ANN ARBOR, MI — An ordinance awaiting final City Council approval will require new developments in Ann Arbor to look to the future and install electric vehicle charging stations.
The city’s new EV parking ordinance was unanimously approved by council at first reading in December and awaits final adoption following a public hearing Jan. 19.
As part of the city’s A2Zero initiative to achieve communitywide carbon-neutrality by 2030 to reduce pollution and fight climate change, Ann Arbor is calling for adding thousands of EV chargers throughout the city — putting the infrastructure in place to allow the community to transition away from gasoline vehicles and the emissions they produce.
In tandem, the city has a goal of powering the entire community with 100% renewable energy within 10 years, and having a transportation system that contributes zero emissions to climate change.
As it stands now, emissions from transportation — including private vehicles, trucks, buses and motorcycles — still account for about 18% of the community’s emissions, according to the city’s new transportation plan.
“With continued job and population growth, emissions from transportation are projected to increase over the coming years without further action,” the plan states.
For 2021, the city’s sustainability office has a goal of adding 100 new EV chargers throughout the community, including four rapid-chargers planned outside city hall.
City Planner Jeff Kahan explained the proposed EV parking ordinance in a memo to City Council.
Generally, it adds a requirement that vehicle parking provided in new developments that go through City Council for approval must include three types of EV parking spaces: some spaces with EV chargers installed, and some either “EV capable” or “EV ready,” making it easy to add chargers in the future.
“These proposed ordinance revisions will likely add a cost to development,” Kahan noted. “While this cost can vary, the approach recognizes that this is an acceptable tradeoff, as the provision of this infrastructure provides long-term adaptability and a lower-cost method than attempting to retrofit such EV-supporting infrastructure at the same levels.”
The ordinance would require “Level 2” chargers at a minimum, which are less expensive than rapid chargers, with a minimum of 20 amps per plug.
The ordinance was developed with the help of community volunteers from the city’s Energy Commission and in partnership with the city’s sustainability office.
While it still awaits final approval, the city’s Planning Commission already got a look this week at how it could be applied to a 22-unit condo development proposed on North Main Street.
If the ordinance was applied to the project, it would require six parking spaces to have EV chargers, 35 spaces EV-capable and 14 EV-ready, according to City Planner Alexis DiLeo.
Since the city has pressed for sustainability features in the project, developer Trowbridge Companies, which is seeking a rezoning and variances, has agreed to go above and beyond the pending requirements, including 22 EV chargers so every condo garage would be plug-in ready for two cars.
There also would be electrical conduit to visitor parking outside the garages to add EV chargers there in the future.
There are varying levels of EV requirements for different kinds of developments outlined in charts in the ordinance.
For multi-family housing developments, such as condo or apartment buildings, the ordinance would require 10% of required parking spaces to have EV chargers installed, 25% to be EV-ready and 65% EV-capable.
The same percentages would apply to group housing developments, such as fraternity and sorority houses and student cooperatives.
EV-ready means having installed electrical-panel capacity with dedicated branch circuits, “including conductor in a raceway or direct buried, terminated in an approved method in a junction box,” and marking the box “EV Ready Circuit.”
EV-capable means having installed electrical-panel capacity, dedicated circuits marked “Future Electric Vehicle Charging Circuit,” with cable/raceway capped for future EV chargers.
For a new library, court, park facility, art studio, entertainment or fitness center, government office, church, daycare, marijuana dispensary, restaurant, bar or gas station, the ordinance would require 10% of required parking spaces to have EV chargers installed, 10% EV-ready and 15% EV-capable.
For singe-family home and duplex developments, 100% would need to be at least EV-ready.
For schools, higher education institutions, nursing homes and hospitals, the breakdown is 10% EV-installed, 15% EV-ready and 25% EV-capable. And for hotels and bed and breakfasts, it’s 25% EV-installed, 50% EV-ready and 25% EV-capable.
“Typical EVs … are three times more efficient than the most efficient petroleum-based combustion vehicles,” the ordinance states. “They produce no tailpipe emissions and they have more than 50% lower greenhouse gas emissions, assuming 2019 DTE upstream emissions associated with the production of electricity.”
The ordinance adds, “In order for EVs to provide the maximum environmental and, in most cases, financial benefits to their owners, and, in support of the city of Ann Arbor’s carbon-neutrality goals, it is recommended that EV chargers be powered by a renewable energy source. Options can be on-site solar power generation, or subscribing with a utility or a third party for renewable energy.”
The city’s A2Zero plan sets a goal of having 50% of private vehicle fleets in the city all-electric by 2030, noting improved local air quality will be one of the benefits.
In the next three decades, EVs will replace internal-combustion-engine vehicles as the dominant vehicle on the market, the A2Zero plan predicts, calling for more chargers downtown, at park-and-ride lots, workplaces and elsewhere.
The city estimates expanded EV charging infrastructure in Ann Arbor will cost about $42 million over 10 years, with partners including the city, University of Michigan, state, private businesses and property owners, EV charging manufacturers and installers, private developers and DTE Energy.
MORE FROM THE ANN ARBOR NEWS: