Municipal EV Toolkit Step 2:
Review Guides to Improve Readiness
Municipal Fleet Transition
Maine municipalities can lead the way on vehicle electrification by replacing their fleet vehicles with Electric Vehicles (EVs). Municipal fleet electrification is a significant step in reducing municipal greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Municipalities that adopt EVs into their fleet will also save money, support sustainability goals, improve public health, and promote local energy sources. By demonstrating EV technology, municipal EVs encourage community members to consider purchasing their own EVs. This guide outlines high-level action steps a municipality can take to electrify its fleet. Each step is detailed with suggestions and sources such as websites, articles, and tools.
Conducting a baseline fleet evaluation is an essential first step to compile a foundational understanding of the existing fleet and what changes need to be made.
Complete a baseline fleet evaluation
Fleet managers are responsible for carefully defining fleet policies and procedures for all employees including executive management. To be effective, fleet policies must be routinely updated and communicated.
Update fleet purchasing policy to prioritize electric vehicles
Transitioning a municipal fleet to EVs will require support from several key leaders within the municipality. These positions may include fleet manager, finance director, director of public works, sustainability director, etc.
Build a team of municipal leaders from a variety of departments to spearhead the fleet electrification
There are a variety of funding sources available to help offset the overall cost of the vehicle in the form of rebates. These will typically be offered directly through the car manufacturer or Efficiency Maine Trust.
Determine available federal and state funding opportunities to finance and budget for EVs
To ensure a smooth and efficient transition to an EV fleet, municipalities must ensure the proper infrastructure is being installed to meet charging demands.
Install EV charging infrastructure to support municipal EV fleet
Zoning & Ordinance
Maine municipalities can guide the development of EV infrastructure by adopting a standalone EV infrastructure ordinance or by amending current land use, zoning, parking and street ordinances. This guide details the regulatory best practices that municipalities can employ regarding EV infrastructure. For each regulatory tool, the guide provides the reasons for employment, best practices, example ordinance language and alternative options. It is accompanied by a Model EV Infrastructure Ordinance (Appendix A). The example ordinance language throughout the guide is taken directly from the model ordinance. As currently structured, the Model EV Infrastructure Ordinance is a standalone ordinance that would be enacted outside of (but regulated by) a municipality’s zoning or land use ordinance. Alternatively, towns may consider amending the zoning ordinance and/or other ordinances with the applicable regulatory language.
Permitting EV Charging Stations
By establishing which types of EV charging stations (EVCS) are permitted in different zoning districts, municipalities can eliminate confusion about what is and is not allowable while facilitating the broader development of EV infrastructure.
Requiring EV Infrastructure in New Development and Redevelopment
Commercial, workplace and multi-family residential development are all subject to development regulations and design standards.
Establishing General Requirements for EV Infrastructure
Municipalities can facilitate smooth permitting, operation and regulation of EV infrastructure by articulating standards for EV infrastructure design, installation and operation.
Requiring and Encouraging Accessible Facilities
As EV infrastructure expands, it is important to ensure that EV charging stations are accessible to people with disabilities.
Clarifying Regulations for EV Parking Spaces
Municipalities should clearly state the intended use and parking regulations for EV charging stations and their parking spaces to ensure proper use of EV infrastructure.
Permitting & Inspections
Maine municipalities can support the development of Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure by simplifying and clarifying permitting and inspection processes for EV Charging Stations (EVCS). This guide provides an overview of the current state of EVCS permitting and inspections in Maine. It also details the permitting and inspection best practices that municipalities can employ regarding EV infrastructure.
Create a separate permit for EV Charging Stations
An electrical permit and inspection are required for EVCS installations in most situations. In Maine, electrical permits and inspections are managed either by a municipality or the State, depending on the capacity and requirements of each municipality.
Make the process for permitting clear and transparent
It is helpful for municipalities to clearly identify where to find the EVCS or electrical permit application, permitting steps and associated timelines, permitting fees and the municipal point-of-contact.
Standardize the permit review and inspection process
A permit review checklist should be used by code enforcement officers and their staff when reviewing and evaluating EVCS permits.
Offer options to submit permit applications electronically
While not all municipalities have the resources to implement online permitting, doing so can decrease applicant wait times and reduce the staff time needed for permit review and administration.
Reduce and standardize permitting and inspection fees
Maine municipalities have the authority to set their fee structures for electrical and other permits. As a result, fees may be inconsistent and vary widely, confusing applicants and contractors.
Planning & Leadership
As community leaders, municipalities play an important role in the electrification of our transportation system. By incorporating electric vehicle (EV) adoption into municipal and community plans, municipalities can drive forward progress. Municipalities can also lead by example, establishing policies and goals that set an example for the community and region. By working regionally and advocating for EVs, municipalities push the EV market and relevant agencies to accelerate the EV transition. This guide details the best practices for municipalities to plan for and lead the transition to EVs. It provides an overview of the current vehicle electrification goals in the State of Maine and examples of municipal planning and leadership initiatives.
Incorporate EVs into relevant planning documents
Prioritizing EV use and the development of EV charging infrastructure in local plans enables municipal decision-making on EV-related programs and regulations.
Ensure equitable access to public EV charging infrastructure
Municipalities can use thoughtful public EV charging station siting to ensure that investments in charging infrastructure reach these low- to moderate-income drivers, communities of color, and communities with high pollution burdens.
Be aware and take advantage of funding opportunities for EVs and EV infrastructure
The cost of owning and operating a charging station includes equipment, installation, maintenance, and electricity costs. Municipalities can reduce these costs by taking advantage of discounts and incentives from the state, federal government, or the local utility.
Manage municipal programs to encourage EVs and EV infrastructure
Municipalities can implement short or long-term programs to familiarize community members with EVs and encourage charging station installation. Many programs are public education efforts.
Participate in EV stakeholder groups and municipal partnerships
EV technology and the landscape of state and federal incentives are rapidly changing. To stay up-to-date on technology development and EV opportunities, municipalities can participate in Maine EV stakeholder groups.