City Departments Take Steps to Improve Access to EV Charging

Pilot Program to Provide EV Charging for Residents without Off-Street Parking

Burlington Electric Department (BED), the Department of Public Works (DPW), and other City departments have been working since 2019 in collaboration with the City Council and community members to help Burlingtonians reduce their carbon footprint in support of Burlington’s Net Zero Energy by 2030 goal. Accomplishing this goal will require removing and lowering barriers that some Burlington residents face in electrifying their transportation with 100% renewably sourced energy. BED has long-established customer rebates for electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), both new and pre-owned, with enhanced incentives for qualifying customers. As of January 2024 BED has helped 136 income-qualified Burlingtonians to purchase or lease an EV or PHEV. BED incentives complement available state and federal rebates that can make driving electric more affordable.

One barrier to EV adoption is accessing EV charging equipment that is safe, convenient, reliable, and affordable, especially in areas where most residents live in apartments and do not have access to off-street parking. To help address this barrier, BED secured a State of Vermont grant to purchase, install, and maintain five utility pole-mounted EV chargers in eligible neighborhoods. BED pursued the grant following a request from an Old North End City Councilor to expand on-street EV charging options in their ward in response to constituent feedback.

Working with DPW, BED identified the following five locations that meet the grant requirements:

  • In front of 33 Murray Street
    • Received resident support after initial outreach.
  • In front of 39 Front Street
    • Requested by a resident.
  • Across from 141 Maple Street
  • In front of 11 Spruce Street
  • In front of 33 Intervale Avenue

To select these locations, BED mapped housing patterns in Burlington against average household income and proposed five neighborhoods as a part of its grant application and agreement with the State. Within those neighborhoods, BED worked with DPW to identify five specific proposed parking places that met the conditions for lighting, grid connection feasibility, and space/access considerations. DPW conducted community outreach for the five sites initially proposed and, with one exception (Rose Street), there was support received and no objections. Based on negative feedback regarding the Rose Street location, BED is proposing an alternative location near the intersection of Intervale Avenue and Spring Street.

The main goal for this pilot program is to increase access to publicly available EV chargers in these neighborhoods where many residents are unable to install home chargers and test whether charging access enables increased EV ownership. Other goals include increasing EV charger usage over time, testing the durability and maintenance requirements of pole-mounted EV chargers, and evaluating customer and community satisfaction.

The primary evaluation metrics will be the level of utilization of the pole-mounted chargers, who the chargers are being used by based on charger reporting, and the comparison of the data for the pilot charging to similar data from other charging options in Burlington. BED is committed under the grant to maintain the chargers in service for five years, although they can be repositioned based on experience during the pilot.

To access these EV chargers, EV owners would create an account online and use a credit or debit card to initiate a charging session. A $0.20 per kWh charge will apply, the equivalent of $1.75 per gallon of gas. No other charges shall apply.

The parking regulation changes to designate the five proposed locations as EV-only parking spaces, will be discussed at the Public Works Commission meeting on March 20, at 6:30pm at the meeting room at 645 Pine Street and online via Zoom. When available, those details can be found at Community members are welcome to provide input about the pilot program during the Commission meeting or by emailing BED.