Source: Sherman Publications

Twp. ponders creating ordinance for electric vehicle charging stations

by CJ Carnacchio

August 17, 2011

Auto companies like General Motors, Ford and Nissan predict that by 2020 at least 10 percent of their overall sales will be electric vehicles.

In an effort to be proactive regarding this future trend, Oxford Township officials last week voted 6-0 to refer to its planning commission, for review and consideration, the idea of creating an ordinance to regulate charging stations for electric vehicles.

“Can we expect to have hybrid electric vehicle (charging) stations? Is that coming down the line real quick?” asked Supervisor Bill Dunn.

“Yes,” replied Trustee Mike Spisz.

Last month, the Auburn Hills City Council adopted an ordinance covering the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in both residential and non-residential zoning districts.

Spisz suggested it would be appropriate to locate these charging stations at places where people are apt to spend long periods of time such as parks, libraries, places of employment, shopping districts and malls.

“It makes no sense to put them in locations where you’re just going to run in and out,” he said. “It’s best for locations where you’re going to spend hours at a time.”

Spisz noted the company he works for, Takata, which supplies seat belts and airbags for the automotive industry, recently installed a charging station at its Auburn Hills location.

The City of Auburn Hills accepted a DTE Energy grant to install public charging stations in its downtown area and anticipates their installation this month.

Although Auburn Hills’ electric vehicle infrastructure ordinance does regulate where charging stations are permitted in the city, it does not require their installation.

The ordinance clearly states “it is strongly encouraged, but not required” that the electrical capacity for charging stations be provided in all new single and multiple-family homes with garages along with parking areas in new or expanded non-residential areas.

Three types of charging stations are identified in the ordinance based on the speed at which they charge – slow (up to 120 volts), medium (greater than 120 volts, up to 240 volts) and fast or rapid (greater than 240 volts).

In a July 5 memo to his council, Auburn Hills City Manager Pete Auger wrote this new ordinance is a “small step . . . to prepare for the future by setting policy and removing the red tape and bureaucratic uncertainty involved with installing a network of public and private (electric vehicle) charging stations throughout the community.”

“This is what good community planning is all about,” Auger wrote.