MRIA Supports Neighborhood Charging Station for Electric Vehicles

Charging a Nissan Leaf By Bill Hamilton

The Mt. Royal Improvement Association board has tentatively endorsed plans to install two charging stations for electric vehicles at the edge of Sumpter Park, on Robert Street near Jordan Alley.

Kevin Morris, a Bolton Hill resident, told the board that the Electric Vehicle Institute (EVI), a local nonprofit, is working with the city to install stations at city-owned facilities. Chargers have already been installed throughout the Baltimore area, including Druid Hill Park, Patterson Park and Canton waterfront parks, and at Pratt branch libraries. 

Through grants and sponsorships, EVI covers the costs for installation and maintenance of the stations at no cost to the surrounding neighborhood. And Baltimore City pays for the electricity used to charge cars at the stations with no charge to the drivers.

As many as four EV ports could be accommodated at the proposed location in Bolton Hill, although MRIA proposed asking for only two at this point, with the parking spaces at the stations restricted to vehicles while actively using them. MRIA Board members voted for a general endorsement of the plan, but will revisit specifics of the issue once a letter of endorsement is submitted for final approval.

According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, 5,089 plug-in vehicles were based in the state as of three years ago. It’s not clear how many there are in the neighborhood, but Morris said a half-dozen or more people have approached him in support of installing an EV station, saying they have an electric car or plan to purchase one.

“I have long wanted an electric car, and have been researching how to make urban EV ownership feasible,” Morris said. Through his research, he discovered that “Baltimore is one of the most progressive cities in the country in terms of promoting and enabling electric vehicle ownership.” Morris hopes to buy a Tesla next year.

Locally, plug-in stations have been installed at several garages for paying parkers, including three stations in the UB-Maryland Avenue garage and two at the Fitzgerald garage, but only the first 15 minutes are free. There also are standard wall outlets available for paying parkers at the Charles Theatre garage. Other public charging locations around town include the West Baltimore MARC station, Lexington Market, the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Baltimore Public Works Museum and the Hotel Indigo. MICA has several stations for faculty and staff on campus parking lots.

In addition to federal tax incentives of up to $7,500, Maryland purchasers of plug-in electric vehicles have been eligible for an excise tax credit of up to $3,000. The state also offers a $900 rebate for buying and installing wall connectors for individuals; $5,000 for businesses or state or local governments; and $7,000 for retail service station dealers. Between 2008 and December 2016, cumulative sales of electric vehicles in the U.S. totaled 570,187, representing 28.1% of the global light-duty plug-in stock. As of December 2016, the U.S. had the world’s third-largest stock of plug-in passenger cars, after China and the EU.

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