City developing EV charging station fees, policy

An EV charging station near 3rd Street in downtown Carson City.

An EV charging station near 3rd Street in downtown Carson City.
Photo by Scott Neuffer.

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If the future of transportation is electric vehicles, then Carson City is taking a small step toward that future by developing a policy and fee schedule for EV charging stations on city property.

According to a draft of the policy, two types of charging stations are permitted on city property: 240-volt level 2 chargers, which use 220-240-volt power supplies, and DCFC level 3 chargers, known as fast chargers, which use higher voltage.

For the 240-volt charger, the fees would be $1 per hour in the first four hours of use, plus a loitering fee of $5 an hour after four hours of continuous use. For DCFCs, the fee would be $4 per hour for the first two hours, plus $10 an hour after two hours of continuous use.

The fees would apply to city-owned stations and those on city land operated by a private vendor or public utility.

Public Works Deputy Director Dan Stucky and Transportation Manager Chris Martinovich presented the draft of the policy to the Board of Supervisors on March 16 for discussion only. According to staff, the city owns and maintains three charging stations that currently have no fees: one at the community center and two at the 3rd Street parking lot. Two more will be installed along Mills Park as part of the East William Complete Streets project as required by a federal grant used for the project.

But the city doesn’t want to own more charging stations in the future, Stucky said.

“The city does not want to be an owner — that’s how we proposed it — of these charging stations,” Stucky said. “We’d like private parties or a public utility to own and operate these things.”

Stucky said the city is receiving requests from interested station operators as EVs become more prevalent.

“As we all know, there’s about a billion dollars of federal money out there for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and millions that are coming down to the state of Nevada and being put out into the communities,” he said.

Mayor Lori Bagwell questioned how the proposed fee structure was calculated and wondered if lost gas tax revenue was factored in.

“They’re not paying into a gas tax that we’re heavily relying upon to help fix our roads, and as electric vehicles increase, we’ll see our gas tax continue to decline and decline,” she said.

Martinovich answered that many factors, including gas tax loss, contributed to the proposed fees.

“What we determined was the rate to cover our costs — plus the gas tax — was generally around 81 cents per hour of charge,” Martinovich said.

Supervisor Stacey Giomi described how the small number of charging stations would produce minimal revenue for the city, but he suggested further developing the policy as more charging stations come online.

“Maybe as we start to add these, then we raise those numbers because it is meaningful money,” he said.

In a past meeting about road funding, Martinovich said state officials are looking at moving away from a gas tax and toward a road-user charge — given the rise of EVs — but such a transition could take years.

Carson City neighborhood streets, which make up the majority of the local road network, don’t see the same federal funding opportunities as regional roads. In trying to find ways to better fund neighborhood roads, Carson City Public Works officials have pointed to an estimated $21 million annual funding gap between revenue and maintenance needs of the current network.

Presently, Carson City residents pay 15.35 cents a gallon in gasoline taxes — or 5 cents a gallon for diesel fuel — that go to roadway and maintenance funding.


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