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Fairfax County officials are looking to purchase more electric vehicles (EVs) for the county’s fleet, increase the number of publicly available charging stations at government sites, and implement charges to recover costs and prevent drivers hanging out in these places.
A $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill recently signed by President Biden authorized a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations and allocated $ 5 billion to help states build them, said Susan Hafeli, deputy director of the county environmental and energy coordination office, told the supervisory board. ‘Environment Committee on December 14.
Supervisors approved an operational energy strategy in 2018 that envisioned an accelerated transition to electric vehicles and the use of 100% non-carbon emitting fuels for county fleet vehicles by 2030.
The plan aims to install Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations, which can typically fully charge a vehicle in four to six hours, at up to 20 large government facilities in the county.
Supervisors have so far authorized just over $ 3 million for the electric vehicle charging stations initiative and have approved a contract with ChargePoint for the facilities. The seller must maintain the stations or lose transaction fees if the sites are inoperative, Hafeli said.
Electric vehicle charging stations, mostly Level 2, are almost in the process of being installed at several facilities across the county:
â¢ The Government Center will have eight dual port stations and one single port station which will serve 17 parking spaces in a secure garage with no public access. The next phase of the project will consist of installing charging stations on the ground above ground.
â¢ The Public Security Headquarters will have a station with two ports serving two parking spaces.
â¢ The Herrity Building, Merrifield Center and Pennino Building will each receive three dual port charging stations serving six parking spaces. Level 2 stations are considerably less expensive than Level 3 stations, which can recharge a vehicle from zero to 80% in 30 to 40 minutes. Level 3 stations also place greater demands on the electrical infrastructure, Hafeli said.
Supervisors, as part of the county’s 2021 fiscal year budget carry forward review, authorized 12 new positions in the Facilities Maintenance Division to help with electric vehicle efforts. Officials have yet to encounter equipment and supply chain issues with the station, but such issues can arise as demand for such services increases.
County officials have identified 79 county government and Fairfax County Park Authority sites as potential locations for Level 2 EV charging stations. Factors considered by staff when evaluating possible locations included the location, the modifications needed to accommodate the increased electrical load, the expected demand and the proximity to another charging station, Hafeli said.
Officials expect charging stations to be installed at 24 sites across the county by mid-2023. These will include facilities that are newly built or have undergone major renovations; Maintenance facilities of the Department of Automotive Services and other operating sites; and in priority locations by members of the Supervisory Board, if possible.
More than 840 publicly accessible Level 2 stations in Virginia provide nearly 2,000 charging portals, Hafeli said.
The Fairfax County government fleet includes 16 electric vehicles, she said. There are 4,114 electric vehicles registered in Fairfax County, which is less than a third of the 12,763 registered in Montgomery County, Maryland. However, the counties are not far from each other when it comes to the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles.
Fairfax County has 194 electric vehicle charging stations, which equates to 17 per 100,000 people and one station per 0.5 square mile. Montgomery County has 214 stations, or 20 per 100,000 population and one station per 0.43 square mile.
Supervisor James Walkinshaw (D-Braddock) said Maryland offers a $ 3,000 electric vehicle tax credit in addition to the federal government’s $ 7,500 tax credit. Those credits, and not the availability of publicly accessible charging stations, explain Maryland’s higher total of electric vehicles, he said.
“We are a strong advocate for statewide tax credits in Virginia for people to buy used electric vehicles because there is a fairness issue,” said chairman of the board supervisor Jeff McKay (D).
Another key factor in electric vehicle ownership is ensuring the public has access to home charging stations, said supervisor Walter Alcorn (D-Hunter Mill).
Fairfax County staff will present to the Supervisory Board in early 2022 a proposed rate for Level 2 EV charging stations. The rate structure will likely have two components: a charge of $ 0.25 to $ 0.30 $ per kilowatt hour, plus a $ 2 per hour “housing” charge for the time vehicles are occupying EV charging spaces, but not actively charging.
The resort fee “gives the driver a boost to not stay too long, but is not so onerous that it discourages billing in the first place,” Hafeli said.