - not increasing new parking for new buildings, but still having enough chargers available or using existing facilities. Does anyone want to take a crack at that one?

Hannah Morrison: Yeah, I can jump in. This is something that, especially, with on-street, it took a lot of work to balance kind of where we wanted to allow EV chargers and make sure that they weren't interfering with public transit, bicycle infrastructure, and just making sure that we kind of found the right fit on the curb.

So one of the early decisions we actually made was to locate EV chargers not actually on main streets, but in this around the corner context, so that we could maintain the flexibility on main streets for other modes of transit. So that was one thing. We also have another EV charging kind of project code update that was recently passed by our Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to make all new apartment buildings that have five units or more and on-site parking, so it's not required, be EV ready.

Jason Wager: I'll just say just from a planning perspective, we've seen both at the city of Charlotte with their mobility planning and at the regional level, to the questions point, you really have to look at mobility as overall system in incorporating all kinds of modes and ways people get around context sensitive. What is really practically rolling out?

Of course, there can be all your other things that we've mentioned - anything from the future proofing and making sure that when you do put in parking structures, that you're not leaving a future big cost for future residents, but go ahead and have at least have some conduit put in or something to be ready to go. But in terms of the overall parking policies, being sure that it's part of a holistic approach to mobility. EVs being part of that mobility system.

Andrew Dick: I would just add to that - it's something that we run up against on the DC fast charging side of things as well. Because often when we install a DC fast charging station, we always install an ADA accessible spot, which is wider than a normal spot. And so if we're turning normal spaces into normal spaces plus an ADA accessible space, we typically have to use more parking spaces than we eventually have parking stalls at the end.

And so in some jurisdictions, especially where you have properties that are already under parked, this leads to a parking count issue, and you need a parking variance. So there are several models to this. But states like New Jersey have adopted ratios, where EV charging spaces count as multiple spaces. So you don't run up against that parking count issue.

The state of California has also adopted a law where if an EV charger would cause a parking count issue, your parking count is simply reduced by the number of spaces it needs to be reduced in order to accommodate an EV charging station that has, of course, these accessibility features. So making sure that parking counts don't get in the way of DC fast charging development is another important strategy for avoiding unnecessary barriers.

Bridget Gilmore: Great. I can't believe we're already almost at the top of the hour. I want to give folks an opportunity to say if there's any lessons learned along the way, things that you wish you knew when you had started, final thoughts you might want to impart. Any words of wisdom.

Hannah Morrison: Sure, yeah. I think that one of the biggest challenges for us was just creating a new policy kind of from scratch. I think that working just across the city and all of these different bureaus, it was really a cross-bureau, cross-functional project.

We talked to everyone from policy and planning to traffic engineers to parking enforcement, made sure it was this group effort and everyone was engaged from the start. I think that was really one of the biggest things that contributed to our success. Really making sure, it's important to remember that this change - this new policy is all about engaging people, meeting them where they are, and then bringing everyone along with you.

Lisa Thurstin: And I would like to add, we have several reports on the website EV Spot Network, talking about some of the lessons learned along the way. Having a really strong partnership of partners and just being in touch on a constant basis, keeping things flowing, being able to adapt per expectations when recalls come in, or supply chain issues, or budgets change. Having a good plan to begin with allows more adaptability to a degree as the project progresses.

Andrew Dick: I think from my perspective, the number one thing we've learned is that you need to match the charging to the use case. And Alex showed this sort of great taxonomy earlier for when do you do what different type of charging. And I think we have a really simple one for sort of level 2 versus DCFC, particularly when you're serving folks who can't charge at home.

And so really, the one question to ask is, is somebody realistically going to be in this parking spot for six to eight hours or longer? And if the answer is yes, it's a park-and-ride, or a long-term garage, or it's overnight parking, or it's your workplace, then level two makes a lot of sense.

But for particularly, for an MUD resident who's not able to charge at their house, the idea that they would leave their car at somewhere away from their house for six to eight hours or longer is pretty unrealistic. So in those cases, we would really encourage folks to look at DC fast charging as an option and to look at the CFI program potentially as a vehicle for advancing public community DC fast charging.

Jason Wager: Yeah, these are several good points here. I would just add that it's kind of from the top down and bottom up, you've got to certainly involve the community. At the same time, we were realizing that major questions for a local government are, what role do you plan or want to play in the deployment of EVSE, EV charging in public rights of way or in other public situations? Just understand that, and then set that vision for it, so that it can be very clear and followed by all parties that are going to be involved in the deployment side of it, is sort of the long term, not just installing it today, but long-term maintenance, ownership - all of those questions also matter.

Also a small thing, but was really kind of a cool thing that we took away and it gets to some of the Justice40 and equity conversations going on now, so because of the communications tie for our technology, we were able to incorporate an air quality monitor at the site. And so this was a historically disadvantaged community kind of dealing with some environmental justice issues adjacent to a highway. Measuring air quality was important.

And this was kind of a co-benefit for the community. So I think there are lots of unique ways that with relatively small investment can really add to the work and hit multiple areas of interest for communities right now with EV charging deployment.

Bridget Gilmore: That's a great example, and I think a great point to end on. Sorry, we're up against the hour, but just wanted to plug that there are a bunch of great additional resources that are out there. We're excited about the Charging Forward Toolkit for Urban Settings for Charging.

There will also be two upcoming webinars that we currently have planned. There will be more to come. But there's one on May 3, which will be an AFLEET CFI tool demo. For folks that are applying to the CFI Program, this is for the corridor grants.

And then May 9th, we'll have a webinar on Minority Business Outreach and Partnerships. If you didn't get your question answered, please do submit it through our website. And we have lots of folks that are there ready to answer it.

But I want to say finally thank you so much the panelists for joining us today. This was a really great discussion. And I know I was taking a bunch of notes throughout. And thank you all so much for attending and listening with us today. Thank you.