The leaders of the Maryland General Assembly announced today that the 2020 session will adjourn on Wednesday March 18th due to the coronavirus outbreak. The 90-day session was scheduled to run through April 6th. This will be the first time since the Civil War that the Maryland lawmaking session has closed early.
EV Related Bills in Limbo
With the abbreviated session and the lawmakers focusing on emergency legislation related to the COVID-19 crisis and getting the budget passed, legislation related to electric vehicle issues will be strained. The House and Senate were in session over the weekend and two bills that we are tracking made some movement.
Columbia Association installed a Level 2 charging station at The Hawthorn Center in Hickory Ridge. The SemaConnect ChargePro station is located by the pool entrance near the south west side of the building. The Hawthorn Center is at 6175 Sunny Spring, Columbia, MD 21044. MAP
This is the seventh site and ninth charging port installed by the Columbia Association. The other locations are at Owen Brown Community Center, Columbia Gym, Supreme Sports Club, Athletic Club (2), Long Reach Tennis Club (2) and The Other Barn in Oakland Mills.
Howard County, Maryland passed one of the earliest anti-ICEing laws in July, 2014. The ordinance is designed to keep Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars from blocking electric vehicle charging stations. In the five years since it was enacted, only three citations have been given according to the Howard County Police Department. One ticket each in the years 2014, 2017 and 2019.
Signage an Issue
Many anti-ICEing laws require an official sign to be posted in order to be enforced on private or public property. In Howard County, the sign must be at least 12 inches by 18 inches and meet government standards.
A sign that designates a space under this subsection must meet be at least 12 inches by 18 inches and meet any applicable State or Federal standards for parking control signs.
Howard Co. MD Sec. 21.207c3 Parking restrictions – Plug-in vehicle recharging stations
One Sign Considered Enforceable
The Howard County Police Department created a Training Bulletin to provide guidance to officers when responding to calls of non-electric vehicles parked in EV charging spaces.
Some of the key points listed in the bulletin are:
Proposed Legislation Would Double EV Registration Fees
A bill in the Maryland General Assembly proposes a larger annual vehicle registration fee for electric vehicles. The proposal would actually double the annual fee on all classes of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in Maryland.
“Increasing Highway Equity Act”
HB1626, sponsored by Delegate C. T. Wilson of Charles County, is named the Increasing Highway Equity Act. The synopsis of the bill is “Doubling the annual registration fees for motor vehicles of any class that are zero-emission vehicles.”
Maryland has committed to 60,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2020 and 300,000 ZEVs by 2025 as part of the California Clean Cars Program that Maryland adopted in 2007. The state has been struggling to reach that goal. According to data from the MVA, as of January there are 24,615 plug-in electric vehicles registered in Maryland.
A Tesla Supercharger is planned for a Sheetz store in Dahlgren, VA.
According to a King George County Building Official contacted by Mark Czajka of MD Volt, Inc., a permit application was submitted yesterday for the Sheetz at 17188 Owens Drive. This location is about 2 miles west of the Harry W. Nice Bridge over the Potomac. Link to Map
This Supercharger will be convenient for Tesla drivers that travel Route 301 through Charles County Maryland and into Virginia.
Addresses EV Charging Installation for Condo and HOA Members
A “Right to Charge” bill (SB 630) passed in the Virginia General Assembly today. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The legislation prohibits HOAs, condominium associations and cooperatives from prohibiting the installation of an electric vehicle charging station in a resident’s designated parking space. The bill sets a certain framework including requiring the EV owner to pay for the electricity plus the cost of the installation of the charging stations.
Joins New York, Florida, Colorado, California, Oregon & Hawaii in Right to Charge
Similar legislation was enacted in New York last December. Five other states have “Right to Charge” laws including Florida, Hawaii and California. Maryland lawmakers are also considering a proposal this session.
Virginia Senator Scott A. Surovell sponsored the “Right to Charge” bill (SB 630) in response to a constituent in Prince William County who reached out to him because his condo association refused to consider his application to install a charging station.
Earlier this week, the House Communications, Technology and Innovation Committee approved SB 630 unanimously, 22 to 0.
Senator Surovell told the committee, “This bill is modeled on Florida law and we made some changes to make it consistent with what we thought was Virginia law.”
White Marsh Mall in northern Baltimore County has eight Level 2 charging stations. The Volta stations are free and are supported by ads displayed on a large screen. Signs at each station limit a stay at two hours.
The eight Voltas are distributed around the perimeter of the mall. When I was there on a Saturday evening, all eight were open and available.
On a side note, the IKEA store adjacent to the White Marsh Mall is having a big solar canopy being built in their parking lot. There are also five ChargePoint Level 2 charging stations in the White Marsh Park and Ride lot.
Keep an eye out for Volta free charging stations at other retail shopping areas. They seem to be making a push for expanding in the Washington, DC and Baltimore area.
The Merriweather District in Columbia Maryland has installed 40 Level 2 EV charging connectors. The new office, entertainment and residential development is located adjacent to the Merriweather Post Pavilion concert venue.
Merriweather District Garage EV Charging
There are 10 dual-port ChargePoint stations along the north wall on floors 2 and 3 of the nine story parking garage. That’s 20 charging ports on two floors for a total capacity for charging up to 40 cars at once. This is one of the largest concentrations of Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations in the state of Maryland.
The Regional Transportation Agency (RTA) of Central Maryland has at least one BYD 100% Electric bus in its fleet. I happened to spot one in Columbia, MD. Unfortunately, it was being hooked up to a tow truck.
According to the tow truck driver, the bus ran out of charge. How does that happen? Wouldn’t they plan it so that a bus has enough range to complete its route before it leaves the depot? Wouldn’t the bus driver notice that the battery gauge was getting low?
The Eastern Shore of Maryland used to be a vast EV charging desert. Anxiety about charging in the Delmarva peninsula discouraged many early electric vehicle owners from driving to Ocean City from the DC area.
Salisbury, MD Supercharger opened in November, 2014 and gave Tesla drivers the confidence to reach the beach. About three years later, a dozen Supercharger stalls opened at Royal Farms in Grasonville, MD.
At the same time, many destination charging stations were installed in Ocean City at hotels and public parking lots. Two CCS/CHAdeMO chargers were installed at the Convention Center. These chargers were partially funded by a state grant called the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Program or AFIP administered by the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).
Now there’s a Tesla Supercharger in Ocean City. For anyone familiar with the CCS/CHAdeMO Fast Charger at the Royal Farms on Rt. 50 just before crossing the drawbridge, the Supercharger stalls are next to that unit.