Momentum Behind Bay Area Electric Vehicle Ready Community Development

By · July 16, 2011

Bay Area

What does it mean to be an Electric Vehicle (EV) Ready Community? The words sound simple enough, but there has been a flurry of activity behind the scenes in the Bay area to make this concept a reality. To be an EV Ready Community requires a number of essential components, including a policy framework that encourages the use of EVs, incentives to encourage the broad adoption of EVs, implementing ordinances (i.e. zoning and building codes), charger station locating and siting plans, streamlined permitting and inspection practices, and extensive outreach and education opportunities for the general public. Numerous communities throughout the Bay Area have made great efforts to become more EV ready, but there is still much work that needs to be done in order to meet California’s objectives to have one million EVs on the road by 2020. In addition, an interim target of approximately 200,000 EVs in California is necessary to help achieve President Obama’s goals of one million EVs deployed throughout the country by 2015.

Catalyzing the EV market and achieving these ambitious goals requires coordination and a well developed framework for infrastructure deployment. Over the past three months, representatives from the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), EV Communities Alliance, Bay Area Climate Collaborative (BACC), LightMoves Consulting, and Clean Fuel Connection having been working with a diverse group of stakeholders to develop Ready, Set, Charge, California! A Guide to EV-Ready Communities. The document includes over 40 practical and rational recommendations to facilitate communities becoming EV-Ready. The guidelines cover numerous dimensions of EV readiness, including model development regulations and ordinances and installation streamlining for residential EV chargers. Specifically, the model development regulations and ordinances section provides recommendations relative to necessary lighting, proper signage, accessibility, and installations at multi-unit dwellings. It also provides guidance relative to charging station installations on both public and private parking lots including recommendations regarding the percentage of parking spaces that should be dedicated to EVs. The installation streamlining for residential EV chargers provides recommendations ranging from the provision of low cost permits, to availability of an online application processes, and unified inspections by City staff and utilities.

EV Guidelines

Ready, Set, Charge, California: A Guide to EV-Ready Communities is currently undergoing extensive review by a diverse stakeholder group including local government representatives, EV charger equipment manufacturers, EV manufacturers, State agencies, research entities and other organizations working in the EV realm. In addition, the guidelines were previously reviewed at Charged EV Symposium on June 2 and 3rd in Palo Alto organized by the Silicon Valley Leadership group and Bay Area Climate Collaborative. After the Guidelines are completed, extensive outreach will occur throughout the state to help communities adopt the recommendations and make their communities EV Ready! For more information please go to for a copy of Ready, Set, Charge, California! A Guide to EV-Ready Communities.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.