Boston is going is going big on installing curbside EV chargers

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Boston is EV-friendly, but it needs more accessible chargers, so it’s going to install hundreds of public curbside EV chargers.

Boston’s “Recharge Boston: Boston’s Zero Emission Vehicle Program,” has a goal of every household being within a 10 minute walk of a public EV charging station or EV car share, so installing 250 curbside EV chargers is part of that program.

Many EV chargers in the Massachusetts city are currently located at condos, hotels, public garages, high rises, and shopping centers. The chargers are publicly accessible but they’re not free to access. That means you have to pay a parking garage or entrance fee. This program aims to change that. (I’ve had to use my credit card to get into a parking garage in Boston to fast charge, and it’s a real pain.)

The companies the city chose to install the curbside EV chargers are Brooklyn-based Itselectric and Jersey City, NJ-based Greenspot, according to the Boston Globe, whose sources spoke to the news outlet anonymously because contracts aren’t yet finalized. Once the contracts are approved, they’ll run for 10 years.

Itselectric installs Level 2 charger posts that get their power from nearby private buildings who make passive income from partnering with Itselectric. When EV drivers sign up with Itselectric, they’re sent a portable EV charger that’s registered to the driver’s account. They can then plug and charge at any Itselectric charger in Boston and beyond.

Greenspot, which specializes in EV charging for “multifamily living,” also shares revenue with building owners. It installs both Level 2 and DC fast chargers with built-in cables.

This business model means the city doesn’t have to pay for the curbside EV chargers.

Eric Bourassa, transportation director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, told the Globe that “Boston’s experience will test whether the market can support private sector companies trying to make a profit from charging”:

We are still in the early days of figuring out the right business model. Cities need to test and see how these things work.

The EV chargers will be installed around the city in the next two years. Locations of the curbside chargers are TBD, as the EV charger companies will now work with the city on choosing sites. Residents have been making requests for EV chargers for the last few years, and that will be heavily considered. Price-wise, Boston will have to approve the rates that the companies set.

Read more: The City of Boston itself is also installing 60 EV chargers at 15 city-owned sites.


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