Drive on Superpower: Electric Vehicle Charging

Committee: Environment

Cost: $165,000

Location: 6 public parking lots

Short Description: Dreaming of a Tesla but don’t know where to charge it? Twelve fast-charging electric vehicle ports throughout the City’s municipal lots will encourage environmentally friendly driving habits!

Long Description: There is a great need for more electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in Cambridge. Car purchasing options are increasingly expanding to electric and plug-in hybrid. Most major car companies have pledged to greatly increase their EV models. China, which controls a significant portion of the market, has committed to banning gas-fueled cars. Given this trend, the City of Cambridge needs to be proactive about setting up the infrastructure to manage an inevitable increase in demand for public charging stations.

In addition to contributing to a lofty statewide goal of putting 300,000 EVs on the road by 2025 (currently there are roughly 9,000 registered EVs in MA), an increase in the use of EVs in Cambridge will help the City and its residents decrease their reliance on fossil fuels. Widespread adoption of EVs will also improve urban air quality and can save drivers money, especially when gas prices are high and if charging can be provided by the City free-of-charge through a clean renewable energy source.

Though demand for EVs is rising, many interested buyers still have range-anxiety, i.e., they fear running out of power while out and about. Visible charging infrastructure in public places is therefore key to convincing consumers to go electric. Statistics show that public charging stations in locations where drivers are likely to park for extended periods increase their willingness to purchase an EV. For example, employees are six times more likely to purchase an EV if workplace charging is available and can be used for one-third of their charging needs. Public charging stations are critical for promoting EVs among the population of drivers in Cambridge who do not have off-street parking, and therefore have nowhere at home to charge. According to the MOR-EV statewide rebate program, at least 150 Cambridge residents currently own or lease an electric vehicle and would benefit from increased access to charging.

The six Level II charging stations, each with two ports, would provide the appropriate charge level to Cambridge citizens in municipal lots, providing quick and easy charging! Initially, the charging stations would be grid connected, but the city is moving towards having its electricity purchases be supplied by 100% renewable electricity sources. The addition of six EV charging stations in the City is vital to achieving the environmental goals to which Cambridge has committed.

Locations with cost estimates:

7 Warren Street: $25,000 (East Cambridge & Inman)
40 Granite Street: $21,000 (Cambridgeport, near Trader Joe's)
73 Sherman Street: $31,000 (Danehy)
99 Sherman Street: $24,000 (Danehy)
164 New Street: $38,000 (Fresh Pond Mall/Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s)
197 Vassal Lane: $23,000 (Fresh Pond Area, near Whole Foods)

250 Fresh Pond Parkway: $36,000 (Fresh Pond Area)

Note: This proposal will fund six of the above seven locations, since the City already has funding for one location.


Showing 6 reactions

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  • Peter Kirby
    commented 2017-12-05 23:41:34 -0500
    Cambridge should consider a different approach to charging EVs that is being implemented in parts of Europe. In conjunction with conversion of street lights to LEDs, freeing up electrical capacity, they add a special socket to the light pole. EV owners sign up to get an account with an intelligent cable that handles billing for the electricity. EV parking spaces don’t need to be dedicated, because the sockets are more plentiful. They are not fast chargers, but have ample capacity to charge overnight, for EV owners without off-street parking.
  • Jennifer Turnbull
    commented 2017-12-02 15:48:22 -0500
    I really liked this idea until I realized the bulk of the stations would be in the same area (North Cambridge). Fresh pond also serves many surrounding towns – why are the proposed stations mainly focused in that area?
  • Debbie New
    commented 2017-12-01 10:27:55 -0500
    We’re in the process of buying an EV but can’t charge it at home as we have on-street parking. We still want to get off fossil fuels! More charging stations will motivate more people to get EVs. We need to create the demand and make it easier for everyone.
  • Minka VanBeuzekom
    commented 2017-11-30 07:15:23 -0500
    Did you know that Somerville stations are free to park and charge? Melrose charges for parking but not electricity, Brookline charges for electricity but not parking. Only in Cambridge have I found that you pay for both parking and electricity in municipal lots.
  • Quinton Zondervan
    commented 2017-11-27 10:34:35 -0500
    We definitely need this. How are these cost estimates generated? EV charging is generally provided by private companies, e.g. ChargePoint (DPW & City Hall) so why is there any cost to the city?
  • Edward Woll
    commented 2017-11-21 16:31:11 -0500
    Many more local EV charging stations are needed both to encourage people to buy them or lease them. Location is very important. Consideration might be given to in or near low to moderate income residential areas within a short walking distance to grocery stores, dry cleaning and laundries, barbershops,local bank branches and other stopping points so that the drivers can do more than sit at the electric pump as well as on the street in parking meter locations. Perhaps tax taken lots could be repurposed for that use, with financing provided by electric utilities, which should be very supportive of EV charging stations as a growing market for their services.