AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Energy officials detailed its latest progress toward a more equitable distribution of electric vehicle charging stations in a Monday memo.
AE is working to develop a vision plan for the citywide distribution of both DC fast chargers and Level 2 chargers. AE is also looking toward an initial three-year implementation phase as well as is eyeing federal incentives and grant opportunities to assist in its efforts, per the memo.
Its vision plan includes a three-tiered focus:
- Amount of public charging needed to support EV adoption
- Equitable distribution analysis
- Infrastructure deployment methods
Under the City of Austin’s Climate Equity Plan, the endeavor identified a goal of 226 megawatts of charging to be available “to support the goal of having 40% of vehicle miles traveled me electric,” per the memo. Reaching that goal is a combined effort of publicly provided charging infrastructure, as well as private sector investments.
Currently, the Plug-In Austin network features 1,600 charging ports, with 30 DC fast chargers available across AE’s jurisdiction. AE officials noted in the memo they’re continuing “to offer incentives to grow charging infrastructure to support commercial, multi-family, workplace and fleet applications.”
AE has applied for a $15 million funding bump from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grant. The focus of the grant, should AE receive it, would be on bolstering publicly-owned facilities while increasing fast-charging deployment in the city.
If received, the grant would help cover roughly 80 DC fast chargers “co-located with Level 2 charging in Austin.” AE officials expect to be notified of their grant’s status before the end of 2023.
AE is also incorporating software and data-based solutions to evaluate where charging needs exist based on existing infrastructure, access to historically underserved communities and access to multi-family properties, per the memo. The deployment aims to prioritize projects that have at least 40% of its benefits going toward disadvantaged communities, the memo added.
Currently, AE is working with property management on a car share pilot, which would provide EV access and charging to low- and moderate-income housing. Under those forums, AE would offer an 80% rebate to multi-family properties that install an EV charger as a community amenity, per the memo.
AE is also working in coordination with CapMetro and the Austin Independent School District on its electric fleet efforts. That has led to the co-location of fleet and public charging resources at City of Austin properties, DC fast charging at an AISD school and working with Travis County properties on its DOT grant application.
Right now, there’s an estimated 11% outage rate among EV charging stations in the Plug-In Austin network, down from 28% reported in January. AE is working on quarterly preventative maintenance efforts on all in-network charging stations, with an $800,000 contract allocated toward repairs and preventative maintenance measures.