A member of the Greenbelt, Maryland City Council proposed to waive the fee to use the DC Fast Charger by the Municipal Building in the Roosevelt Center at 25 Crescent Rd.
Mayor Pro Tem Emmett Jordan had recently received an email from staff informing the Council Members that the charging station, which had been broken for an extended period, was now fixed. Mr. Jordan realized that the charging station presented an opportunity to draw people into the Roosevelt Center to patronize the businesses that are feeling the economic impact of the current pandemic.
“If you look at the businesses in Roosevelt Center right now, they’re struggling. They’re having a really, really hard time.” Mr. Jordan said during last night’s City Council meeting. “I’d like to go ahead and waive the fees while the emergency is in place. Anything we can do to attract more people into Roosevelt Center, we need to do.”
The charger, which opened in August, 2017, was initially free to use. The City Council decided to initiate a fee which started in January, 2019. At the time, the Council felt that the free charging was being abused by commercial drivers and people who lived outside of Greenbelt. After the fee was implemented, usage fell precipitously. According to data obtained from the Maryland Energy Administration, there were only 27 charging sessions at the Greenbelt charger in the three months between April 1 and June 30, 2020. That was down from 1182 sessions in the same calendar period in 2018.
Data to Guide Decision
In the discussion with his colleagues to convince them to vote to approve his proposal, Mr. Jordan noted, “If you look at surrounding municipalities – Hyattsville, Laurel – there are plenty of places where people can go to charge their cars now and that wasn’t the case maybe three years ago.”
BGE and the City of Baltimore are nearing an agreement to allow BGE-owned public charging stations to be installed at certain locations within the City. The Baltimore City Council introduced a bill this week that would grant a franchise to BGE to install and operate public charging stations on City rights-of-way and at certain park properties.
According to the 1st Reader text of Council Bill 20-0573 (copied below), the City would grant BGE a right to “install, operate, maintain, repair, replace, and remove electric vehicle charging stations at City-approved locations on City right-of-way and on Park Properties.” The initial term of the franchise is proposed to be one year with an automatic annual renewal for 25 years total.
Section 4 of the bill suggests that BGE shall pay Baltimore an unspecified franchise charge each year. The franchise charge can increase or decrease and the franchise can be cancelled by either party at the end of the initial or any renewal term.
The Maryland PSC Order No. 88997, issued on January 14, 2019, requires that utility-owned and operated charging stations must be located on property owned or controlled by state, county, or local governments.
Baltimore City Council assigned this bill to the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Funding is available again, starting July 1, 2020, for the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Rebate Program administered by the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). The Maryland EVSE Rebate is available to qualified individuals, non-profits, state or local governments, and businesses that install an electric vehicle charging station.
Eligible participants must apply for the rebate through the MEA. Rebates will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is depleted and is subject to the conditions of the program’s guidelines. The total amount of funding that is available for the fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) is $1,800,000.
The rebate amount for residential charging stations is 40% of the equipment purchase price and installation cost up to $700. Complete instructions on how to apply for the Maryland EVSE Rebate are located on the MEA Program page.
As of July 1, 2020, a Virginia Right-to-Charge law is in effect. This will make it easier to install an electric vehicle charging station for residents who live on property with a Home Owners Association or Condo Board. The law also applies to proprietary lessees in Virginia.
The law creates a framework for residents and property owners’ associations to follow. This includes requiring the unit owner to pay the cost of installing the charging station as well as the electricity used.
Virginia Right to ChargeJoins Six Other States
Six other states have Right to Charge laws including New York, Florida, Colorado, California, Oregon and Hawaii. Maryland lawmakers considered such a bill in 2020 (HB 111). It passed the House but died in the Senate, possibly due to the abrupt adjournment of the session due to the pandemic.
Virginia Senator Scott A. Surovell proposed the Virginia Right to Charge bill (SB 630). An EV driver himself, Surovell told PlugInSites, “We need to facilitate EV ownership and several people including constituents have reached out to me regarding difficulties encountered installing EV charging stations in condominiums. I’m hoping that my legislation will create a roadmap that facilitates the efficient deployment of charging stations in homeowners associations, condominiums and cooperatives.”
Here is the text of the Virginia Right to Charge law with links to the source.
Don’t count on the $3,000 Maryland EV tax credit if you buy an electric car right now. Funding for the program is exhausted and no further funding is currently authorized. However, you should still submit the form to reserve your place in line in case funding is approved in the future.
Go to the MVA website for the current status of the Maryland EV Tax Credit program and do your due diligence before making a purchase.
The Clean Cars Act of 2017, signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan, authorized an excise tax credit on plug-in electric cars for three years, from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020.
Funds for the Maryland excise tax credit usually run out early each fiscal year. Applicants are then put on a wait list until the next round of funding is released. Filling the backlog means that each year’s funding runs out sooner than the last.
In September, 2016 the money ran out barely two months into fiscal year 2017. The Maryland MVA sent out a bulletin advising auto dealers to alert customers that funds were depleted and the program had ended.
New Policy Expands Options for Residential Charging
Guidelines developed by Montgomery County, Maryland will allow for privately owned EV charging stations to be installed in the public right of way adjacent to County streets. Residents of homes that qualify will be able to charge while parked on the curb using electricity from their home meter.
The curbside charging program is available to residents of single family homes or duplexes. Permits will be considered when a home doesn’t have a driveway and off-street parking cannot be built on the home’s property.
This is welcome news for many Montgomery County homeowners who’ve been wanting to buy an electric vehicle but only have curbside parking at home.
“We have installed electric vehicle charging stations in many of our parking garages, purchased electric and alternative fueled buses, implemented bike- and e-scooter sharing and many other measures to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “These new EV charging guidelines are the logical next step to encourage a shift to lower emission vehicles and ensure that charging on our public streets is done safely. The result is easy to understand and implement right now, but also allows us to adapt as technology advances.”
Process to Apply for a Curbside EV Charging Station
The Guidelines present five steps and three permitting options which will be guided by the initial determination by DPS.
This week, the Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council (ZEEVIC) released their 2019 Annual Report that was due last December.
Under the Maryland Clean Cars Act, the body is required to submit an annual report of the Council’s work and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly by December 1st. This would give the Governor and legislature a month to study the information and prepare important EV related bills for the lawmaking session which begins each January.
Formed as The Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council (EVIC) in 2011
The Council was created by legislation introduced by Governor O’Malley in 2011 to coordinate integration of electric vehicles into Maryland communities and transportation system. It was originally called the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council (EVIC). EVIC included representatives of automobile manufacturers, dealers, charging equipment manufacturers, utility companies, electrical workers, state and local governments, energy and environmental experts.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells Added to Become ZEEVIC
In 2019, legislation sponsored by Governor Hogan added representatives of the hydrogen fuel industry and the name was changed to the Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council (ZEEVIC). The 2019 ZEEVIC Report cover features a photo of Gov. Hogan and administration officials at a demo of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in front of the state capitol in Annapolis.
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.
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.