Planners & Municipalities

New York is seeing a shift in the transportation industry toward electrification, which is changing how people drive and fuel vehicles. More people are driving electric vehicles (EVs) – including EV fleets –and using charging stations (also called electric vehicle supply equipment, or EVSE). Municipalities can prepare for this by amending local rules and regulations to be more EV-friendly.

Take advantage of NYSERDA’s policy and planning best practices for becoming EV-ready [PDF] to best prepare your community for the benefits of electric vehicles and support residents who make the investment in cleaner cars. These best practices cover zoning ordinances, local permitting practices and building codes, parking regulations, and the importance of involving relevant stakeholders to develop community EV-readiness plans.

Understand what charging equipment is best for different public settings

In planning for EV charging infrastructure it is important to understand the differences between charging equipment and the optimal number of charging stations for different settings based on expected EV use. The type and number of EVs in a community will help shape how many and what kind of charging station an EV owner might need. Different types of charging stations will charge EV batteries at different rates. The type of charging station at each site should correspond with the amount of time a vehicle might be parked there while the driver is shopping, working, or enjoying entertainment.

Use codes and permitting practices to encourage charging station use

Simple and consistent charging station permitting processes can make operating an EV much easier for community residents and visitors. Current national building and electrical codes neither inhibit nor facilitate the implementation of charging stations. But at a municipal level, the adoption of certain provisions in local codes has successfully encouraged EV-readiness in some jurisdictions.

EV Ready Codes for the Built Environment [PDF] explains how codes relate to charging stations and what code provisions could be incorporated into local code to encourage a basic or advanced level of EV-readiness.

How charging station installations are classified within a jurisdiction can impact the time and cost of the permitting process. Permit Process Streamlining [PDF] reviews best practices for residential charging station permitting and presents sample application forms.

Consider users in designing charging stations

While the charging station host is responsible for the siting and design of public charging stations, municipalities should encourage compliance with industry best practices. Examples of these are outlined in Site Design for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations [PDF], a resource for local governments to share with charging station hosts during the installation planning phase. The guide raises key issues that site owners should consider, such as where to place charging stations within a parking lot, how to account for the charging cord, and how to accommodate disabled EV drivers.

Municipalities can also encourage site owners to follow best practices and learn from prior installations documented in case studies from around New York State. Case studies include host perspectives ranging from workplaces to retail, and multi-family housing to higher education.

Enforce proper signage at charging stations

Encourage the proper use of signage at charging station spaces by reviewing recommendations outlined in EVSE Signage Overview [PDF]. This report includes industry-accepted and Department of Transportation-authorized signage along with guidance on ideal placement. This signage guidance makes it easier for EV drivers to find chargers and for non-EV drivers to understand that the spaces are reserved for EVs. Municipalities can encourage or require usage of appropriate signage at charging station locations using this information.

Incorporate charging stations into planning

Planning boards play a critical role in all new development, which requires their approval to proceed.  When new projects are being reviewed, the planning board may make recommendations or requirements for if the project proceeds. NYSERDA’s best practices guide, Promoting Electric Vehicle Charging Station InstallationsLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., suggests ways that planning boards can encourage developers to include charging stations in their projects.

As mentioned in the introduction it is also critical to involve relevant stakeholders in developing community EV-readiness plans. These stakeholders may include local utilities, workplaces, employers, car dealerships, retailers, advocates, and EV drivers. Reviewing these resources and contacting a local Clean Cities Coalition are good first steps to finding ways a municipality can encourage EV adoption.