Charge: Auburn Hills takes the lead in electric vehicle infastructure

Auburn Hills adopts Michigan’s first ordinance for facilitating electric vehicle charging stations and corresponding infrastructure planning.
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Auburn Hills –The City of Auburn Hills announces that the City Council voted unanimously at its meeting Monday evening to adopt an electric vehicle infrastructure ordinance that facilitates the installation of electric vehicle charging stations and sets the stage for the City to become a leader in incorporating electric vehicles into its community and economic development plans.  The ordinance was also unanimously approved by the City Planning Commission on June 28th.

According to Community Development Director Steve Cohen, Auburn Hills is the first city in Michigan to adopt a comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) charging ordinance.“The Auburn Hills Community Development team investigated EV ordinances throughout the country and adopted an ordinance that blends best practices nationwide with the unique needs of Auburn Hills and the state of Michigan,” explained Cohen.  “We view this EV ordinance as a model for planned development in a future where electric and hybrid vehicles are commonplace; further, we encourage cities throughout Michigan to use the language in our ordinance or adopt a similar ordinance that meets their community’s specific needs.

”Auburn Hills’ new ordinance encourages, but does not require, property owners to plan for and/or install EV charging stations to support future market demand.  Because the greatest barrier to market adoption of EVs is the unique infrastructure needed to refuel the vehicles, the City believes the ordinance will raise awareness about the issue and help property owners proactively plan for EV infrastructure so that costly or cost prohibitive retrofits can be avoided in the future. 

Cohen says the introduction of EV charging stations represents a significant change in community and economic development.

“EV fueling systems are based on a clustering of strategically placed charging stations at homes, workplaces and retail stores, in lieu of the traditional quick ‘in and out’ fueling system used with gas stations.  Like the emergence of cell phones and their associated network of towers, EV charging stations will change the municipal infrastructure landscape.  It’s a cultural shift that can’t be ignored by city planners and other professions directly involved in shaping how communities will function in the future,” explains Cohen.  “Auburn Hills is an employment hub for tens of thousands of workers who live in or commute to the City.  We are planning for their future transportation habits by establishing an EV-friendly environment now.”

City Manager Pete Auger echoes Cohen’s comments and says, as the home of Chrysler Group, LLC and numerous automotive suppliers and electric vehicle leaders, the City of Auburn Hills recognizes the importance of supporting emerging innovation in the EV industry.

“Municipalities will need to enable and promote the necessary charging infrastructure demanded by prospective customers,” says Auger. “Auburn Hills believes advanced planning at all governmental levels is critical to support the early adoption of EVs and increase private sector investment.“

Magna E-Car has been at the forefront of the EV revolution with our Power Electronics, Electric Drives, Battery, and Vehicle Integration expertise,” says Pavlov.  “One of the reasons we based the US Headquarters in Auburn Hills is because of the City’s embrace of businesses that are spurring innovation through new technology applications.  It’s not surprising to see Auburn Hills now leading the way in municipal support of developing a comprehensive EV infrastructure plan and offering other cities the opportunity to follow suit.

”The movement to adopt an EV infrastructure ordinance was accelerated by Auburn Hills’ inclusion as a “Champion City” in a federal planning and readiness grant submitted by the Ann Arbor-based Clean Energy Coalition to the U.S. Department of Energy to promote EV infrastructure planning throughout Michigan.  Auburn Hills also formed an advisory group this year to explore best practices in introducing an EV infrastructure to the City and the region.

Advisory Group members include Chrysler Group, LLC, Magna E-Car, ALTe, Clean Energy Coalition, Pike Research, and DTE Energy.The locations of Auburn Hills’ first municipal EV charging stations will be announced in late August.  It is anticipated there will be no charge, at least initially, for their use. To read the electric vehicle infrastructure ordinance in its entirety, please visit www.auburnhills.org.

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