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Philly’s Electric Vehicle Task Force report: 5 key recommendations

The draft is meant to guide future policy on electric vehicles in the city

A new report recommends eliminating Philly’s existing Electric Vehicle Parking Space program.
Courtesy of Miles Willis/Stringer/Getty Images

Five months after the City of Philadelphia set up an Electric Vehicle Task Force, the committee has released its first draft of a report that’s meant to guide future policy on electric vehicles in Philly.

In the 31-page report, the task force offers several recommendations for Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure throughout the city, including the elimination of the Electric Vehicle Parking Space (EVPS) program, the installation of more public charging stations, and use of more EV buses and bikes.

Overall, the report notes, electric vehicles should be supported in the city, which has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Transportation is the second largest source of these emissions in the city.

Two of the five recommendations included:

  1. Closing the existing EVPS program: The report suggests officially closing the EVPS program to new applicants. The EVPS program allows EV owners to apply for a permit to install a car-charging station on their street. The task force also recommends phasing out the existing permits through property turnover and a 15-year sunset provision where no EVPS permits would be renewed and any remaining EVPS signage would be removed by 2033.
  2. Explore more public-private partnerships for EV infrastructure: The task force wants to encourage the city to consider more programs that establish more charging stations that are either publicly available or located within already existing parking facilities. Even better if they are fast-charging stations.

The report also suggests continuing to promote low-carbon public transportation methods; exploring electric bikes and EV-use among taxis and car-share programs; and in general creating more public awareness of electric vehicles.

The recommendations come after City Council voted in April 2017 to place a moratorium on the city’s EVPS program, which allowed EV owners to install a curbside charging station in front of their homes. The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) had issued a little more than 60 permits since 2012, and proponents of the moratorium argued that the program took away street parking in neighborhoods that were already tight on space. The task force also argues in the report that the program isn’t a valid long-term solution.

After City Council temporarily pulled the plug on the program, the city announced the formation of the EV Task Force to come up with future policy.

The draft is meant to be considered a flexible EV policy framework that balances “ the needs of Philadelphia residents and visitors,” said 1st District Councilman Mark Squilla, who is on the task force.

It’s now open for online comment, and there’s an open house on January 25, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m. on the 16th floor of the Innovation Lab at the Municipal Services Building (1401 JFK Boulevard). Anyone can drop in to learn more about planning process and the report.