Charging Plug-In Electric Vehicles in Public

Photo of a public charging station.

General public charging uses Level 2 (shown here) or DC fast charging.

For fleet drivers and consumers to charge their plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)—which include 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 PEVs more convenient. Although the majority of PEV owners 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 uses Level 2 or DC fast charging. 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, airports, hotels, government offices, and other businesses. Public charging should also be located along highway corridors.

Learn about charging infrastructure development and operation and maintenance, and read a case study on public charging station procurement. For more information about infrastructure costs and charging infrastructure development, refer to the report: Costs Associated With Non-Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment.

Fleet Charging

Fleets that choose to incorporate PEVs into their operations must consider several factors when planning for charging stations. Peak demand, duty cycles, 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.

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 PEV readiness of communities. Each has a different potential role to play, and working in tandem can often best encourage the adoption of vehicle charging infrastructure.

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

  • Codes: Codes can specify scoping requirements for certain features in new construction, such as requiring the installation of charging infrastructure or electrical conduit, and can provide for new permitting or inspection protocols. Refer to the National Institute of Science and Technology's (NIST) Handbook 44 Device Code Requirements for Electric Vehicle Fueling

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.