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The City of Wilmington works to expand electric vehicle charging options for residents

Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media

Wilmington City Council is considering new legislation adopting recommended changes to the city’s residential electric vehicle charging station rules.

Last summer, City Council passed an ordinance that established a procedure for residents to obtain permits for the use and installation of curbside charging cords and electric vehicle charging stations in the public right-of-way.

The Electric Vehicle Charging Station Working Group (EVCSWG) was then formed to examine the legislation and make recommendations for changes.

Council Member Chris Johnson is the ordinance's sponsor.

“We were very satisfied and I’m actually very encouraged by their work. And I’m looking forward to implementing some of these guidelines so our residents can actually install EV in their homes. And we can then figure out regulations for public right-of-way use of EV cords,” said Johnson.

It still gives two options for EV charging:

Running a charging cord from a home to the vehicle with the vehicle parked directly in front of the home, and the cord covered to prevent sidewalk tripping.

Installing a charging station, with city approval, in the public right-of-way directly in front of property where the electric vehicle user resides.

Both options require a permit from the City.

There is no fee associated with the first option. However, the second option, requires a $100 application fee, and requires the EV owner to notify neighbors on their block that they have applied to install a charging station in the public right-of-way.

Electric vehicle users cannot reserve a parking space in either format. All on-street parking spaces remain open to the public, regardless of if there are EV charging tools installed.

The working group’s recommendations largely provide clarification on the previous legislation, but opened the door for frequent operators or non-owners of an electric vehicle to also get permits using either option.

If an EV user does not own or lease their vehicle, they must establish to the city that they use an electric vehicle as their primary mode of transportation.

The new legislation also now allows the City to grant a variance for a property owner with off-street parking on the owner’s property, such as a driveway or garage, to apply for a charging station permit.

They must satisfy all other requirements, and provide evidence to the City that the block has sufficient parking space available for other residents.

Johnson says Wilmington is the first to adopt these procedures.

“So it’s kind of trial and error,” Johnson explained. “And I guess other cities will be watching what we do and hopefully we can set a model for the rest of the state for implementing EV best practices. And to continue to refine as we go. But based on the renewable energy standards all cities will have to be here sooner or later.”

Read the full legislation here.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.