Site Hosts for Electric Mobility Charging Stations
A site host is the owner or occupant of land on which an electric vehicle (EV) charging station or electric mobility charging hub is built. Site hosts represent a variety of industries and land use types, including:
- Tourist destinations and public lands;
- Businesses and institutions, such as offices, hotels, shops, universities, and restaurants;
- Transportation facilities, such as airports and fleet depots; and
- Community sites, such as a public library or city hall.
Additionally, site hosts have different reasons to provide EV and/or multimodal electric charging services, including:
- Attracting or retaining visitors or customers using electric mobility;
- Attracting or retaining employees using electric mobility;
- Earning revenue from user fees for electric mobility charging;
- Supporting a new fleet of electric vehicles, e-micromobility devices, or buses;
- Piloting technology, including for research projects; and
- Encouraging more widespread adoption of electric mobility for environmental and public health benefits.
Site hosts can provide public or private electric mobility charging stations. For example, municipal governments may choose to let anybody access the charging infrastructure and plug in their vehicles at publicly accessible community sites. Retail centers may also opt to install public chargers with the intent of attracting customers.
In contrast, some companies offering workplace charging at an office location may choose to restrict charging infrastructure access to just their employees. Similarly, hotels may install charging infrastructure in a private parking lot as a service only to hotel customers.
Of the approximately 13,000 privately owned Level 2 and DCFC stations nationwide, about 14 percent restrict access to select groups, such as site tenants, employees, visitors, and fleet drivers. Across all 53,100 privately, publicly, and utility-owned Level 2 and DCFC stations, just 2.5 percent are private access only.
While site hosts can initiate electric mobility charging planning and installation, they can also be key partners for other entities looking to install and operate EV charging stations.
Public-private partnerships (P3s) involve partnerships between public agencies (such as local governments and transportation authorities) and private companies to produce publicly accessible infrastructure. Benefits of using a P3 project delivery method can include leveraging private funding or financing for a project, accelerating project delivery, and minimizing risk for a public agency. Legislation enabling P3s varies across States, producing a variety of contracting options. Check FHWA’s Innovative Program Delivery Listing of State Legislation to determine which statutory framework can be used for a local project.
The following subsections discuss different types of site hosts to help urban entities identify possible partners.
Tourist destinations include any sites of natural, cultural, or historical interest for visitors, as well as nearby gateway communities that provide services to these visitors. Often, popular tourist destinations provide transportation services such as parking, shuttles, and bicycle rentals to improve the visitor experience and attract future visitors. As EVs become more commonplace, tourist destinations could provide charging infrastructure as another transportation service, allowing visitors to park and charge their EVs while visiting other site amenities, such as gift shops, restaurants, and attractions. For example, the National Park Service recently developed an electric vehicle charging map showing charging infrastructure available to visitors at park units across the country.
Common tourist destinations in urban areas and potential partners for urban charging infrastructure projects include public parks, waterfront areas, and monuments owned by Federal, State, or local government entities, and cultural institutions, including museums and public universities. Publicly available charging infrastructure at existing attractions helps to encourage visitors with EVs to visit and to support the local economy. In addition, encouraging the use of EVs in these areas helps to reduce air pollution and noise, improving the experience for visitors.
Additionally, urban areas provide many opportunities for charging infrastructure at venues that may not always be publicly accessible but provide a charging option for attendees at specific times, such as at sports stadiums or event venues. For example, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta includes charging infrastructure for up to 48 cars at a time at DCFC chargers, for those with a parking pass to the specific parking lots.
Local Businesses and Institutions
Partnerships Success Story: Charging Infrastructure at Local MarketsIn 2016, a California-based grocery store chain partnered with an EV fast charging company to install EV charging stations in several of their locations, including their stores in San Diego, Encinitas, and Hermosa Beach. As of 2020, customers have charged their EVs for over 1.8 million minutes. which prevented over 950 metric tons of GHG emissions.
Many types of local businesses—such as grocery stores and restaurants—can serve as site hosts to public EV charging stations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC), as of November 2022 there were more than 11,000 privately owned but publicly accessible Level 2 charging stations in the United States, with chargers hosted by hotels, restaurants, gas stations, car dealerships, shopping centers, airports, parking lots, banks, and other site hosts.
Like tourist destinations, local businesses can realize economic benefits from hosting a charging station. As discussed in the toolkit sections on Project Development and Scoping and Operational Planning, local businesses may own or operate the charging infrastructure and charge users a fee to plug in. Alternatively, local businesses may provide free charging or otherwise allow the utility, network company, or other third party to own or operate the charging infrastructure. In these latter arrangements, the business owner may attract more customers and customer spending.
Multifamily housing includes apartment buildings, condominiums, and townhouses as well as mixed-use developments with a combination of residential and retail, office, cultural, or other non-residential space. In 2019 approximately 31 percent of residences in the U.S. were multifamily homes, and in 2021, construction was completed on around 12,000 multifamily buildings containing 371,000 housing units, compared to 970,000 new single-family homes.
Twin Cities All-Electric Car-Sharing NetworkIn 2021, the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis launched an all-electric car-sharing service, with a local nonprofit organization. This car-sharing service has over 150 vehicles parked at 70 curbside car-charging stations in a 35-square mile “Home Area.” These charging stations include a spot for the car-sharing vehicle and a spot for a personal vehicle. The nonprofit organization will manage the operations of this service.
Multifamily housing serves all segments of the population and varies greatly in costs and amenities. Multifamily housing may be designated or subsidized for students, older adults, and low-income families and individuals, and is an important source of affordable housing for renters. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, around 43 million U.S. households are renters, with 36 percent of renters living in apartment buildings. Of these apartment households, about 74 percent have at least one vehicle. Ensuring the 26 percent of apartment households who do not own vehicles have access to the electrification transition through electric transit, electric school buses, and electric micromobility is a critical component of transportation equity.
Real estate developers are crucial partners in installing EV chargers in new multifamily construction. Several municipalities are adding EV provisions to their building codes, local ordinances, and zoning requirements to promote EV-ready parking.
In existing buildings, residents may face challenges unilaterally installing home charging; therefore, landlords, homeowners’ associations, or other property managers need to be engaged to retrofit existing parking with EV chargers.
Some cities and States offer grants and financial incentives to expand access to home charging for residents of multifamily housing, such as Vermont’s pilot Multiunit Dwelling Electric Vehicle Charging Grant Program. DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office funded several projects that included innovative approaches to deploying EV chargers at multifamily housing and developed considerations for similar projects.
Another DOE-funded project, Vehicle Charging Innovations at Multi-Unit Dwellings, provided a set of tools for multi-unit building owners, residents, and homeowner associations to facilitate the discussions around installing EV chargers in these buildings.
Transportation facilities, such as airports and park-and-rides, also serve as important site hosts. Airports are ideal hosts for a range of charging infrastructure. DCFC stations in short-term parking lots could serve EV drivers who are waiting to pick people up at the airport, while Level 1 charging is sufficient for long-term parking lots to serve travelers leaving for multiday trips. For example, the Port of Seattle and the Washington State Department of Transportation collaborated with EV charging companies in a public-private partnership to install two fast-charging EV stations at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport’s cell phone lot. Rental car companies at or near airports are also potential site hosts as they seek to electrify their own fleets. See Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Airport Parking Facilities for additional information on the relevant policy, planning, and implementation considerations for partnering with an airport facility manager.
Mass transit parking lots offer an opportunity for electric mobility charging and may only require Level 2 charging due to the long parking dwell time for commuters. These facilities would particularly serve EV-driving renters that do not have access to chargers at home. For example, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in California first installed EV charging stations in 2017 at the Warm Spring Station, with 42 Level 2 charging ports for BART riders. The agency also installed four Level 2 charging ports at the Lafayette BART station. BART installed these original charging stations as part of a pilot to study their use and effectiveness, and incorporated this information into their BART Electric Vehicle Charging Policy, which was adopted in November 2021 and will guide future charging infrastructure installment.
Though not necessarily publicly accessible, fleet depots are crucial site hosts for fleet owners to transition to EVs. In most cases, transit agencies and privately owned truck and bus fleets will want dedicated EV charging infrastructure that is not open to the public. However, some types of fleet charging, like charging infrastructure serving municipal fleets or vehicles operated by community-based organizations, could also serve the public during set hours.
Municipal, county, and Tribal governments are crucial partners as community site owners. Community sites such as libraries, schools, business districts, and even public facilities like curbside parking spaces play an important role in ensuring widespread access to EV charging. For example, renters may not have options for home-based charging unless their landlords choose to install charging infrastructure. Residents who have only Level 1 charging capabilities at home may find they need to travel long distances on single trips, not have sufficient downtime at home for charging, or experience financial burden from home charging, particularly during peak times for electricity use.
In higher density neighborhoods, curbside charging options can serve residents and businesses that are reliant on street parking. For example, New York City is installing 120 Level 2 charging ports as part of a four-year pilot project, with locations selected based on projected demand and stakeholder input. Similarly, the city of Melrose, Massachusetts mounted EV chargers on electric utility poles to serve visitors to the nearby town center. For information on “lessons learned” from DOE-funded curbside EV charging, EV carshare, and EV mobility hub projects, see funded project summaries from DOE’s Clean Cities Coalition Network. Also, consideration is needed of other potential uses of the curb, such as bike or transit lanes or pedestrian space. Urban EV charging stations can benefit more residents of the neighborhood by also providing charging for e-bikes, e-scooters, and/or electric car-share vehicles.
EV chargers that are publicly available, especially those with unrestricted access, can fill the gaps in EV charging to make an electric vehicle a feasible option for residents with diverse transportation needs.
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