Electric Vehicles and Their Impact on Land Use and Development


  • The conversion from the usage of automobiles powered by fossil fuels to these fueled by electrical energy continues to accentuate. Registration of electrical automobiles (EV) in the US elevated sharply within the first quarter of 2022, regardless that total new automotive registrations decreased. Report excessive gasoline costs coupled with a greater variety of fashions are key contributors to this enhance.

  • A number of components will enhance the speed of development in the usage of EVs.  In response to Kelly Blue E-book final fall, the common price of an EV is about $56,400, making it unaffordable for some shoppers. CNBC has reported that the distinction in the price of working an EV over a 200,000-mile life span, when in comparison with that of a traditional car, is lower than $5,000. Additional, in keeping with the U.S. Division of Power, there are about 43,000 electrical charging stations (ECS), many with a number of ports, i.e., shops, which provide electrical energy to EVs by way of a connection to a public utility, with California alone having about one-third of them. The variety of ESCs should enhance considerably to serve the rising EV market. Additional, the supply of latest lithium automotive batteries might grow to be a difficulty. Whereas batteries utilized in EVs are sometimes called “lithium” batteries, their main parts are nickel and cobalt.  In 2021 China produced nearly 80% % of all lithium-ion batteries that entered the worldwide market. Russia is a serious producer of nickel and cobalt. At present there is just one lithium mine in the US, and the most important lithium reserves on the earth could also be in Afghanistan.

As the usage of electrical automobiles will increase, whatever the charge of development, there can be a corresponding affect on land use and growth. Notably, points regarding parking, ECSs, and EV battery recycling and disposal should be addressed, not solely by municipalities, but in addition by builders. In August 2021, President Biden signed an Government Order declaring that as much as half of all new vehicles offered by 2030 should be electric. Given this, plus the truth that quite a few car producers have already dedicated to creating solely EVs by 2035 or sooner, it’s actually not untimely to start addressing these points now.

Municipalities – Pennsylvania

  • The Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) enacted in 1968 by the Pennsylvania Normal Meeting has served as a blueprint for zoning ordinances adopted by cities and different municipalities all through Pennsylvania. The MPC supplies that the provisions of zoning ordinances shall be designed (i) to advertise, shield and facilitate transportation and entry to car parking and loading area; (ii) to forestall congestion in journey and transportation; and (iii) to accommodate cheap total neighborhood development, together with alternatives for growth of quite a lot of residential dwelling varieties and nonresidential makes use of. 

  • The MPC comprises a number of provisions regarding car parking amenities, and accordingly, zoning ordinances usually embrace necessities for the dimensions and variety of parking areas for amenities similar to hospitals, accommodations, workplace buildings, colleges, and procuring facilities. However at this level, the MPC doesn’t comprise particular provisions regarding EV parking. Nor does MPC presently comprise provisions regarding ECSs. Whereas notably, the zoning ordinances of Pittsburgh, and to a lesser extent, Philadelphia, comprise provisions regarding EVs, the zoning ordinances of many different cities and municipalities, together with bigger cities similar to Allentown, Erie, Scranton, and Bethlehem, don’t but comprise particular EV and ECS-related provisions.  However as the usage of EVs will increase, not solely cities, however different municipalities which are residence to procuring complexes, hospitals and medical workplace buildings, assisted residing amenities, business and industrial parks, consuming institutions, faculties and universities, townhomes and condominiums, and leisure amenities might want to amend their zoning ordinances to incorporate such provisions.

  • The next are simply among the issues that should be addressed by municipalities:

  • The zoning districts through which ECSs can be a permitted use, an adjunct use, or a use permitted by variance;

  • Set up standards for ECSs and EV provide gear (EVSE), e.g., dimension, compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), ampere and voltage (240v vs. 480v), and retraction necessities for cords.

  • Necessities for EV parking and ECSs for brand spanking new personal and public growth tasks e.g., variety of ECSs per sq. ft or variety of dwelling items, together with necessities by charging stage. As background, there are three ranges of EV charging: Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3. Stage 3 is damaged into DC Quick Charging and (Tesla) Supercharging. The upper the extent of charging, the quicker the charging course of.  A Stage 3 charging station can present a full cost in about half-hour.

  • The situation and variety of ECSs in public parking amenities, together with necessities by charging stage;

  • The scale and signage for parking areas for EVs;

  • The retrofitting of present parking amenities and present business, industrial, and high-density residential constructions to accommodate EVSE; and

  • The set up of ESCs at amenities promoting gasoline and diesel gasoline, similar to Wawa and Scheetz.

  • Additional, municipalities will possible must amend present code necessities for buildings and constructing allow necessities.

Municipalities- New Jersey

  • In July 2021, New Jersey amended its Municipal Land Use Legislation to incorporate quite a few provisions regarding EVs and EVSE that haven’t been addressed in Pennsylvania on the state stage, together with the next:

  • An software for growth, submitted solely for the set up of EVSE or charger-ready (“Make Ready”) parking areas, that are thought of a permitted accent use and permitted accent construction in all zoning or use districts of a municipality, doesn’t require a variance.

  • An software for growth for the set up of electrical car provide gear or Make-Prepared parking areas at present gasoline service stations, retail institutions, and different buildings, which aren’t topic to web site plan or different land use board assessment, doesn’t require a variance, and is to be permitted by the issuance of a zoning allow by the executive officer.

  • As a situation of preliminary web site plan approval, for every software involving a a number of dwelling with 5 or extra items of dwelling area, the developer or proprietor should meet necessities for the set up of EVSE and Make Prepared parking areas on the outset, inside three years and inside six years along with sure ADA-related necessities. Additional, for parking heaps and garages not a part of multi-family dwellings, there are specified numbers of Make-Prepared parking areas based mostly on the whole variety of parking areas, together with specified numbers of ADA-related parking areas.

  • The “State Uniform Construction Code Act” incorporates necessities set forth the foregoing necessities.

  • A allowing software solely for the set up of electrical car provide gear permitted as an adjunct use shouldn’t be topic to assessment based mostly on parking necessities.

Municipalities – Different Concerns

  • In addressing zoning points, municipal officers may also must take into accounts the size of charging instances per stage and the corresponding wait instances, coupled with anxiousness brought on by range-phobia, the function of parking authorities in managing municipal ECSs, and the set up prices of ESCs (see beneath).

  • As a result of rising use of EVs, municipalities should deal with the difficulty of batteries. Whereas the life of those batteries can prolong for a few years, finally, recycling and disposal can be required. Lithium batteries pose an elevated fireplace hazard, and these fires can smolder for a few years, releasing poisonous chemical substances into the air. In 2021, the US Environmental Safety Company reported that between 2013 and 2020, there have been 245 lithium battery-related fires in 28 states.  That is significantly vital for much less populated municipalities, which can be seen as extra enticing areas for recycling crops and disposal amenities.

  • Even with the vastly expanded use of EVs, automobiles powered by gasoline and diesel gasoline are prone to stay in use for a lot of, and the necessity for fueling stations for these automobiles, albeit on a diminished foundation, will stay. Municipalities could must re-examine exiting ordinances concerning the use, operation, and final closure of standard fueling stations.

  • Additional, whereas the main target has been on EVs which are passenger vehicles, finally zoning ordinances, codes, and growth plans can be wanted to cope with electrical mild and heavy-duty automobiles.


Whereas for many years, builders of residential, business, and industrial tasks have addressed parking points and necessities, the arrival of EV and ESCs offers rise to further points. 

  • First and maybe foremost is the difficulty of prices. The extent of charging has a direct affect on prices and prices are immediately impacted by a number of components similar to the quantity of EVSE, and infrastructure that should be upgraded or put in.  Stage 1 ECSs are appropriate for a single residential dwelling, however Stage 2 and Stage 3 charging are wanted for business and industrial enterprises. The price of putting in a stage 2 ECS ranges from about $2,000 to $7,000, and the fee to put in a stage 3 ECS can exceed $50,000. Builders might want to assess EVSE and infrastructure wants and work together with the general public utility concerning set up.  Accordingly, the price of putting in ECSs can affect, maybe considerably, the prices of development.

  • A second situation revolves round which celebration pays for the electrical energy. If, for instance, the developer intends to be a residential landlord, homeowners of EVs who use ECSs will devour extra electrical energy than different residents. Accordingly, builders should take into account alternate options similar to whether or not there can be a number of ECSs obtainable to all tenants, or ECSs devoted to particular leased properties. As well as, builders might want to take into account: (i) having the developer cowl the electrical energy price, (ii) together with the fee in widespread space costs, (iii) charging fastened month-to-month charges, or (iv) putting in submeters.  

  • Third, if a developer intends to create a residential or business condominium, the condominium paperwork might want to deal with EV-related issues. These embrace whether or not ECSs can be a “common element” and whether or not the price of electrical energy can be included within the month-to-month evaluation.   

Financial Packages

As famous above, the price of putting in ESCs presents challenges to each municipalities and builders. Thankfully, states together with Pennsylvania and New Jersey have undertaken to deal with this, as follows:

  • Pennsylvania’s Driving Ahead Initiative Program supplies grants that underwrite set up prices related to ESCs. As with every grant packages, there are software necessities together with whether or not the ESC can be public or personal.

  • The New Jersey Division of Environmental Safety supplies grants by the It Pay$ to Plug In: New Jersey’s Electric Automobile Office Charging Grant Program to help plug-in electrical car adoption and EVSE set up.

  • In April 2022, PECO introduced its new Stage 2 EV charger rebate program. That is a part of $1.5 million in EV charging infrastructure incentives to help business, industrial, and public transit prospects excited by clear transportation choices. Municipalities and builders ought to talk with their electrical utility concerning the potential of acquiring a rebate.

  • Builders may additionally want to take into account exploring extra conventional financial growth instruments similar to low-interest loans. In Pennsylvania, low curiosity loans embrace Enterprise in Our Websites or Pennsylvania Infrastructure Financial institution loans or a grant below Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Help Capital Program (RACP).

  • If a developer is contemplating the usage of tax increment financing to help a challenge, the developer ought to take into account together with EVSE bills within the “project costs.”

  • Smaller municipalities could want to collaborate within the set up of EVSE together with ESCs to unfold prices. This might take varied varieties, similar to a challenge below public-private laws.

  • Municipalities, significantly these positioned alongside or close to an interstate freeway, could finally profit, at the least not directly, from the efforts of the federal authorities.  Just lately, the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Power introduced that just about $5 billion can be made obtainable below the brand new Nationwide Electric Automobile Infrastructure (NEVI) Formulation Program established by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation, to construct out a nationwide electrical car charging community. This system will present practically $5 billion over 5 years to assist states create a community of EV charging stations alongside designated Various Gas Corridors, significantly alongside the Interstate Freeway System. 

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