Electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining popularity among consumers, governments, and automakers as battery prices fall and the benefits of EVs increase. Within the last year, virtually every major automobile manufacturer announced plans to add electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles to their catalogs. As cities transition to the opportunities that EVs can bring — from lower maintenance costs for consumers to better air quality for residents — they also must develop the core services for their communities to become EV-ready. One of the most essential needs for electric vehicle adoption is an available charging station infrastructure to support residents’ charging needs and to encourage new EV purchases.
According to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) analysis titled, “National Plug-In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Analysis,” cities in 2030 will need 4,900 Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) stations, while interstate corridors will only need 400 DCFC stations.
One of the goals of the Great Plains Institute (GPI) is to “dramatically increase electric vehicle adoption in every appropriate category (e.g. light duty vehicles, buses, trucks).” GPI has identified five principles for what constitutes an EV-ready city:
¤ Policy: Acknowledge EV benefits and support development of charging infrastructure
¤ Regulation: Implement development standards and regulations that enable EV use
¤ Administration: Create transparent and predictable EV permitting processes
¤ Programs: Develop public programs to overcome market barriers
¤ Leadership: Demonstrate EV viability in public fleets and facilities
In December, 2017, CleanTechnica partnered with GreenWay Infrastructure and the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union to research and publish Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: Guidelines for Cities. The objective was to help municipal officials, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, to prepare their communities for the coming mass market of electric vehicles. The authors advised immediate leadership around EV adoption through building internal competencies, engaging experts, clearly communicating, and active, smart, and economically sound coordination of charging infrastructure deployment.
The team reminded municipal constituents that Bloomberg New Energy Finance has predicted, before 2040, sales of EVs will overtake those of combustion engine vehicles. The report included a list of measures that municipalities have taken to incentivize EV adoption, and, because we learn best from each other, the report included case studies of model cities that have embraced EV charging infrastructure.
Amsterdam is the Model EV Charging City of the World
One of our editors here at CleanTechnica, Zachary, swears that Amsterdam is the “best city in the world for EV charging.” Why is that?
Amsterdam has a particular incentive for electric vehicles that resonates among all others — the city followed a market-driven approach to roll out its EV charging infrastructure. If you’re an Amsterdam resident, you generally park your vehicles on the street, as very few in the city have private or designated parking. All you have to do is notify the city that you need on-street EV charging near your home, and the city pays a private EV charging station company to put the station in.
Sure, you need a pass to charge your electric vehicle at Amsterdam’s public charging points, and you must pay the standard parking charges, if applicable, or have a valid parking permit. But electric cars get priority on a parking permit waiting list. Any car or motorcycle parked in an EV designated space must be connected to the charging point, but there is no time limit on charging at the charging point.
Amsterdam’s market-driven approach has resulted in a significant number of new EV owners on streets where these charging stations were installed.
The stations are split into three separate categories: charging poles, fast charging stations (80% charge in 20 minutes), and battery switch stations. These public stations generate data that optimize Amsterdam’s ongoing rollout and decision-making regarding EV charging stations and vehicles. The availability of reliable charging, greater visibility of electric cars charging there, and intelligent pricing system stimulates other residents to “go electric.”
Charging stations for electric vehicles were first considered by authorities in Amsterdam in 2005, with implementation starting in 2011 using government funding. The installation of this infrastructure formed part of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area Electric (MRA Electric) project, aiming to coordinate all areas of electric vehicle usage in Amsterdam, from infrastructure implementation to end usage by both the public and private freight operators.
“Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: Guldelines for Cities” offers an appeal to municipal managers: regardless of how many EVs are currently registered in your city, many more are coming, and, soon. So you should get ready now. That may mean investing in infrastructure, developing a plan, or passing laws or regulations to encourage the private marketplace.
Yes, the ongoing debate continues as to whether to invest in infrastructure before the mass onset of EVs, or to wait until they have already become far more common. Even if it’s just a single charging station, you should start now so your city gains early experience with EV charging and the habits of your local drivers. You’ll be glad later on that you did.
Images courtesy Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: Guidelines for Cities and mariordo59 on Foter.com / CC BY-SA
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