Group Calls for Creation of Formal Committee on EV Charging Stations


A citizen-led group is asking New Canaan’s highest-elected official to appoint a formal committee to plan for creation of electric vehicle charging stations in town.

The group, which includes Leo Karl III, Chris Hering and members of the Department of Public Works, has met informally to talk about EV charging stations, according to Laura Budd, chair of the Parking Commission.

Karl “is working something up send to the first selectman that we’d like to get an official committee working, because it’s so complicated.”

“There are so many options with the EV chargers,” Budd said during the Commission’s May 5 meeting, held via videoconference. “There is one going up at the Town Hall Annex, the former Outback [Teen Center], which is great and then they are hoping from some rebates they get from that to put the second one in Morse Court. So we are trying to get ahead of it but it’s so complicated. There is so much to learn, so I think we want to set up a some standards and practices for that.”

Budd referred to the Board of Selectman’s approval last month of a contract to install a “dual pole level 2 charger,” or two charging stations, in the Town Hall parking lot.

New Canaan—which only has one charging station at Morse Court and three at Karl Chevrolet (that are for evening and weekend use)—has talked about creating more of the stations for years. Concerned that New Canaan is lagging behind other towns, the Parking Commission recommended adding at least two more stations one year ago. The Commission has also recommended that town’s zoning regulations be updated to require developers building multi-unit housing to set aside a percentage of parking spaces for electric vehicles, with charging units provided. 

In September, town officials said they were working toward adding electric vehicles to the municipal fleet as part of its effort to achieve silver accreditation in the Sustainable CT program, which offers recognition and grants to towns that engage in a range of sustainability initiatives that meet state standards.

2 thoughts on “Group Calls for Creation of Formal Committee on EV Charging Stations

  1. How about the new Library for charging stations, since it is under construction, perhaps they could be built into plan.

    • Sharon, yes, the new Library will be a logical location for EV charging.

      A wide range of new Electric Vehicles are hitting the market and the trend will only continue. While most EV charging will be done at home, overnight, visibility and accessibility of public EV charging will be more and more important.

      That is why we are calling for the formalization of a ‘Municipal Standard for EV Charging in New Canaan’ as a way to plan for and implement a well-thought response to the rapidly changing market. Rather than a haphazard one-at-a-time response, we think that a planned roll-out with consistency will lead to a better result for our community and for EV drivers.

      Key items to consider:
      1) Who pays for the hardware and installation? Do we own or lease the equipment?
      2) Who pays for electricity used?
      2a) How is it paid? (by a user app? via a parking fee? provided by the town?)
      3) Who maintains the chargers? (minimal maintenance needs)
      4) Where are chargers located?
      5) What signage is used?
      6) Are the chargers part of a ‘network’ that is discoverable by EV drivers on an app?
      7) What are the parking fees, if any, when using an EV charger?
      8) Is there a preferred brand of charger? Preferred installer to keep the look and user interface similar?
      9) What type of chargers should we have in New Canaan? Level 1, 2, and/or 3? (Level 2 is most likely – 240V chargers that provide approx 25-30 miles of range per hour of charge)
      10) How can the town incentivize private commercial property owners to join this effort?
      11) Should any changes be made to local zoning rules to encourage inclusion of EV charging?

      Best practices say that EV charging should be located in higher turnover parking locations where vehicles typically stay for 90-120 minutes. That way multiple drivers can recharge during the day.

      Bottom line, there are many variables and much to be discussed. By being proactive, our town can stay ahead of trends and provide positive solutions.

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