This was a good year for Maryland electric vehicle legislation. A number of bills that are of interest to EV drivers passed the legislature and have been sent to Governor Hogan to sign.
PlugInSites followed the progress of over a dozen electric vehicle related bills in the Maryland General Assembly in 2021. About half of the EV bills passed. In general, only about one in three bills pass in Annapolis in any given year, so we did pretty good.
Here is a brief rundown of what passed, what didn’t and what changes were made along the way.
The Maryland Electric Vehicle Tax Credit
The Clean Cars Act of 2021 (HB 44), as introduced, had several goals. First was to fund the backlog of applications from EV purchasers who are on the waitlist from the prior EV tax credit program. Then to extend the tax credit for two more years. And finally it was to extend the EV charging equipment rebate and increase annual funding. The good news is that the funding for the backlog stayed in the bill. That is welcome news for EV drivers who have been waiting for their checks of up to $3,000. In addition, the Electric Vehicle Recharging Equipment Rebate Program will be extended for two more years and the funding will increase from $1.2M to $1.8M annually.
Unfortunately, the part of the original bill to extend the EV excise tax credit was removed. This came about because of concern over a provision in the federal COVID-19 relief act that prohibits states from using any of the $195 billion of federal aid “to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction” in net tax revenue. For official information about the Maryland Excise Tax Credit for Plug-in Electric Vehicles, visit the MVA Website.
Pre-Wiring for EV Charging
House Bill HB 784 to encourage buyers of new residential housing units to pre-wire their homes for EV charging passed in the final hours of the session. This bill was sponsored by my representative, Delegate Jen Terrasa. I testified in support of this bill in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee along with EV advocate Paul Verchinski who is a big proponent of this legislation. This will ensure that home builders inform buyers that they have the option to include a Level 2 charging station or a dedicated electric line in their garage, carport or driveway. The builder must also provide information about EVSE rebate programs and other incentives.
If your Maryland condominium or homeowners association ever said that you’re not allowed to install an EV charging station in your designated parking space, then you may soon have recourse. The General Assembly in Annapolis just passed a “Right to Charge” bill that would make Maryland the 9th state to remove such restrictions. The bill, (HB110) sponsored by Delegate Marc Korman of Montgomery County and cross-filed (SB144) by Senator Guy Guzzone of Howard County, is now headed to the Governor to be signed into law.
Maryland will join Florida, New York, Virginia, and five other states to prohibit HOAs and condo boards from arbitrarily denying permission for a homeowner to install an electric vehicle charging station. It would make void and unenforceable any covenants or restrictions of a condominium or homeowners association if they prohibit or unreasonably restrict the installation or use of electric vehicle recharging equipment in an owner’s deeded or designated parking space.
This bill gives homeowners the right to install a charging station in their parking spot as long as they pay for the costs of installation, maintenance, electricity and subsequent removal upon moving. Many people in Maryland live in housing that is governed by an HOA or condo board. Addressing the issue of charging at multi-family units is important to achieve the full potential of electric vehicle adoption in the state.
A Five Year Journey
This legislation has a history in Maryland going back at least five years. I’ve testified in support of Maryland Right to Charge since 2016. It seemed that the opposition from the HOA groups was strong and overwhelming back then. It seemed impossible to reconcile at the time. Consequently, the bills in 2016, 2017 and 2018 failed.
Tesla plans to build a Supercharger at a future Wawa store in Bowie, Maryland. The Prince George’s County, MD Planning Department approved an application of a proposed addition of Tesla Superchargers to the Wawa site on December 30, 2020. PlugInSites found the application to add the Superchargers in the PG County Development Activity Monitoring System, Case Number: NRI-041-2020-01.
The Wawa store will be at Vista Gardens West, a new mixed-use development on Martin Luther King Jr. Highway at the intersection with Rt. 450/Annapolis Rd. Map link. This is about 2.8 miles or five minutes off the I-495 Beltway – Annapolis Rd. Exit 20A. It’s about 1.4 miles off Rt. 50, Exit 8.
Tesla just dropped off two Supercharger cabinets, and associated hardware for eight charging stalls at the Wawa store at 3166 Solomons Island Rd, Edgewater, MD.
This location is less than four miles down MD Rt. 2/Solomons Island Rd. from the Annapolis Supercharger that opened in March, 2019. The eight stall site in Annapolis has the older 150 kW Version 2 Superchargers. Edgewater will be the 250 kW Version 3 (V3).
Stay tuned as construction on the Edgewater, MD Tesla Supercharger moves forward.
The Giant store at 8805 Centre Park Dr, Columbia, Maryland now has a pair of electric vehicle charging stations. The stations were installed by Volta Charging.
Free Charging – Supported by Advertising
These free EV charging stations are subsidized by selling advertising messages that are displayed on the large digital screens on each unit. Volta claims to be the world’s most highly used EV charging network.
Volta says their business model isn’t to make money from selling electricity to EV drivers. Instead, Volta partners with highly-visited retail locations such as grocery stores and retail centers where they can display advertising messages.
The Mall in Columbia, operated by Brookfield Properties, had the first Volta charging stations in Howard County. The Giant store at 7200 Cradlerock Way in Columbia got their own Volta stations a few months ago. White Marsh Mall in northern Baltimore County has eight Volta charging stations. Towson Town Center also has Volta charging.
Expect to see more of these free charging stations showing up at Giant stores in the coming months.
Enforceable Signs for County Anti-ICEing Ordinance
Charging stations at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland now have new signs. The BGE EVsmart stations that opened in January originally had green and white signs with “electric vehicle parking only” and a logo depicting a car with a plug. Those signs were not enforceable under the Howard County anti-ICEing ordinance.
The local EV community advocated for an anti-ICEing ordinance and Howard County passed legislation in 2014. See: Video of Public Comments on Howard Co. Bill CB36-2014. The ordinance requires official signs that meet federal and state standards to designate a charging space before police can enforce the prohibition.
Official Signs Comply with Federal and State Standards for Parking Signs
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a Policy Statement on June 17, 2013 to address regulatory sign standards for electric vehicle charging and parking facilities. Howard County has chosen to use the “NO PARKING EXCEPT WHILE CHARGING” (R7-113) signs at the utility-operated charging stations located on county-owned property.
Standardized signs are are a good idea even in places that don’t yet have an anti-ICEing law. They are the best way to communicate that spaces in front of EV charging stations are not parking spots, they are for electric vehicles while being recharged.
The Meadowood Regional Park in Lutherville, Maryland now has public electric vehicle charging stations. The BGE EVsmart stations were operational and in use by a Chevy Bolt EV on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Two dual-port Level 2 charging stations can charge four vehicles at once. The Meadowood Regional Park EV charging stations are located in the south east corner of the parking area just off of Falls Road.
Meadowood Regional Park is located at Falls Road and Greenspring Valley Road just north of the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) and the Jones Falls Expressway (I-83). Map link
Six athletic fields (four lighted, one artificial turf)
Three picnic pavilions
A .8-mile paved walking path, with upper and lower sections measuring .4 miles each.
There are a number of take-out food establishments nearby at Green Spring Station, so you can grab a meal and enjoy a picnic while you charge.
The fee to use the Level 2 charging stations is $0.18 per kWh including 6% Maryland sales tax. The fees are subject to change with the approval of the Maryland Public Service Commission which regulates the utilities. Payment is via a Greenlots account.
A public charging site is open at the Anne Arundel County Public Library at 269 Hillsmere Drive, Annapolis, MD. The BGE EVsmart utility owned and operated charging stations are energized as of January 20, 2021. There are two DC Fast Chargers and six Level 2 ports along the east edge of the parking lot. [map link]
The BGE fast chargers have a fee of $0.34 per kWh. The Level 2 charging costs $0.18 per kWh. Those fees are subject to change with the approval of the Maryland Public Service Commission which regulates the utilities. Payment is via a Greenlots account.
Two CCS/CHAdeMO Fast Chargers
The two 50 kW fast chargers are Efacec QC 45 units that are also used in some other BGE installations such as Westminster and Ellicott City. Having multiple fast chargers will help bolster EV drivers’ confidence. If one fast charger is occupied or inoperable, there’s another fast charger for back up.
Virginia Delegate David Reid of Loudoun County is proposing a rebate for Virginians who buy or lease an electric vehicle. The legislation will be introduced when the Virginia General Assembly convenes on January 13, 2021.
Used Vehicles Would Qualify
HB 1979 proposes that an individual who buys or leases a new or used electric motor vehicle from a dealer in Virginia and registers the vehicle in Virginia would be eligible for a $2,500 rebate. An additional $2,000 rebate would be available for certain income qualified individuals.
For the purposes of the rebate program, an electric motor vehicle “means a motor vehicle that uses electricity as its only source of motive power. ‘Electric motor vehicle’ includes fuel cell electric vehicles.”
UPDATE: I reached out to Delegate Reid to clarify if the bill would include incentives for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). He explained that right now, it does not include PHEVs or fleet vehicles. The reason being that there is a limited amount of money to get started with and they were looking for where the program could be scaled back in a way that they can achieve the environmental benefits of being able to get carbon out of the transportation sector in a manner that would provide the most bang for the buck. Given the budget constraints of the moment, the program is designed to begin by focusing just on battery electric vehicles.
Delegate Reid says he wants to be able to get consumers familiar with the idea that electric vehicles are a viable alternative for basic transportation. In the future, once the program moves forward and other sources of revenue are identified to fund the program, they can add plug-in hybrids, fleet vehicles and more.
Summary as Introduced
Electric vehicle rebate program; creation and funding; report. Creates a rebate program for the purchase or lease of new and used electric vehicles, to be administered by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. A purchaser or lessee of an electric vehicle would receive a $2,500 rebate at the time of purchase, and a purchaser or lessee with an annual household income that does not exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty level would be entitled to an additional $2,000 rebate. The motor vehicle dealer where the vehicle is purchased or leased would receive a refund for the amount of the rebate and a $50 incentive payment for each rebate processed. Funds would be allocated from the revenues generated by the sunset of the Virginia Coal Employment and Production Incentive Tax Credit and the Coalfield employment enhancement tax credit and prohibit the allocation of new credits on and after January 1, 2021. The bill also establishes an Electric Vehicle Rebate Advisory Council to oversee the Electric Vehicle Rebate Program and to make recommendations regarding its implementation. The Director of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is required to report annually to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding the Program. The Program will expire on September 1, 2026.
Utility owned and operated public charging stations are now open at the Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. The BGE EVsmart stations are operational as of January 8, 2021. Two DC Fast Chargers and six Level 2 ports are located in the north west corner of Lot C on the main campus along Little Patuxent Parkway. [map link]
Two CCS/CHAdeMO Fast Chargers
The two 50 kW Fast Chargers are Efacec QC 45 units that are also used in some other BGE installations such as Westminster and Ellicott City. Having multiple fast chargers will help bolster EV drivers’ confidence. If one fast charger is occupied or inoperable, there should be another fast charger to fall back on.
On Greenlots Network
The fee to use these Fast Chargers is $0.34 per kWh. The Level 2 costs $0.18 per kWh. The fees are subject to change with the approval of the Maryland Public Service Commission which regulates the utilities. Payment is made via a Greenlots account.