Charging Plug-In Electric Vehicles in Public

Photo of a public charging station.

A standardized plug means vehicle owners do not need to worry about compatibility issues at stations.

For fleet drivers and consumers to charge their all-electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in public, charging stations must be deployed and integrated with consideration for daily commutes and typical driving habits.

Charging Stations

Public charging stations make all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles more convenient. Although the majority of early EV and PHEV owners will charge at single-family homes, public charging and workplace charging stations can increase the daily useful range of EVs and reduce the amount of gasoline consumed by PHEVs.

General public charging will use AC Level 2 or DC fast charging. AC Level 1 and 2 charging stations should typically be located where vehicle owners are highly concentrated and parked for long periods of time, such as shopping centers, city parking lots and garages, airports, hotels, government offices, and other businesses.

Read more about infrastructure costs and charging infrastructure development in the report Costs Associated With Non-Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment.

Learn about the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities infrastructure projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other infrastructure deployment projects.

Fleet Charging

Fleets that choose to incorporate EVs or PHEVs into their operations must account for several factors when planning for charging stations. Peak demand, duty cycles, drive cycles, routes, garaging locations, vehicle models, and availability of off-site public charging stations can all factor into decisions about the number, location, and type(s) of charging units. City planners, fleet managers, and utilities can work together with installers to determine the best locations. For more information, see Clean Cities' Plug-In Electric Vehicle Handbook for Fleet Managers.

Zoning, Codes, and Parking Ordinances

Zoning, codes (including permitting), and parking ordinances are all regulatory tools at the disposal of state and local officials to further the EV readiness of communities. Each has a different potential role to play, and working in tandem can often best encourage the adoption of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

  • Zoning: Appropriate zoning will not restrict the adoption of EVSE and may actually incentivize or require its implementation.

  • Codes: Codes can specify scoping requirements for certain features in new construction and can provide for new permitting or inspection protocols. Refer to these resources from the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST):

  • Parking Ordinances: Parking regulation and enforcement is typically a shared responsibility in municipalities, requiring participation of departments of transportation, law enforcement, public works, permitting, and other key players in the management of transportation and traffic.

For more information, see the Transportation and Climate Initiative Georgetown Climate Center reports on Creating EV-Ready Towns and Cities: A Guide to Planning and Policy Tools and EV-Ready Codes for the Built Environment.