Electricity as alternative fuel
Last year, Raleigh, N.C., installed its first publicly available electric vehicle (EV) charging stations as it began building out its alternative fuel infrastructure for EVs. In addition to installing public charging stations, the city has established a process for permitting and installing the stations at residences and businesses, and it is working with community partners to expand support for EVs in the region.
Two years ago, Raleigh, N.C., and the Research Triangle Region joined Project Get Ready, a non-profit initiative led by Snowmass, Colo.-based Rocky Mountain Institute designed to help U.S. cities prepare for plug-in vehicles. Representatives from Raleigh's Office of Sustainability, and departments of transportation, development services, permitting, administration and public affairs met with locally based utility Progress Energy and non-profit energy advisor Advanced Energy to begin planning the alternative fuel infrastructure and support network for EVs.
The team created a permitting and installation processes to facilitate the quick installation of charging equipment in public locations and private residences. As a result, the entire assessment, permitting, installation and inspection process for a home charging station can be completed in two days.
Next, Raleigh began installing the first of its public charging stations in fall 2010. It contracted with locally based Eaton Corp. to install three street parking charging stations and with General Electric to install four charging stations in city parking garages. The city will install 10 to 12 more public stations before the end of the year. They are free to the public at this phase of the project, during which the city will collect data on their use.
The project is funded by a combination of federal and state grants, matching funds from the city and in-kind contributions, totaling $207,000. In addition, the city is working with private property owners, such as shopping malls, to discuss locating charging infrastructure on their properties.
Raleigh leaders anticipate 140 privately owned EVs will be operating in the region in the near term. "We are excited about the progress the City of Raleigh has made in developing an EV infrastructure," says Paula Thomas, manager of the Raleigh Office of Sustainability. "Our partnerships have been pivotal to our success, and we expect that the capacity we've built will allow continued growth and development as we prepare for the regional roll-out of electric vehicles."
Project: Electric vehicle charging stations
Jurisdiction: Raleigh, N.C.
Agencies: Office of Sustainability, Triangle Clean Cities Coalition
Vendors: Locally based Eaton Corp., Advanced Energy, and Progress Energy; Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric; Mooresville, N.C.-based PowerWorks Electric; and Snowmass, Colo.-based Rocky Mountain Institute
Date began: November 2010