Local land-use choices play a crucial role in successfully and efficiently establishing a comprehensive network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers for public use. Additionally, the traditional approach to zoning for gas stations is no longer entirely applicable to the evolving world of vehicle fueling/powering infrastructure.
The rapid adoption of EVs has brought the need for adequate charging infrastructure. However, one of the critical challenges facing many communities is the zoning for EV chargers, especially Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC). As the demand for EVs continues to rise, local governments and city planners must proactively adapt their zoning regulations to support this green evolution.
Zoning for EV chargers, particularly DCFCs, involves several factors. First, these chargers require strategic placement to be effective. Ideally, they should be located in areas easily accessible to drivers, such as near highways, shopping centers, and densely populated residential areas. This ensures EV owners can conveniently charge their vehicles without going significantly out of their way. However, this placement must be balanced with the potential impact on the local grid, as DCFCs draw a considerable amount of power. Therefore, collaboration with utility companies is essential to ensure the local electrical grid can support these high-powered chargers.
Zoning regulations must be updated to accommodate the physical requirements of EV charging stations. This includes considering the size and number of parking spaces required, as well as the additional infrastructure like transformers and electrical panels. Local governments should also consider aesthetic concerns, blending installations within the community’s architectural and landscape design.
Zoning for EVs
These four factors are essential in guiding how EV charging stations are integrated into zoning regulations. When incorporating EV charging infrastructure into local zoning codes, it’s crucial to consider these aspects from a land-use viewpoint:
- Duration of Use: Determine whether the chargers are intended for brief or extended usage periods.
- Quantity at a Location: Assess the number of chargers installed at a single site.
- Accessibility: Consider whether the chargers are available to the public or restricted to certain groups like customers, employees, or residents.
- Payment Responsibility: Identify who bears the cost of charging – the user or the site’s owner/operator.
How Does Zoning Promote the Expansion of EV Infrastructure?
In recent years, there have been two important changes occurring with zoning. Zoning definitions are getting more precise by differentiating installations that are EV capable or ready from those with a Level 2 or Direct Current Fast Charging station. Second, zoning codes require higher percentages of parking spaces to be set aside for charging. Analysis suggests that communities incorporate the following practices in their zoning codes:
- Clearly categorize the different types of EV charger applications.
- Specifically, allows for accessory functions.
- Establish parking design or performance criteria.
- Formulate a standard for mixed-use development.
The zoning for public EV charging infrastructure is complex but essential for communities. It requires a thoughtful approach that balances the needs of EV drivers with the capabilities of the local infrastructure and the aesthetic and functional requirements of the community. As more people turn to electric vehicles, the cities that plan ahead and adapt their zoning regulations will be best positioned to lead in this new era of transportation.
Inquiring about EV charger infrastructure for your home or business? Contact State Electric Company for a Free Quote today!
State Electric Company is a leader in the electrification of the nation. Our highly educated and experienced team of professionals uses industry-leading software technology and has partnered with manufacturers to deliver affordable solutions for all your electrical needs. State Electric Co. is also an exclusive distributor of Enel X JuiceBox EV chargers for residential and commercial use. We are fully licensed, insured, and bonded to install charging stations for homes, offices, hotels, and more. With our extensive knowledge of renewable energy, our team provides customers – large or small – with efficient electrical solutions. Contact us today to learn how we can safely and affordably meet your energy needs.