Planning for the EVolution in charging stations

Newly installed Blink Charging Station in Traverse City

As the number of EV (electric vehicle) charging stations have increased, their design and appearance have grown in style and variety. While many EV charging stations are currently accessory uses on the site of other uses like hotels, theaters, parking decks/lots, offices, retailers, and restaurants; freestanding (independent from other uses on the site) EV charging stations are increasingly coming into vogue. From a visual and/or customer service standpoint, an EV charging station should accomplish the following:

  • Be easy to find and/or see without being obtrusive
  • Be innovative, while also being pleasantly designed
  • Be conducive with its surroundings
  • Be easy and safe to use
  • Be competitive in terms of the cost of electricity (some EV stations offer free charging)

However, from a planning and zoning standpoint, there are a number of other issues to consider when incorporating EV charging stations into your code or when reviewing a specific site proposal. These include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Location on an existing business site as an accessory or ancillary use or on an independent site itself. Also, the location of any ancillary equipment associated with the charging station (see below).
ChargePoint Charging Station with ancillary equipment to the right of the charging units and landscaping incorporated – Source:
  • Setbacks from the property line, clear visions zones, loading zones, buildings, etc.
  • Parking spaces dedicated to EV chargers and whether they count towards minimum or maximum parking space requirements – this may partially be determined by the number of EV charging stations being proposed, as well as the other uses on the site.
EVgo Charging Station in New Jersey
  • Landscaping be complimentary and aesthetically pleasing without hiding the units from view.
Landscaping adjacent to an EV charging station without blocking the view or access – Source:
  • Signage on the units or directing drivers to them, as well as the necessary signage limiting the parking in front of the units to EVs for recharging purposes.
  • Safety and protection of the charging units and customers using them – see the bollards included with EVgo unit design below.
EVgo Charging Units with built-in protective bollards – Source:
  • Lighting for the charging site. While sharp looking, the neon-lit Electrify America units in Vancouver, Washington (see photo below) may run afoul of many zoning codes
Electrify America Station in Vancouver, WA – Source:
  • Weather protection, including standard roof or solar roofs, as well as the need for these to meet setbacks.
Resla V3 Supercharger Station located in Las Vegas – Source:
EV Charging Station prototype – Source:
  • Power generation on site via solar panels. See the photos both above and below for examples, including the off-grid design shown below.
Electrify America off-grid charging station – Source:
  • Advertising provided on the units or at the site. While the name of the specific EV manufacturer or provider may not an issue, many communities prohibit video and/or audio advertising at fuel pumps. This would likely also be true at EV Charging Station – see the Volta unit(s) below, which offer free EV charging in exchange for watching advertisements.
Volta Charging Station – free charging, but with advertisements – Source:
  • Adaptive reuse of former gas stations for EV charging. As more fossil fuel companies enter the market, this could become an increasingly common trend. BP, Total, and Shell are all currently involved in the EV market.
Former gas station/now an EV charging station in Takoma Park, MD – Source:


Below are some additional photos of other types of EV charging stations.

Unroofed Tesla Supercharger Station – Source:
Blink Charging Station designs – Source:
Red E Charging Station designs
Rivian Waypoint Charging Station design – Source:

For additional ideas and recommendations, here are some useful resources:

This entry was posted in adaptive reuse, advertising, Alternative energy, Alternative transportation, architecture, branding, Cars, cities, climate change, commerce, Communications, consumerism, culture, economic development, electric vehicles, energy, environment, futurism, infrastructure, land use, landscape architecture, light pollution, marketing, pictures, planning, pollution, product design, Renewable Energy, spatial design, Statistics, sustainability, tourism, Trade, traffic, transportation, Travel, urban design, urban planning, video, visual pollution, zoning and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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