Electric Mobility Infrastructure Project Planning Checklist
This section walks through a general checklist for electric mobility project planning. The figure below provides an overview of the checklist, with the following subsections discussing each checklist item in more detail. Most of these checklist items apply to site-level planners, such as charging site hosts or other entities tasked with identifying a project’s size, cost, and plan for execution. However, some points—such as site selection and electric grid planning—are also relevant to community or corridor planners, especially since high-level planning may affect the set of candidate charging sites.
Also, as noted in the Guiding Principles for Planning and Implementation, the planning checklist is not necessarily a series of sequential steps. Instead, site-level planners may need to think about multiple issues simultaneously and possibly revisit individual checklist items throughout the planning process.
Determine the project’s scope, preliminary budget, timeline, and funding mechanism. Site-level planners may need to continually revise the project scale as they learn more about costs and other constraints specific to their site. To prepare for initial project scoping conversations, planners should develop a sense of expected interest or demand for all modes of electric mobility charging, whether present or in the future, and should begin to familiarize themselves with the types of EV and micromobility chargers; approximate costs; and available funding opportunities. On estimating demand, Assess EV Charging Needs provides technical guidance while Equity Considerations in Planning suggests methods to engage community members early in the planning process.
For fleet managers specifically, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has prepared a summary of what to expect (e.g., number of chargers needed, costs, and challenges) when electrifying fleets of different sizes.
NYC DOT Curbside Charging Pilot Program
New York City DOT (NYC DOT) partnered with a local energy company to install 120 Level 2 curbside chargers throughout NYC as part of a pilot program. Together, NYC DOT and the energy company used information from projected demands for charging, geographic diversity, and stakeholders to decide on optimal curbside locations for the chargers. In addition to installing chargers, NYC DOT added a new parking regulation that only allows users who are actively charging their EVs to be able to park at parking spaces next to chargers. After installation, the chargers have been managed and operated by the charging network company.
This pilot program was a part of a larger effort to reduce the city’s GHG emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and to create PlugNYC: a comprehensive network of publicly available EV charging stations.
In a top-down approach to planning, site-level planners work closely with a regional coalition to identify the best location for an EV charging station. Higher-level coordination can help integrate electric mobility infrastructure planning with other community-level or corridor-level planning efforts, including goals to more equitably meet community needs.
For example, curbside charging could serve multifamily housing residents or others who may not have EV charging spaces at home, in addition to the general public. Pole-mounted chargers—typically lower power chargers connected to streetlights and utility poles—as currently piloted in Kansas City and the City of Melrose, can also meet charging needs while using existing electrical infrastructure and preserving the flexibility of relocating chargers in the future.
Site-specific technical, economic, and regulatory factors will also need to be considered in initial site selection. The local utility can conduct a site assessment to help planners avoid particularly problematic or costly sites for a charging installation. In addition, consult the municipal public works department to ensure construction at a potential site will not disrupt underground water and gas pipelines and telecommunication lines.
In a bottom-up approach, individual charging site hosts may already understand their unique site-specific constraints and choose to install charging stations on their own property. Site hosts could still potentially benefit from partnering with utility coalitions and other stakeholders to achieve cost reductions (by leveraging other purchases of equipment and services) or to increase charging station utilization.
In either case, attention should be paid to avoid locations that would prevent desired improvements to multimodal travel in the future.
Planners need to engage project stakeholders, such as electric utilities, local government agencies, and members of the community. It is best to connect with utilities early in the planning process to inform them of the project and facilitate utility advance infrastructure planning, to learn about their different EV-related policies and programs, and to understand any project constraints. Also, it is helpful to explore any local government incentives and programs offered to residents and businesses to install EV chargers, and to communicate with local leaders about where publicly available charging would be valuable.
See the section on Partnership Opportunities for a more in-depth discussion of potential project partners.
It is important to holistically plan for a multimodal future when siting charging stations in the public right-of-way, accounting for future transit, micromobility, and bicycle corridors. Many cities have planned but not yet built out their networks of protected bike lanes and bus lanes, which are incompatible with EV charging at the curb. If a city has not yet adopted plans for a connected, protected bike and transit network, planners should consider developing these before installing curbside charging stations and locking in curb usage. Public charging stations should be sited in a manner that is compatible with future transportation needs and goals.
For many projects, it will be important to also get input from the broader community early in the project planning process. This will help ensure that the project meets the community’s needs and avoid unanticipated changes later on.
See the section on Engagement and Outreach Methods for more discussion on strategies for equitable community engagement in electric mobility infrastructure projects.
Site-level planners need to determine who will own, operate, and maintain the chargers and related electrical infrastructure. In general, either the utility or the utility customer can own and operate the chargers. The utility customer can be the site host—a property owner or tenant—or a third party, such as a charging network company. With third-party ownership and operation, the site host does not directly profit from the charging station revenue but may see an increased number of visitors. For example, visiting EV drivers may purchase items from a retailer’s business while charging their vehicles.
As illustrated in the figure below, there are also several possible ownership arrangements between the utility and utility customer (e.g., the site host or other third-party):
- In a “traditional” approach, the utility provides all equipment and wiring needed from the public power lines to the facility, including the meter. Then the customer pays for, owns, and maintains all front-of-meter wiring and the EV chargers, often with utility rebates. In this approach, the customer has full ownership and control over on-site wiring and chargers but also makes larger upfront investment than in alternate models.
- In a “make ready” model, the utility installs, owns, and maintains all the wiring leading up to the chargers and makes any needed service or meter upgrades. The customer owns and maintains just the EV chargers. This option typically involves new utility service and is helpful for site hosts that do not want to invest in on-site wiring upgrades.
- A “EV supply equipment (EVSE) only” model applies when the customer already has most of the needed on-site wiring. The utility still provides the equipment and wiring needed from the public power lines to the facility (as in the “traditional” and “make ready” approaches), and additionally installs and owns the charging equipment. However, little to no on-site wiring upgrades are needed.
- In a “full [utility] ownership” model, the utility owns and maintains all equipment, wiring, and chargers. In return, the utility collects payment from users of the EV charging station. For large investments like DCFC installations, this approach can help ensure long-term operability and public access.
State regulations may impact how utilities own and manage EV charging infrastructure. These regulations vary widely and therefore pose different considerations for potential business models and arrangements among site hosts, electric utilities, and charging station network operators. (For example, see the definition of a public utility in Virginia.)
AFDC’s Laws and Incentives database contains information on State-level utility regulations regarding how electricity is sold and potentially re-sold by charger operators. In addition to regulations on who can sell power, States have different taxes and fees on electricity sold by EV charging hosts, which may affect the financial bottom line and discourage potential hosts. If a site-level planner wants to pursue a model involving utility ownership or operation of the chargers, it may be best to inquire upfront with the local utility about the available options.
For additional discussion on the pricing-related decisions for different business models, see Determine Pricing, Payment, and Access.
When determining the number and types of chargers needed at a location, it is important to assess:
- The expected total demand for charging (e.g., number of vehicles per day, types of vehicles). Does the expected demand support the overall business case for the installation?
- The expected demand profile. Will demand be steady throughout the day, or will there be peaks in demand at certain times of day?
Installations should be sized to handle peak demand periods. Site-level planners should consider how the installation size and project scope accommodates peak demand, as well as ways to limit those peaks (e.g., shifting charging demand from higher-demand times to less-busy times).
The local utility may have additional recommendations on how to reduce peak demand to avoid demand charges or exceeding available power supply (see also Utility Planning). Options may include integrating energy storage technologies into the charging installation (e.g., on-site batteries) and utilizing “smart charging” strategies, such as automatically adjusting charging speeds and times to meet demand at a lower cost.
Resources for EV Infrastructure Planning includes several tools—such as Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Projection Tool (EVI-Pro) Lite and the GIS EV Planning Toolbox for MPOs—to help estimate charging and energy needs.
To ensure a project’s viability, it is important to identify regulatory requirements and necessary permits. For example, for projects that receive Federal funding, it is important to consider requirements to purchase certain products from American manufacturers (Buy America provisions), and requirements for contractors to pay locally prevailing wages on construction projects (Davis-Bacon and Related Acts).
The Federal Funding Application Process section provides more information on considerations for projects receiving Federal grants and loans.
Electric mobility infrastructure projects must also comply with applicable environmental laws and regulations. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires all Federal agencies to consider their actions’ impacts to the environment as part of their decision-making process. Compliance with NEPA and any other applicable environmental laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and National Historic Preservation Act, is required for projects that receive Federal funding or require Federal approval. The Federal agency taking primary responsibility for the environmental review process will work with the applicant for Federal funding or approval to identify which environmental statutes and executive orders will apply to the project. Many charging projects will require only a minimal environmental review due to their small footprint and lack of potential to cause significant environmental impacts.
Environmental Statutes and Executive Orders contains brief overviews of the environmental statutes and executive orders that USDOT anticipates will most commonly apply to EV infrastructure projects, though each project will be individually evaluated.
Check with the partnering Federal agency for more detailed guidance on the environmental review process. For example, see FHWA’s Environmental Review Toolkit and FTA’s Environmental Review Process webpage.
Beyond Federal laws, regulations, and permitting, the project sponsor will also need to meet relevant State and local requirements. As specific requirements vary by community or even type of site, it is important to check with local officials to confirm all applicable requirements and to ensure compliance throughout the project’s lifespan. At the same time, States and localities should review and clarify their permitting process for EV charger installation and training their permitting staff. For example, to facilitate the deployment of EV charging infrastructure, several cities—such as the City of Orlando and City of Manteca—are working to streamline and elucidate the permitting process.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities (e.g., cities and States) and places of public accommodation or commercial facilities. The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) requires that buildings or facilities designed, built, or altered with Federal dollars or leased by Federal agencies be accessible. Under both of these statutes, the U.S. Access Board is responsible for developing minimum guidelines for accessible facilities. Those guidelines become enforceable standards when adopted into regulations by the applicable Federal agencies under those statutes (USDOT and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for the ADA; the Department of Defense, U.S. Postal Service, General Services Administration, and Department of Housing and Urban Development for the ABA).
The U.S. Access Board is in the process of developing minimum guidelines for all aspects of accessible EV charging stations. In the meantime, entities subject to the ADA or ABA are already required to comply with numerous accessibility standards applicable to the design and construction of buildings and facilities, including EV charging stations. For areas and elements not already covered by applicable standards, the U.S. Access Board provides design recommendations for accessible electric vehicle charging stations. The Access Board guide differentiates between accessible parking spaces and EV charging spaces because of differences in how people with disabilities may need to maneuver near their vehicle to access chargers and the vehicle’s charging inlet.
Access Board design recommendations cover both accessible mobility features and accessible communication features of EV charging stations. Under the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards, EV charging stations must comply with the technical requirements for floor and ground surfaces (§302), clear floor or ground space (§305), reach ranges (§308), operable parts (§309), accessible routes (§402), and other provisions when needed, such as some of the provisions in parking (§502), signs (§703), and fare machines (§707). EV chargers developed, procured, maintained, or used by Federal agencies must also comply with the revised Section 508 Standards, which requires that the charger’s user interface be accessible.
ADA-compliant charging installations provide unobstructed access to equipment with easy-to-use controls, enough space for the driver with a disability to exit or enter the vehicle and allow for free movement around the charger and connection point on the vehicle. Because EV charging inlet locations vary across vehicle makes and models, charging spaces should provide a variety of access aisle locations and charger configurations to allow maneuverability around all sides of the electric vehicle.
There are no ADA and ABA standards requiring a minimum number of chargers that must be accessible at an EV charging station. In the absence of such standards, a “reasonable number” should be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
Many States have developed their own standards or guidelines for accessible design, so site-level planners should consult their local governing bodies for additional guidance in ensuring ADA-compliant parking and charging stations. For example, see North Carolina’s Accessibility for Public Charging Stations factsheet and Ohio and Virginia’s EV Charging for Persons with Disabilities.
These design standards and guidelines highlight additional accessibility considerations such as ensuring that protective bollards, wheel stops, and curbs do not block access to the charger; designing site layout to mitigate cable tripping hazards; and providing assistance to drivers with disabilities for heavier DCFC cables and connectors requiring more force to insert into EV inlets.
As noted earlier, coordinating with the local utility can be beneficial throughout the life of a project, but this coordination becomes essential at this stage of the planning process. Sites with many Level 2 chargers are more likely to strain elements of the existing local grid than sites with a single Level 1 or Level 2 charger.
While the installer can make on-site modifications, any necessary electrical supply upgrades (e.g., higher-capacity supply wires, transformers) may need to involve the local electric utility.
In addition, as illustrated in the figure below, three-phase power is required for DC fast charging. Unlike single-phase circuits which have a single “live” wire and a neutral wire, three-phase circuits have three live wires, each with its own alternating current signal, and can deliver substantially more power to the charging system.
In urban areas, three-phase power is typically available on major streets while residences and side streets are served with single-phase power.
Reach out to the local utility to discuss charging needs and understand the available power supply. Early coordination also helps ensure that major infrastructure upgrades, such as the installation of substations, do not incur avoidable costs and project delays during the implementation process.
Charging installations using off-grid power sources may provide an appealing option for avoiding expensive grid upgrades by shaving peak demand and, if combined with on-site energy storage, potential for building in resilience against power outages.
There are some emerging resources for planning installations with off-grid charging through distributed (on-site) electricity generation and on-site energy storage. Some companies are pursuing large-scale EV charging using distributed renewable power. There are also potential hybrid approaches that use both grid-power and off-grid power—for example, using batteries or generators to supplement grid power to meet peak power demands.
These “peak shaving” strategies can enable higher-power charging without electricity infrastructure upgrades and can help avoid incurring demand charges. Other companies provide charging systems that fully integrate batteries with a site’s low-power electricity supply to provide fast charging in places where it may not otherwise be possible.
It is essential to coordinate with utilities early in the planning process to understand aspects of electricity pricing that may significantly impact the financial viability of an EV charging installation. This includes basic electricity pricing (e.g., different rates for residential and commercial customers) as well as demand charges and time-of-use rates.
Demand charges are extra fees that many utilities charge to commercial and industrial customers to help cover their costs of investing in infrastructure to meet peak demands. Demand charges are applied per kilowatt (kW) of power required at a point in time and are charged on top of the costs of cumulative energy used (in kilowatt-hours, or kWh) over a billing period. They are charged by utilities when a customer’s peak demand exceeds a certain threshold, usually in the 20 kW to 50 kW range. The fees, usually ranging from $3 to $40 per kW, are determined by the highest amount of power drawn during any interval (typically 15 minutes) during a billing period and are added to a customer’s monthly bill. For example, if an on-site EV charging station causes peak demands to exceed the utility’s threshold for just 15 minutes of a given month, the facility operator may be charged up to $2,000 extra for that month. Utilities may also vary their demand charges based on the season and time of day.
The use of DCFC chargers or the simultaneous use of several Level 2 chargers can increase a facility’s peak electricity demand and trigger expensive demand charges. These demand charges increase the price of individual charging sessions and deter drivers from using the charging station. Some utilities offer programs and other solutions to reduce the initial impacts of demand charges for cases where initial charger utilization may be low, and small additional charges can significantly impact the business case for owning and operating EV infrastructure.
See the utility case studies in the 2021 Western Governors Association report for example programs.
In addition, if site hosts raise prices for their customers to cover the additional expense, demand charges could make EV charging prohibitively expensive to low-income populations and thus hinder equitable access to the energy, environmental, and economic benefits of EV ownership.
Time-of-use rates provide reduced electricity costs at certain times of the day to encourage EV charging when overall demand on the grid is low (e.g., at nighttime), helping the utility smooth out its overall demand profile. Time-of-use rates are applied per kWh used during the specified time period.
Contact your local utility to understand the costs of electricity that may apply to a particular charging station. Also ask about time-of-use rates or other special EV charging rates. Resources like the Utility Rate Database also provide a convenient method to research rates for utility companies across the U.S.
Note that a charging station’s electricity usage will be measured by the electrical meter to which the charger is connected. Owners and managers of multifamily and mixed-use buildings should determine if they need to set policies on charger access and/or recoup the cost of electricity through user payment (e.g., by kWh, by minute, or through parking premiums), depending on whether the chargers are on a dedicated, common area, or group meter.
Success Story: Off-Peak Charging for Massachusetts Residents
In 2022, an electricity company introduced its Off-Peak Charging Program to residential customers in Massachusetts. Once users enroll in the program, they can receive a $50 enrollment incentive in addition to a rebate of five cents per kWh used for EV charging during off-peak hours (9 p.m. through 1 p.m. on business days) during summer months. This rebate decreases to three cents per kWh during non-summer months. This program aims to improve the electric grid’s resilience by incentivizing charging during off-peak hours.
Some entities (e.g., public agencies) may need to follow formal procurement processes or other guidelines to obtain the necessary equipment and services for electric mobility infrastructure installations. Importantly, these procurement rules or guidelines could affect other aspects of the planning process.
For example, the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) has developed model language for State EV infrastructure grant and procurement contracts to establish a baseline for important aspects of charging station operations, such as station access, uptime (or availability), pricing transparency, and payment options.
Additionally, many localities have the option of purchasing EVSE through established State contracts, which can provide savings over bidding per contract.
Agencies should note the requirements under 23 CFR 680 and 2 CFR 200 and other applicable Federal regulations if the procurement will be conducted using funding that is administered under title 23, United States Code. State departments of transportation should also note the requirements under 23 CFR 635 and 23 CFR 636.
The timing of EVSE procurement may also be an important factor. For example, in cases where fleets are transitioning to EVs, EV charger procurement should be done well in advance of vehicle procurement, to ensure that chargers are installed and ready for use in advance of the transition.
The installing entity will need to decide if the stations will be networked or non-networked.
Networked chargers connect to the Internet or cellular service to collect payment by credit card or smart phone, transmit utilization data, including current charger availability, and support remote customer service and firmware updates. They also introduce a range of opportunities related to vehicle-to-grid integration (VGI), including unidirectional control from the grid to the vehicle (often referred to as “V1G”), which allows the grid operator to control the rate of charging to reduce demand peaks, and vehicle-to-grid capabilities (or “V2G”), which allow bi-directional communication and bi-directional flow of electricity between vehicles and the grid, allowing vehicles to provide additional grid services.
Non-networked chargers provide basic charging capabilities without an Internet connection or any advanced monitoring or payment capabilities. As a result, non-networked chargers must either collect payment through a different means (e.g., through an attendant or at a nearby establishment) or provide complimentary EV charging.
Equipment and network providers can fill important gaps in knowledge on EV charger types, needs, and capabilities. For equipment and network selection, resources such as the Go Electric Drive “EVSE Products, Charging Network and Service Providers” tool can help facilitate comparison between current choices on the market. Alternatively for equipment, see https://pluginamerica.org/get-equipped/.
The ENERGY STAR certified EVSE list helps with selecting the most energy-efficient models. The California Energy Commission EV Charger Selection Guide provides side-by-side specification comparisons of available hardware, software, and payment system options and a product photo library. An alternative approach for locating providers is to contact one of the main industry associations, such as Electric Drive Transportation Association, Plug-In America, or Zero Emission Transportation Association.
To ensure hardware-software compatibility across vendors, many equipment and network providers adopt standard protocols such as the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) and the Open Charge Point Interface protocol (OCPI) though use of these protocols is not required in the U.S. (nor do they apply to non-networked chargers).
Information on EV charging demand, siting, and electrical capacity can inform which types of EV chargers are selected and how many to install. Refer to the section on Charging Speeds for information on available charger types, namely Level 1, Level 2, and DCFC. When selecting a charger type, consider its voltages, resulting charging and vehicle dwell times, and estimated upfront and ongoing costs.
While local costs can vary significantly from the national average, a 2019 report by the International Council on Clean Transportation estimates that hardware and installation costs for networked Level 2 chargers is around $6,000 for a single-port pedestal capable of charging one vehicle and $11,000 for a dual-port pedestal that can charge two vehicles at once. Costs for non-networked chargers are significantly less at around $4,000 for a single-port and $8,000 for a dual-port charger. For DCFC units, typical costs range from $70,000 to $120,000. See the decision tree in Figure 5.8 for additional guidance in selecting a charger type.
As described in DOE’s 2015 EVSE cost report and in a 2019 report by RMI, site- and project-specific factors that may affect the cost estimate include the trenching distance to lay the electric conduit and local labor costs. Also, per-charger installation costs typically decrease significantly when additional chargers are installed on the same site and at the same time. Similarly, overall installation costs can be lower if a site completes all trenching for all conduits at once, even if the charging units themselves are not planned for installation until a later date. Innovative solutions like installation of solar-powered chargers may also decrease conduit needed. An EV charger installer can perform a site assessment to provide more tailored cost estimates for the types of chargers that meet project needs.
Additionally, a thorough assessment of installation needs and costs should include any upgrades needed to on-site electrical wiring (which is in addition to upgrades that the utility may need to do on their side of the meter). This step should also include consulting with a certified electrical contractor. The Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) provides a State-by-State listing of available certified contractors. States vary widely in terms of the availability of certified contractors. The equipment or network provider can also be a source of information for locating qualified EV charger installers.
While early estimates of O&M costs may not be very precise, they will be essential to overall financial planning and ensuring that the project scope and business model are viable. Charging stations require ongoing maintenance in the form of general inspections, repairs, cleaning equipment, and ensuring cables are securely stored. Repairing broken chargers can be costly if the chargers are no longer under warranty, so it is important to determine whether the site host, charging network, or charger installer will be responsible for the costs and to specify expectations (e.g., around response time) in maintenance contracts.
For preliminary planning, however, AFDC recommends that station owners plan for annual maintenance costs of $400 per charger. Additionally, as discussed in the Utility Planning section, total spending on electricity depends on the utility’s pricing structure, demand charges, and time-of-use rates and should be discussed with the local utility. AFDC provides additional information on O&M costs as well as other considerations for operating an EV charging station.
Beyond the cost of electricity and maintenance, some EV charging station operators may also pay a subscription fee to the network company to facilitate or manage pricing, charger access, and data collection and analysis. According to a 2014 article by RMI, these fees tend to cost around $250 annually but vary based on the capabilities of the software. Site owners may also be subject to credit card fees, which are typically a small percentage of total transactions. However, these credit card fees may be included in the subscription fees paid to the network company.
Finally, some network companies alternatively adopt a hybrid pricing model in which the site host and partner network agree to split both the costs and revenues. EV charging station operators may wish to recoup O&M costs by charging for charger use or pursuing innovative business models like selling advertising space at the charger location.
EV charging station owners and operators will have to decide among a range of options for pricing (e.g., per kWh, per unit time, by monthly subscription); payment (e.g., at the charging unit, over the phone, at a nearby establishment); and access (membership-based or open access). Agencies should note payment-related requirements under 23 CFR 680 and other applicable Federal regulations when using most types of Federal funding. Note that 23 CFR 680.116(a) requires that the price for charging must be based on the price for electricity to charge in $/kWh.
For example, as illustrated by Shift2Electric’s metering and payment table, employers offering workplace EV charging should think about whether or how to request payment for charger use and how to bill for use. Employers should also consider whether to allow the public to access their chargers. Note that as per 23 CFR 680.106(f)(2), chargers installed with funding administered under title 23, United States Code, are subject to 23 CFR 680, which requires that memberships not be required for use, nor can they be cause for delay, limit, or curtailed power flow to vehicles.
Possible pricing models depend on who owns and operates the EV chargers. Generally, site hosts who own and operate their own EV chargers can set their own prices. Some site hosts may opt to offer free charging to EV drivers. Free charging is more common for Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, which cost less to own and operate than DC fast chargers. For example, hotels or workplaces may wish to provide Level 1 or Level 2 EV charging as a complimentary service to their customers or employees.
Site hosts can alternatively decide to require payment from EV charging customers. Lower prices could attract customers while still offsetting electricity costs, including demand charges incurred through DC fast charging. Higher prices, on the other hand, could help the site host make a direct profit from EV charging. When setting prices, keep in mind that potential customers may be able to use mobile apps to locate other nearby networked chargers and to review ratings and comments from other customers.
Success Story: Providing Free Public Charging in Brookline, Massachusetts
Between 2011 and 2017, the Town of Brookline installed EV charging stations at several town-owned parking lots. These Level 2 dual port charging stations are free to use and publicly-available, except for one station that is only used for the Building Departments’ EVs. The Town of Brookline used a rebate from a utility company and local grants to fund these charging stations.
For non-networked chargers, which do not have payment collection capabilities, site hosts can collect fees through radio-frequency identification (RFID) capabilities, mobile applications, or in-person payments, such as with an attendant or at a nearby establishment. When setting prices, note that States have differing regulations. Some States classify charging station operators as public utilities, which can affect how they are allowed to charge for usage.
Network companies operating EV chargers may offer pay-as-you-go pricing as above or alternatively may offer subscription memberships at prices on the order of $4 to $8 per month. Subscription-based access may also be a feasible pricing model for employers and multifamily housing managers providing private EV chargers restricted to employees and residents.
Site hosts should also consider policies for use and should clearly communicate those policies with potential users. For example, businesses may wish to restrict EV charging spots for customer use only. As another example, for EV chargers shared among multifamily housing residents, building managers may want to specify charging time limits or to implement dwell time or idling fees (applied per minute) discouraging drivers from occupying an EV charging space while not actively charging. Services such as text alerts when a vehicle is mostly charged can facilitate shared charging station access.
Additional factors to consider in planning include station visibility, signage, and security. Adequate on-site lighting makes charging stations safer and more accessible for users. A report by the City of Houston mentions that installing motion sensing security lights or cameras and placing EV charging stations in or within sight of heavily trafficked areas may discourage vandalism. If vandalism does occur, the exterior materials used for chargers can often be easily cleaned. Additionally, the copper in charging cables can be stolen and resold. Although cord replacement is sometimes covered by insurance, site owners should check insurance and warranty policies for coverage on theft and vandalism.
Cybersecurity is also important in ensuring a reliable and resilient EV ecosystem. The public and private sectors are working together to share cybersecurity best practices and develop standards for EV charging infrastructure. For general guidance, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework can help organizations manage and reduce cybersecurity risk.
Station and Wayfinding Signage
Station and wayfinding signage help make EV users aware of available charging stations. Station signage, painted parking spots, and other ways to differentiate the charging area and improve station visibility. Station signage also helps communicate station policies such as vehicle restrictions and charging time limits. Wayfinding signage, on the other hand, assists EV users in navigating to charging stations from other locations.
Entities can also promote available charging services by adding station data to EVSE search tools, including the AFDC Station Locator.
Tourism boards and departments can also be valuable partners in advertising locations of charging stations—for example, the New Mexico Tourism Department published a travel planning tool that includes the locations of EV charging stations across the State. To support ease of use, consider options for communicating station information and policies (such as restrictions on time of day or duration for public charging) through onsite signage, on the site host’s website, and in languages other than English.
While some of these factors are not likely to present a major hurdle to project implementation, it is a good idea to identify any additional needs early and factor them into the overall planning process.
Also in this Section
Electric Mobility Infrastructure Planning for Urban Areas
Electric Mobility Infrastructure Funding
and Financing for Urban Areas