Electric Vehicle Readiness
What is EV Readiness?
EV readiness is how state and local leaders prepare for the growing number of EVs on the road, by developing EV-related infrastructure, policies, and services.
Electric vehicle (EV) readiness guidance can help communities evaluate their readiness and plan for the arrival of EVs and EV charging. As local and regional leaders know, EV readiness is a community-wide effort, requiring planning, policies, and support services to prepare for the growing number of EVs and charging infrastructure. The following are a series of topics, questions, and resources that will help your community prepare for EV adoption and readiness.
- Assess Charging Infrastructure Needs
- Utility Engagement
- How Can the Community Futureproof EV Planning?
- Secure Funding
- Site and Plan Development Projects
Understand EV Charging Basics
How do EVs and EV charging stations work?
EVs—the collective term for all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles—are capable of drawing electricity from the grid and other off-board electrical power sources and storing the energy in batteries.
Powering EVs with electricity is currently cost effective compared to using gasoline. However, the cost is dependent on the price of electricity, which can vary by region, type of generation, time of use, and access point.
Many EV owners choose to do the majority of their charging at home (or at fleet facilities, in the case of commercially owned fleets) where the cost to charge will typically be lower than at public chargers. That said, EV drivers also have access to public charging stations in a variety of places, such as along interstate highways, shopping centers, public parking garages and lots, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses. Public charging infrastructure is rapidly expanding, providing drivers with the convenience, range, and confidence to meet their transportation needs. The 2030 National Charging Network: Estimating U.S. Light-Duty Demand for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure report presents a quantitative needs assessment for a national charging network capable of supporting 30-42 million EVs on the road by 2030.
For more information about electricity production and the EV market visit the Electricity Basics page.
What are the key technical terms to know when talking about EV charging stations?
Stakeholders should be aware of several technical areas relating to levels of charging, common hardware and software specifications, and average costs before starting their EV readiness planning process. Refer to the Developing Infrastructure to Charge EVs page for information on technical terms related to EV charging stations.
What is a Clean Cities Coalition?
Clean Cities coalitions are on the ground throughout the United States to assist with projects related to alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure and can serve as a valuable source of information. Find your local Clean Cities director through the Clean Cities Coalition Contact Directory.
The Clean Cities coalition director can connect your community to EV infrastructure funding sources, state and regional engagement opportunities, and other local partners looking to take part in EV charging station deployment.
What stakeholders should the community engage?
Planning for EVs requires coordination and collaboration across many sectors, some of which do not often work together such as transportation agencies, energy companies, and small businesses. Successful EV readiness projects involve a wide variety of stakeholders that represent different perspectives and concerns to ensure all impacts are considered. By incorporating different types of expertise, EV readiness planning will be more inclusive and balanced. Examples of stakeholders include:
- Relevant city departments, including transportation, transit, fleet, public works, and sustainability departments
- Other public and private fleets
- Local Clean Cities coalitions
- Local businesses, including building developers, car dealerships, and other employers
- Local institutions, such as universities
- Environmental and sustainability groups, including EV engagement groups
- Representatives from marginalized and disadvantaged communities
For additional details on local and regional level partnerships and engagement, visit the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Local and Regional EV Planning Partners page. It is essential to ensure all stakeholders are heard and receive the technical expertise required for EV planning.
Has the community provided equitable engagement of stakeholders in planning?
Ensuring equitable access to EV charging is an important consideration when planning infrastructure development. Underserved and rural communities are typically exposed to a higher proportion of environmental hazards and EV charging infrastructure can make it easier to encourage EV adoption as a strategy to reduce air quality and other environmental impacts.
There are many resources available to help rural and underserved communities navigate EV adoption and infrastructure deployment. DOT’s Charging Forward Toolkit for Planning and Funding Rural Electric Mobility Infrastructure provides insights and solutions to community engagement and project planning for challenges specific to rural communities.
The following resources provide guidance for incorporating community engagement, energy, and environmental justice goals:
- Removing Barriers to EV Adoption by Increasing Access to Charging Infrastructure
- Expanding Equitable Access to EV Mobility
- EVs for All: Electrifying Transportation in Low-Income Communities
Additionally, some federal programs have more specific guidelines for engagement and consideration of disadvantaged and underserved communities. The Justice40 initiative sets a federal government goal that 40% of overall benefits from certain federal investments go to disadvantaged and underserved communities.
The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation developed a tool to identify underserved communities for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. Visit Argonne National Laboratory’s EV Charging Equity Considerations page to use the tool to identify underserved communities for NEVI Formula Program funding.
The following are additional tools that may be used to identify underserved communities:
- Electric Vehicle Infrastructure for Equity Model provides predictions and suggestions for more equitable and just EV adoption and infrastructure deployment in the future.
- Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool identifies communities that are disadvantaged for the Justice40 Initiative.
Engaging Site Hosts
Are property owners interested in hosting EV charging stations?
There are several partners that communities may wish to engage during EV planning and deployment. However, one of the most important stakeholders to engage with early are potential site hosts. Visit the DOT Site Hosts for EV Charging Stations page to learn more about the benefits of EV charging stations for site hosts.
A site host is the owner or occupant of land on which an EV charging station is built. Site hosts represent a variety of industries and land use types, including:
- Tourist destinations and public lands
- Businesses and institutions, such as hotels, shops, universities, and restaurants
- Transportation facilities, such as airports and fleet depots
- Community sites, such as a public libraries or town halls
- Attracting or retaining EV-driving visitors or customers
- Attracting or retaining EV-driving employees
- Earning revenue from user fees for EV charging
- Supporting a new fleet of EVs or buses
- Encouraging more widespread adoption of EVs for the environmental and public health benefits
Is your state is engaged in any statewide education and outreach initiatives?
Communication about readiness planning and community education are key to EV readiness planning success. Messages should be tailored for different audiences, which could include the stakeholders listed above as well as residents, first responders, and tourism professionals.
Contact your local Clean Cities coalition to learn more about education initiatives and engagement opportunities happening in your state and more locally.
Is there a local or state-wide EV charging plan?
Some states have developed an EV charging plan, such as an EV roadmap, which sets statewide EV charging station deployment or EV adoption goals. A handful of states have also passed laws and regulations including the Zero Emission Vehicle and Low Emission Vehicle Standards that set greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements from motor vehicles which may impact local EV adoption and charging station needs. Search for your state on the Laws and Incentive database to view statewide plans, laws, and regulations that may help you determine community level goals.
Additionally, through the NEVI Formula Program, DOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides funding to states to deploy DC fast charging stations along Alternative Fuel Corridors. State departments of transportation are required to develop state EV Infrastructure Deployment Plans to access NEVI Formula Program funds. Find your state EV Infrastructure Deployment Plans on the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation State Plans for EV Charging page to read more about your states plans for statewide EV infrastructure deployment and engagement opportunities.
Regional EV collaboratives such as Regional Electric Vehicle Midwest and Regional Electric Vehicle West may also provide guidance and planning opportunities with local communities and offer a regional perspective to EV infrastructure planning.
Assess Charging Infrastructure Needs
How many EVs are registered in your community?
There are a few tools that may help evaluate the status of EV adoption in your community. The EV Registrations by State chart provides a high-level picture of EV adoption for your state. To explore light-duty vehicle registration counts over time by state and fuel type, see the TransAtlas interactive map. If you’re interested in more granular data in your state, talk with your local Clean Cities coalition.
What EV makes and models are available in your area?
To identify makes and models of EV on the market use the Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Search. When vehicles are first released, they may only be available in certain states or dealerships. Contact your local dealerships to learn about available makes and models.
EV Charger Availability
How many public and private EV chargers are in your community?
The Station Locator helps users locate alternative fueling stations and view maps and driving directions to alternative fueling stations. This tool can also be used by community leaders to identify existing charging stations and assess the gaps in charging infrastructure. Use the Advanced Filters tab to filter by state, fuel type, and accessibility. It is also important to note that the map provides data for proprietary EV charging stations that may not be accessible to all EV drivers.
How many EV chargers are needed to support your community EV adoption goal?
Once you have identified EV adoption goals using state and local level planning noted above, use the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Projection Tool (EVI-Pro) to estimate how much EV charging infrastructure your city or community may need to support EV goals. EVI-Pro has been used for detailed planning studies in Massachusetts, Columbus, California (2018), California (2021), Maryland, and for a National Analysis of U.S. communities and corridors.
Many cities and communities that have started EV planning that may provide a good example of incorporating statewide plans with local level planning. For example, you may find the City of Seattle case studies about local and city-wide EV infrastructure planning useful in developing adoption goals:
- Seattle: An Early EV Adopter, Still Leading the Charge
- Electrifying Seattle with Equity
- Seattle Moving Toward a 100% Electrified Municipal Fleet
What are the housing characteristics of your community? How may they impact EV charging infrastructure and EV adoption?
In determining your community’s readiness, it is important to evaluate local characteristics that may influence EV adoption. Factors to consider include housing market characteristics, such as the number of multifamily housing complexes, and population data, including income and driving patterns.
When designing EV charging infrastructure projects community planners should provide the most appropriate charging solutions for the community. For example, a high-density urban area with multifamily housing might benefit from Level 2 curbside charging, while a more rural community may not have on-street parking and would benefit instead from centralized DC fast charging.
To evaluate your community characteristics visit the U.S. Census Bureau website, which provides information about community population size, average commute to work, and housing demographics.
Utilities are a crucial partner in EV deployment, therefore increased coordination and collaboration with your local utility is necessary to ensure successful EV charging station deployment.
What are the utility rates in your area? Do utilities have rate programs for EV charging?
Determining local electricity rates is important to understanding total cost of ownership. Siting in locations with high demand charges will incur greater expense therefore estimating usage will be critical in determining ownership costs. To learn more about these factors and determine average electricity costs visit the U.S. Energy Information Administration Electricity Explained: Factors affecting electricity prices page.
Many utilities offer EV and EV charging purchasing incentives, technical assistance, and time of use rates that alleviate demand charges associated with EV charging. Use the Laws and Incentives page to search for utility EV programs in your area. Refer to the Examples of Utility-Related Laws and Incentives page for examples of utility EV programs.
Are the utilities able to conduct site assessments to identify power supply and availability at potential locations?
Once your community has identified ideal EV charging station locations through the steps above, evaluating electrical supply needs to support EV charging infrastructure at those locations is an important next step in EV charging station site evaluation. Use the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Zones Mapping Tool to determine potential energy resources near potential EV charging station locations. This tool allows users to visualize EV charging station locations, electrical power plant capacity, electrical substations, FHWA Designated EV Corridors, and environmental and demographic data.
Contact your local utility to arrange site level evaluations of potential charging station locations and understand the power availability and electrical upgrades needed to power the charging station capacity and usage estimates determined above.
How Can the Community Futureproof EV Planning?
Has your community considered developing EV-ready building codes?
Including EV readiness requirements in state or local building codes can be a useful tool to prepare your community to meet an increase in EV charging demand. Refer to the Building Codes, Parking Ordinances, and Zoning Ordinances page for more information on incorporating EV readiness in building codes.
Does the community have standards for EV charging station technology?
When drafting policy or program requirements, it is a best practice to be technology agnostic so as not to prescribe one technology over another. By not favoring a specific technology, future technologies are not immediately excluded from policies or programs and thus do not require amendments for inclusion. One example of an industry standard that may be adopted at a local level is the Open Charge Point Protocol, which applies to EV charging station networking. Networked charging infrastructure is connected to the internet and allows site hosts to offer radio-frequency identification (RFID), smart phone, or credit card payment; monitor and analyze use; and provide customer support. For more information on open access, see the Open Charge Alliance.
Does the community hope to expand charging infrastructure in the future?
Use future EV adoption goals determined by the community to understand future charging needs. If the community’s goal is to increase EV ownership and charging station usage, consider upgrading electrical and running cables to support future charging station needs.
You may also be interested in reviewing the Michigan “Dig Once” rule tool, which encourages statewide coordination of infrastructure planning to help reduce construction costs.
Has the community identified any state, private, or federal incentives for EV charging?
The Federal and States Laws and Incentives search allows you to identify incentives by keyword or categories, such as jurisdiction, technology/fuel type, incentive type, and user type.
For the full picture of EV-related laws and incentives your state offers you may also search by state. The full state page lists out state incentives, utility-private incentives, and laws and regulations that may impact your EV charging station build out. The page also has contact information for local Clean Cities coalitions who can help you find EV charging station funding opportunities in your state.
Use the Federal Laws and Incentives page to identify federal funding opportunities for EV charging stations. Notably, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 have major opportunities for EV adoption and EV charging equipment deployment.
Navigate to the State Electrification Planning and Funding page for overviews of the funding programs developed by the BIL. There are two opportunities highlighted below that provide funding to states and local governments for EV charging station deployment:
- NEVI Formula Program provides funding to state departments of transportation for deployment of DC fast charging stations. State departments of transportation oversee administering this funding and will be coordinating with local level governments at their discretion for deployment.
- Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program will allow local governments to apply directly for EV infrastructure deployment.
To administer these funding programs as well as other efforts, the BIL also established the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to facilitate coordination between DOE and DOT. The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation website provides additional information and resources available for BIL EV infrastructure deployment programs. The Inflation Reduction Act provides tax incentives for fueling infrastructure including EV charging stations starting. DOT’s Rural EV Funding Matrix provides a table of funding sources with EV eligibilities in rural areas.
Site and Plan Development Projects
Are there any gaps in charging station availability that the community would like to see filled?
Use the tools and steps available on this page to complete a gap analysis for your community and evaluate which locations would be best suited to have a charging station and the type of charger necessary for that location.
Some other key factors to consider include the power availability, proximity to amenities such as bathrooms and food, and construction costs.
Prioritizing potential site locations can depend on a range of factors, such as:
- Areas or locations with underserved communities
- Proximity to public transportation and travel corridors
- Proximity to local public services
- Proximity to local businesses
- Proximity to nearby multifamily housing
- Availability of parking
Use the EV Charging for Multifamily Housing page to evaluate additional considerations for the siting EV charging stations near multifamily housing.
What will installation costs be at the chosen site?
There are many factors to consider when estimating total cost of EV infrastructure installation. For an overview of cost considerations visit the Charging Infrastructure Procurement and Installation page, which discusses equipment, installation, and networking fees as well as other cost considerations like permitting, signage, and utility upgrades.
Who will oversee operating and maintaining the charging stations?
Charging station ownership typically falls into one of two categories: site host-owned or third party-owned (e.g., owned by a charging network), though there are other possible arrangements. Charging infrastructure owned by the site host is purchased, installed, and maintained by the site host, which allows for full control over the station and the ability to keep all revenue from the station (if applicable). In this scenario, site hosts are responsible for all associated costs, including any maintenance or payment transaction fees. Charging infrastructure owned by a third party is installed and maintained by the third party, which minimizes responsibility to the site host. In some cases, the site host may also earn revenue by leasing the space occupied by the charging infrastructure to the third party. For more information on operations and maintenance of EV charging stations and pricing, visit the Operations and Maintenance page.
Regulations and Permitting
What local standards and approvals are required for EV charging infrastructure development and construction?
Prior to EV charging station installation, communities should evaluate the state and local level regulations and permitting that may impact development. Examples of potential regulations include permitting, building codes, parking ordinances, and zoning ordinances.
Review the Building Codes, Parking Ordinances, and Zoning Ordinances page to learn more about how state and local governments can influence EV infrastructure planning by creating design standards, requiring a minimum number of EV-ready spaces for new construction, or classifying EV charging stations as an allowable use in zoning ordinances. Communities can also use the Laws and Incentives database Search to identify regulations that may be required for EV charging equipment deployment in their state.
Charging station installations must comply with local, state, and national codes and regulations, and be completed by a licensed electrical contractor. An electrical contractor should be aware of the relevant codes and standards and should obtain a permit from the local building authorities before installing charging infrastructure. Additional time may be needed, as the permitting process could require a site installation plan, and approval from fire, environmental, or electrical inspection entities.
You may search for qualified electrical contractors on the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) Find a Contractor page. EVITP offers technical EV charging station installation courses and certification in collaboration with industry.
For more comprehensive guidance on all aspects of charger installation, including planning, permitting, construction, and accessibility considerations, see the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development 2023 EV Charging Station Permitting Guidebook(PDF). Visit the EV Permitting page for more information on what state and local governments can do to streamline the permitting process for EV charging station installation.
Additionally, if your community does not have EV local level regulations, it is important to understand how permitting, building codes, parking ordinances and zoning ordinances can further the EV readiness of communities and regions, whether implemented individually or in combination with one another. State and local jurisdictions should assess their unique objectives and identify the best of these approaches to support EV charging station development.
What national standards and approvals are required for EV charging infrastructure development and construction?
If the community is considering federal funding opportunities, such as those administered through the BIL, there may be additional standards and permitting requirements. These requirements may include:
- The National Environmental Policy Act
- The National Historic Preservation Act
- The Threatened and Endangered Species Act
- Executive Order 11988, “Floodplain Management”
Additionally, EV charging infrastructure funded under provisions outlined in 23 U.S. Code such as the NEVI Formula Program are as Federal-aid Highway Program projects. As such, additional standards and restrictions may apply to projects funded through these programs.
Is there clear and cohesive signage to identify EV chargers?
Signage for EV charging stations is an important consideration for workplaces, public locations, parking garages, and multifamily residential complexes.
Appropriate charging station signage can:
- Help EV drivers navigate to and identify charging stations
- Optimize use of charging infrastructure by helping all drivers understand that parking spaces at charging stations are for EVs only
- Provide information about policies—such as access, time limits, and hours of use—and facilitate enforcement
- Enable uptake of EVs by providing visibility for charging infrastructure to prospective EV drivers.
- Identify charging station corridors.
The Signage for EV Charging Stations page discusses the different types of EV charging station signage and how to use signage to guide patrons to EV charging stations.
FHWA defines the minimum standards for signage, which it publishes in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and is updated every five to six years.
Are there local, state, or national requirements for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
Considering ADA requirements and guidance during EV charging station design is crucial to ensure equitable access to EV charging stations. The U.S. Access Board report Design Recommendations for Accessible EV Charging Stations provides information about accessible routes, access aisles, accessible communication features, and number of accessible chargers that states and localities can use to help design accessible EV charging sites. Many states and local governments may have their own guidance for ADA accessibility for EV charging stations.
Is the community ready to deploy EV charging infrastructure?
Once your community has considered all the above questions, evaluated needs for charging infrastructure, and engaged the community and identified locations, it is time to start project implementation.
Use the Infrastructure Development Checklist available on the Infrastructure Development page to guide implementation.
Refer to the following links for examples of municipal, regional, and state-wide EV readiness planning efforts.
Examples of Projects and Plans
- EV community readiness projects
- Seattle, WA case study
- Aspen, CO EV readiness plan
- Bay Area, CA EV readiness plan
- Boulder, CO EV infrastructure and adoption assessment
- Coachella Valley, CA EV readiness plan
- Fort Collins, CO EV readiness roadmap
- County of Santa Clara EV best practices compendium
- Northern New Jersey alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure report
- San Diego, CA EV readiness plan
- San Joaquin Valley, CA EV readiness plan
- Tahoe-Truckee, CA and NV EV readiness plan