Phase I: EV Charging Plan Groundwork
When looking at a community EV charging plan, the background question of “why” is an important entry point into the conversation with community stakeholders.
To kick off an effective EV charging plan, you must fully understand the motivations and needs of the community for EV charging infrastructure development. Regional coordinators begin by facilitating meetings with officials and stakeholders to discuss these motivations and needs.
The community EV charging plan should integrate other important planning practices, such as comprehensive plans, thoroughfare plans, and Capital Improvement Plans (CIPs).
A review team should also consider statewide programs when developing an EV charging plan. For example, programs like a state’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program, or NEVI, should be considered. The key outcome of this collaboration helps justify the installation of EV charging stations throughout a greater region and identifies key communities that may be interested in hosting public and private sites that can provide safe, easy, and equitable access for drivers.
Phase II: Decision-Making Guide
For communities interested in pursuing EV charging plans independently versus in coordination with statewide programs or other initiatives, a simple integrated decision-making framework can document the design, construction, installation, and operational phases of the project. A planning and engineering consultant can provide an independent and unbiased methodology and serve as the community’s liaison with charging vendors.
Available power and location are key criteria, but constructability and operational parameters should be considered. The planning team will also incorporate any variables or parameters that were discovered in stakeholder meetings.
Phase III: Financial Considerations
Ultimately, understanding design, construction, and operational costs is a major barrier for communities to move forward with EV charging plans.
To break through the financial barrier, communities must have planning-level pricing for host sites and understand federal and state funding resources that will help break through these barriers. In order to provide estimates for operation and maintenance, or O&M, communities must first understand ownership models typically applied in the EV industry. Another key factor is deciding on what level the community wants to play in ongoing O&M, if any.
Phase IV: EV Charging Site Assessments
Once meaningful, useful, and financially valid site regions are identified, eligible sites are then evaluated for the best fit.
EV charging site evaluation criteria includes traffic patterns, vehicle owner groups, utility connections, and more. This is a critical step in the process that impacts the ultimate success of the EV charging site and its utilization. Although EV charging station use is key to developers, current EV adoption may not be a predictor of future needs over the next five to ten years. It is essential to look beyond what is currently happening and plan for future EV charging needs. Future-proofing a site will save on long-term costs.
Phase V: Site Development & Installation
Expanding upon a decision-making guide, communities may find it helpful to understand what services would need to be coordinated to install and implement an EV charging plan.
Some key considerations for EV charging site development and installation include:
- Permitting requirements
- Utility interconnection
- Building interconnection
- Environmental risks to nearby areas
- Engineering and equipment
- Traffic control
- Layout design, particularly for large vehicles
- Safety provisions
Upfront planning is critical for successful EV charging sites and ultimately supports the overall goal of easy and accessible public charging.
Phase VI: Public Outreach
Unfortunately, not everyone is sold on the idea of electric vehicles. Not everyone believes that EVs are beneficial to society or good for the environment. That’s why public outreach and education are absolutely critical to EV charging plans.
Educational materials aimed towards the public can help explain the EV market, the importance of EV charging stations, and how BEVs will become an important part of the community fabric.
Some public outreach ideas include:
- FAQ section on a community website
- Public engagement events near potential host sites
- Social media campaigns that show the differences between charging EVs vs. filling up at a gas station
- Billboard and banner announcements
- Hosting pop-up informational booths at various community events
Public outreach is critical in understanding and adopting EVs within a community. The opportunities are endless and are customized to each community.
Thinking About EV Charging? Start Now.
It’s never too early to start thinking about a community EV charging plan. No matter how big or small, planning is the first step.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or in the process, the ms consultants team can help with your EV charging plan and more.
Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to hear more about how we can work together and bring EV charging infrastructure to your community.