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EV Charging at City Facilities

City Hall Garage Rooftop EV Charger

As of May 2020, Sacramento operates 168 charging connectors at City-owned facilities. While 51 serve the City fleet, 117 are available for public or employee charging. Patrons of City parking facilities can charge their EV at no additional cost, except when using the pay-to-charge DC fast charger at Sacramento Valley Station. The EV Parking Map App provides additional details on chargers by type at each City facility.

EV charger upgrades complete at all 5 city-owned and operated parking garages

In May 2020, the City of Sacramento completed construction to replace and expand electric vehicle charging access at all five City-owned and operated parking garages (Capitol, City Hall, Memorial, Old Sacramento, and Tower Bridge garages). As a result, there are now 85 EV connectors available across the City's five garages, nearly doubling the amount of public chargers than previously available at these sites. 

  • View a map of City-owned parking garages: https://www.cityofsacramento.org/Public-Works/Parking-Services/Parking-Map
  • EV chargers were replaced with ChargePoint equipment. Therefore, all EV drivers wanting to charge their vehicles at the City-owned and operated parking garages will need to have a ChargePoint account in order to access the new chargers.
  • Electric vehicle charging will remain free at this time.
  • Number of EV connectors:
    • Capitol Garage (13 EV connectors)
    • City Hall Garage (40 EV connectors)
    • Memorial Garage (12 EV connectors)
    • Old Sacramento Garage (10 EV connectors)
    • Tower Bridge Garage (10 EV connectors)

EV PARKING PROGRAM (EVPP)

Discounted monthly parking rates are available for owners or lessees of EVs in the following designated City parking facilities:

  • Capitol Garage
  • City Hall Garage
  • Memorial Garage
  • Old Sacramento Garage
  • Tower Bridge Garage

EV drivers are eligible for reduced monthly passes, subject to enrollment availability for each garage. More information and applications are available through the Parking Services’ EV Parking Program.

updates at the 5 city-owned and operated parking garages

The City of Sacramento is working to accelerate EV adoption, access, infrastructure, and awareness.

The City is planning to use CALeVIP rebates to pay for the next phase of EVSE at City facilities, including at parking garages. Additionally, staff are proposing revisions to the EV Parking Program by modifying the current discount for existing members and reinvesting those monies back into electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support the current and anticipated demands. The focus would also shift to providing incentives for drivers of internal combustion engine vehicles that convert to zero emission vehicles. Learn more in the FAQ section below. 

Distinctions between EV discussion topics at parking facilities: 

  • EV Parking Program (EVPP) – access to parking at a reduced cost
  • EV Supply Equipment (EVSE) – access to chargers

The City hosted two events to discuss these planned and proposed changes:

  • Friday, November 15th, 2019 
    • 11:30 am – 1:00 pm 
    • New City Hall: 915 I Street, Room 1119 (first floor)
  • Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
    • 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
    • New City Hall: 915 I Street, Room 1119 (first floor)

November 2019 EV Meetings: Flyer

The City is still developing the proposal for EVPP modifications and welcomes feedback. Please submit any questions or comments through the link below:

Proposed Changes to the City's Electric Vehicle Parking Program - Feedback Form

FAQ: Proposed Modifications to the City’s EVPP

What is the Electric Vehicle Parking Program?

The Electric Vehicle Parking Program (EVPP) is an incentive program that offers reduced monthly parking memberships for electric vehicle (EV) drivers. This  program was created in 1994 as an early step by the City towards being a leader in promoting an increase and awareness of EVs.

Electric vehicles that are owned or leased by individuals or enterprises are eligible for special monthly parking rates in the five City-owned and operated parking garages. . To qualify for the Electric Vehicle Parking Program, vehicles must be 100% electric. Hybrid vehicles do not qualify for the program. Members of the EVPP currently receive a 50% discount off of the posted monthly parking rate.

How many people participate in the EVPP? 

As of December 2019, the EVPP had 110 enrolled members. It's important to note that number of EVPP memberships is not reflective of the full amount of EV drivers parking in the five City-owned and operated garages. Enrollment has continued to evolve throughout the program’s 25-year lifespan and can tend to fluctuate. However, the overall number of EVs in the garages has increased over time. Many drivers receive parking benefits through their employer or are occasional visitors, in which cases they would not be enrolled or counted in the EVPP membership total.  Additionally, since the program’s inception in 1994, the City has provided free electric vehicle charging for any EV garage customer, regardless of whether they are an EVPP participant or daily parker.

Does the EVPP have a cap to membership?

No, there is no membership cap; EVPP membership is available to any monthly parking member who drives an eligible electric vehicle. EVPP membership was initially offered at a 100% discount until certain membership thresholds were met. Per City Council Resolutions 98-0274 and 2000-0646, when the number of EV transactions exceeds five percent (5%) of overall parking transactions in a City-owned garage, then EVPP participants of that garage are required to pay a monthly fee equal to 50% of the garage monthly rate. Beginning in  2014, the volume of EV transactions in City garages gradually reached that five percent threshold over the years, which resulted in the  implementation of the 50% monthly rate in  City-owned garages. By 2018, free monthly parking was fully phased out for EVPP participants in all City-owned garages as EV transactions comprised more than 5% of overall transactions in each garage.

What is the City proposing to modify about the EV Parking Program?

Staff are updating this 25-year old program to meet recently adopted EV goals and better serve EV users. In 2017, the City Council adopted the EV Strategy, which calls for staff to update the EV Parking Program to incentivize new users (refer to Action 4.2.2: Develop a phased approach to update the City’s EV Parking Program to increase charging access, encourage other types of zero emission vehicles, encourage at-home charging by patrons when feasible, and ensure the availability of chargers for broad use). Staff propose modifying the program to reduce the monthly discount for existing members and to use the increased revenue to reinvest in EV infrastructure and programs, while shifting more of a focus to providing incentives to gasoline drivers who convert to EVs. Accordingly, staff is developing recommendations to modify the discounted monthly parking rate for EV drivers. Changes to the program require approval by City Council.

City staff are soliciting feedback on a preliminary recommended approach to shift the current discount away from existing beneficiaries to encourage new EV drivers and fund EV infrastructure and programs, as follows:

  1. Implement a gradual annual reduction to the monthly discount for existing EVPP members over a three-year period.

  2. Encourage internal combustion engine (ICE) drivers currently enrolled in a monthly garage program to convert to an EV and receive a monthly discount as an incentive for an initial time period.

  3. Offer a monthly discount for an initial time period to EV drivers who are new monthly parking garage members.

  4. Introduce fees for use of EV chargers to recoup electricity and program costs. Details regarding pricing will be developed as outreach progresses.

The goal of these updates are to drive EV adoption to support local and state EV clean air initiatives and reduce greenhouse gas  (GHG) emissions while supporting current and anticipated EV demands. 

City staff are evaluating program options. All proposals are subject to change, taking into consideration stakeholder feedback and will ultimately require City Council approval.

Why is the City proposing to modify the EV Parking Program?

The City is proposing updating and modernizing the EVPP to continue the City’s vision for EV adoption. Discounted monthly parking to EV participants has been in existence for over 25 years, however this model no longer provides  the best support for the needs of parking garage customers. Additionally, City Council directed staff to complete EVPP updates per the adopted EV Strategy in December 2017. The EV Strategy also calls for financially sustainable zero emission vehicle programs and advancing efficient distribution of public charging infrastructure. Program updates are part of a long-term effort to expand infrastructure, support EV usage, and spur new adoption.

The City of Sacramento’s EVPP has benefited early adopters of EV technologies for many years, providing members an ongoing subsidy for monthly parking. Costs to maintain EVPP discounts and provide EV charging are expected to increase as the number of EV drivers continues to grow. Additionally, the City-owned electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) does not meet the current or projected charging demand as existing equipment is congested and concentrated in the Downtown core in City-owned parking garages. The City hopes to sustain the EVPP and expand access to public charging with limited funding. Therefore, staff are seeking to restructure the program and develop more financially sustainable models for the EVPP so that it can continue to support existing and future EV infrastructure and programs.

Lastly, research shows that parking incentives are influential in drivers’ decisions to own or lease an EV, but – in many cases – discounts have benefited the same people for many years. Therefore, discounts will likely continue to be useful incentive, but should be leveraged to fund infrastructure and encourage new EV usage. 

How will proposed changes benefit EV users?

To provide benefits with limited resources, staff recognize that the EVPP should be expanded to leverage both parking discounts and access to EV charging. EV users will benefit from the City addressing two key limitations:

  1. The benefit of incentives is currently limited because the garages are full and the current time on the waitlist for monthly parking membership is estimated at 2-3 years. Because City garages are full and not accepting new monthly customers at this time, increasing the number of EVPP drivers is challenging. The City must continue to explore creative solutions to convert owners from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to EVs, including offering EVPP discounts to existing monthly garage pass holders.

  2. Electrical infrastructure at the City-owned and operated garages does not have the capacity to support more chargers beyond what is currently planned for installation in early 2020. Dramatic expansion and expensive investments, such as transformer upgrades, are needed in order to meet future charging demands. Changing the discount structure will create funding that can support the level of infrastructure upgrades needed for future demand.

Is the City ending the EVPP or discontinuing discounts for existing members?

No. The City is not proposing to exclude existing EVPP members from the program. The City is evaluating gradually reducing the discount for existing members over a three-year period. In some instances, current members have been receiving subsidized parking for over 20 years. Increased funds could therefore be reinvested in infrastructure to support EV utilization. The limited incentive period follows the precedent of other EV incentive programs, such as the DMV’s Clean Air Vehicle decal program. 

How is the parking program waitlist managed? How long is the typical wait?

The five City-owned and operated garages are currently full. The wait time currently ranges between two and three years and accepts new members on a first-come, first-served basis.

Under the proposal, will EV drivers need to pay for the use of chargers? If so, when will fees be introduced and how much will it cost to charge?

Yes. The City plans to begin introducing fees for the use of chargers to recoup electricity and program costs. Fees for charging would apply to all garage customers charging their EV in a City garage, including EVPP members and non-members alike. However, pricing fees are not yet established and will be developed at a later date. Chargers will remain free until pricing details are tested and established. The new chargers will also provide data on charging behavior to improve the City’s decision-making capabilities and equip the City to respond to maintenance needs in a more proactive manner.

What percentage of the Sacramento market do EV’s represent? Are we on pace to reach climate goals related to electric transportation?

While the number of ZEVs on the road in Sacramento currently represent just under 1% of all local vehicles, several positive market trends are emerging as of December 2019, including:

  • 3.3% of new vehicle sales in Sacramento are EVs

  • Sacramento is 5th in the number of public chargers (Level 2 and DCFC) per capita nationally, and 2nd in the number of fast public charge points per million population nationally

  • Sacramento is in the top 3 of California cities for EV promotion actions

  • There are already dozens of EV models available on the marketplace and dozens of additional EV models have been announced that are anticipated through 2020

  • Secondary markets and increasing variety in price points/affordability

  • Numerous innovative ZEV programs have recently launched in Sacramento with a focus on expanding access to clean mobility options for low income communities to participate in ZEV programs and/or ownership

International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) [1,2]

[1] ICCT. California’s continued electric vehicle market development. May 2018. https://theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/CA-cityEV-Briefing-20180507.pdf

[2] Peter Slowik, Nic Lutsey. ICCT. The Continued Transition to Electric Vehicles in U.S. Cities. July 2018. https://theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/Transition_EV_US_Cities_20180724.pdf

Doesn’t the Volkswagen settlement pay for charging infrastructure?

Volkswagen subsidiary Electrify America designated Sacramento as the first Green City in its Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment Plan in 2017. Under this initiative, also known as “Sac-to-Zero”, Electrify America will invest $44 million in Sacramento by 2020. However, the City is not a direct recipient of Electrify America’s funding. Electrify America is leading its own EV investments within the community for fast charging plazas, charging for transit, and a limited number of Level 2 chargers. Electrify America is not subsidizing or paying for City-owned EV infrastructure either on the street or in City-owned garages. Electrify America’s Green City investments are in addition to City investments.

Electrify America’s investments fall within three main categories:

  • ZEV Car Share – vehicles and infrastructure
    • GIG Car Share: Free-floating ZEV car share
    • Envoy: Round-trip ZEV car share at multifamily developments
  • Charging Infrastructure
    • Over 10 fast charging hubs in the region, including seven in the City of Sacramento
  • ZEV Bus/Shuttle – vehicles and infrastructure
    • UC Davis to Sacramento “Causeway Connection” bus service
    • Franklin Blvd. Corridor on-demand shuttle service

In addition to vehicle and infrastructure investments, Electrify America also supported public outreach to support the three activities described above.

Learn more at: http://www.cityofsacramento.org/Green-City

What is the City doing to improve congestion at chargers?

Chargers were originally funded with a mixture of funds from SMUD and the State of California. Much of that charging technology is now outdated, needs to be replaced, and does not allow the City to charge fees to recoup electricity and program costs. The City recently reserved funds through the California Energy Commission’s CALeVIP rebate program that will fund much of the costs for the networked equipment and installations for the next round of upgrades, which allows for better station management and utilization.

Use of CALeVIP funds will nearly double the amount of parking spaces with access to an EV connector in the five City-owned and operated garages New chargers are expected to be installed in early Q1 2020.

Additionally, research shows that when charging is free, chargers are used significantly more than needed, adding to congestion. When fees for use of chargers are present, EV drivers tend to plug in when needed or as a supplement, rather than rely on free chargers as a regular source of charge. Charging behavior becomes more efficient and turnover at chargers increases. The City plans to discontinue providing free charging and introduce fees to (1) reduce congestion and (2) recoup electricity and program costs. By mid-2020, the City will evaluate options and confirm timing to initiate fees. Pricing fees are not yet established and will be developed at a later date.

Providing access to public charging will continue to be an important action to support local and state EV, clean air, and GHG reduction goals, especially to ensure that there are options for new EV drivers to plug in who may not have access to a charger at home (such as renters, people living in apartments, without dedicated parking, or who do not have access to a garage). The City cannot meet all public charging demand or 100% of individual EV drivers’ range, but City Council has committed to complementing overall regional charging as outlined in the EV Strategy. Therefore, the City wants to continue offering charging as a service and improve charger availability for those that need it. 

Is the City considering moving the chargers located on the top floor of City Hall Garage to a different floor to keep the chargers out of the weather?

No. At this time, the City is not considering moving those chargers to a different floor. City Hall Garage will continue to have chargers on the second and eighth floors. This is due to proximity to the dedicated power supply, available conduit, and cost restraints. 

Has the City considered shared, long connectors so that one charger can serve multiple cars without EV drivers having to move their vehicle?

The City has previously reviewed the option to have an EV connector serve multiple cars per day without having to move cars. However, at this time, City staff do not intend to pursue this option. City-owned and operated garages serve the general public, therefore it is important to limit the risk of liability to both the City and customers to prevent the following issues:

  • Customers causing property damage to other vehicles upon removing chargers or causing inconveniences to other customers when chargers are removed from vehicles before they receive a sufficient charge.

  • Some car models automatically lock the connector, and will only allow unplugging the charger when the car is unlocked.

  • Charging systems may not be able to accurately calculate or collect the fees for usage from the correct user.

What else is the City doing for electric vehicles?

In December 2017, after public workshops and notice, City Council adopted the City’s first EV Strategy. This established goals for EV adoption and provides directives to staff, including a priority to expand EV adoption and increase access to benefits for low-income populations and disadvantaged communities. You can view related public comments, workshop materials, and information presented to the City Council online: http://www.cityofsacramento.org/Public-Works/Electric-Vehicle-Initiatives/EV-Strategy.

The City of Sacramento has supported or directly implemented numerous EV initiatives to date, including, but not limited to, the following: