Five new reports by planning & design firm WXY highlight growing EV demand and provide guidance for locations and design of new charging stations
As part of a major push to prepare the U.S. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions for anticipated growth in electric vehicle use, states participating in the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network have released a suite of reports authored by WXY Architecture + Urban Design to assist communities, employers, property owners, and local residents.
“These reports mark the culmination of a year of planning work to help communities understand and remove barriers to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles,” says Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center. “The recommendations will also ensure that public charging stations are placed in strategic locations that both maximize usage and facilitate interstate travel.”
The analysis and guidelines by WXY highlight electric vehicle trends and the demographics of EV buyers in the region – most notably the concentration of electric vehicles in suburban areas – and makes recommendations on the placement of future charging infrastructure within nine clusters, defined as areas of likely electric vehicle usage with a demand for electric vehicle charging stations. The clusters include: downtown, retail, workplace, higher education, fleet and freight, leisure destinations, regional transit, medical campuses, and multi-family housing.
“The Northeast Electric Vehicle Network’s reports also provide local governments and stakeholders with sample building code amendments, planning and policy tools, and electric vehicle siting and design guidelines,” says Adam Lubinsky, a planner and managing principal of WXY who spearheaded the guidelines.
Lubinsky notes that the released suite of reports and analyses were prepared for the Transportation and Climate Initiative and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) as part of a nearly $1 million U.S. Department of Energy grant supporting EV readiness activities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.
Along with the guidelines, the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network (NEVN) also released a series of educational materials and a web-based tool for locating the more than 800 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations already available to the public in the region.
Fighting “range anxiety” for electric vehicles “In order to promote investment in electric vehicles around the Northeast, states need to break down both the regulatory and public perception barriers related to building charging stations and driving EVs,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., NYSERDA president and CEO. “These reports will assist not only government officials in developing the necessary infrastructure but will also help the public in adopting electric vehicles as a viable method of transportation.”
Murray added that in New York, Governor Cuomo recently proposed a statewide network of 3,000 public and workplace charging stations through the new Charge New York program. “This type of commitment from the TCI members to create an electric vehicle infrastructure throughout the Northeast will help reduce the region’s reliance on fossil fuels and be beneficial to the environment,” said Murray.
While electric vehicles remain a new technology, states and local communities in the Northeast are moving quickly to maximize the potential environmental and economic benefits that EVs can provide. More than twice as many plug-in electric vehicles were sold in the first 24 months of production than hybrids in their first 24 months of production, according to federal statistics.
Multi-state project on clean energy The Northeast Electric Vehicle Network is a project of the Transportation and Climate Initiative – a regional collaboration of 11 states and the District of Columbia that seeks to develop the clean-energy economy and reduce oil dependence and greenhouse-gas emissions from the transportation sector. The Transportation and Climate Initiative is facilitated by the Georgetown Climate Center.
States participating in the Network, along with 16 of the region’s Clean Cities Coalitions, developed the analysis and recommendations - five reports in total - with WXY Architecture + Urban Design and the assistance of Energetics Incorporated. All of the reports and web tools can be found online at www.northeastEVs.org.
Experts in EV markets see the need for more charging equipment and facilities to encourage use of electric vehicles, addressing "range anxiety" in ways that will accelerate the adoption of electric cars and trucks.
“One area of focus is electric vehicle supply equipment, or EVSE – in other words, charging stations and the electrical equipment that supports them," says Lubinsky, whose firm WXY was principal author of the five reports. “EV charging infrastructure is a new idea, but more towns and cities need to plan for it, so that EV owners and fleet operators can count on getting a charge in a public place."
In this way, incorporation of EV charging stations and EVSE infrastructure will be a critical element of city planning, from large-scale neighborhood plans to smaller properties and sites.
“The promise of electric vehicles is that EV drivers should be able to charge their cars anytime and anywhere, by simply plugging into the electric grid through the nearest available charging station or outlet,” says Arroyo. “EVSE lets drivers charge up at home, at work, and countless places in between.”
The recommendations from the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network include guidance on EV charging that takes place in shared private places, such as office parks, apartment buildings and fleet depots, as well as public places like downtown parking lots and highway rest stops, among others. These places are critical to establishing a full network of charging options, say the authors; as more charging options arise, the more likely are companies and consumers to make the switch to electric vehicles.
The next wave: EV charging away from home Today, about 80% to 90% of EV charging takes place at single-family homes, according to estimates by industry sources. The Network's guidelines will help address urgently needed growth in away-from-home charging sites - a portion that is expected to grow quickly over time.
The suite of reports by WXY cover site planning – how to create better user and public interfaces for EV charging – as well as installation scenarios, from surface lots and parking garages to in-transit and trucking uses. The reports address the site design challenges associated with EV charging infrastructure, too, offering solutions for availability of power supply, size of EV parking spaces, and ways to address pedestrian traffic and lighting and visibility at charging stations.
“Many of these considerations are not yet standardized, and there are many opportunities to encourage or enforce more charging infrastructure through codes or zoning,” says WXY's Lubinsky, who also worked on recommended codes for EV charging locations. “Another issue is aesthetics, especially as people look for better designed cities and buildings.”
Representatives of the states participating in the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network, along with 16 of the region’s Clean Cities Coalitions, have participated in webinars and presentations to share the analysis and recommendations in the five reports. The report’s developers – NYSERDA and the Transportation and Climate Initiative – will also disseminate the findings as well as educational materials to EV consumers, stakeholders and government officials.
State officials, the Georgetown Climate Center, and representatives of WXY Architecture + Urban Design and Energetics Incorporated are available to discuss the recommendations with the media. All of the reports and web tools can be found online at http://www.northeastEVs.org.