Chandler trying to prepare for electric vehicle future - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler trying to prepare for electric vehicle future

December 8th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
Chandler trying to prepare for electric vehicle future
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Chandler trying to prepare for electric vehicle future

By Ken Sain, Staff Writer

Few people doubt that personal transportation is driving toward an electric future but how quickly we get there is very much in doubt.

Kevin Mayo, Chandler’s planning administrator, pointed to a recent Powerpoint presentation he gave to City Council.

“It shows two different experts in the field of EV with their predictions for electric vehicle absorption by 2050,” Mayo said. “This one here shows 12 percent vehicles total registered in Arizona would be EV as one scenario. And another scenario shows 90. And ultimately what that means is that we don’t know. Even the experts don’t know.”

Last month Mayo appeared before Council during a work study session to determine what direction it prefers in preparing for the electric vehicle future.

“The feedback we got was to really let … the market dictate which way we go with this,” Mayo said. “We’ll still be working with the individual applicants through the zoning processes to tailor an appropriate style and type of electric vehicle charging for each, whether it’s multi-family, whether it’s office/employment or something of that nature.”

So there will be no suggested ordinances coming before Council any time soon.

Mayo said most homebuilders his office has spoken with prefer the flexibility of letting the buyers chose how best to address their electric needs.

Most homes come with a 120-volt AC outlet. It takes a long time to charge a car’s battery with one of these.

Most builders are offering to put in a 240-volt plug for a little more money. Some buyers want those outlets in the garage, others on the street. Mayo said that is why homebuilders want flexibility, so they can put the outlet where the buyer wants.

The fastest charging stations are 480-volt and more and can charge a car battery in minutes. However, there are fewer than a half dozen of them in Chandler. Mayo said the city is trying to target putting in charging stations where cars spend most of their time, which is home and the office.

He’d also like to see fast-charging stations at the city’s top destinations, including downtown and malls.

Other factors Mayo and his colleagues are considering include aesthetics and safety. Mayo said some stations can be quite large. He’s also seen examples of people parking near a charging station and then stretching the cable across a walkway to reach their vehicle, an obvious safety hazard.

The one thing he said every business that is thinking about an electric future should consider: It’s a lot cheaper to put in the electric infrastructure when constructing a building than it is to retrofit after the fact.

He pointed to the Amazon facility south of Queen Creek and east of McQueen as an example. He said it cost Amazon a lot of money to set up two separate sections in its parking lot for the company’s delivery vans.

“At the time of construction, I want to say it was about $3 million,” Mayo said. “They elected to pre-wire the parking lot with the ducting and everything in there and worked with SRP to size the electrical facilities on site to be able to handle … a full electric fleet. It ended up saving them about 70 percent to do it during construction vs. post.”

Amazon officials did not respond to requests for an interview. Instead, they noted a blog post about the company’s electric delivery vehicles. The company has agreed to purchase more than 100,000 of them at it tries to deliver on its climate pledge.

Amazon announced in 2019 it intends to be a net-zero carbon company by the year 2040. Electric vehicle maker Rivian is making those vehicles. Amazon is an investor in that company.

“They’ve already started implementing banks of EV-charging vans and have been testing them and they seem to be proving quite successful,” Mayo said.

Mayo pointed out the city is nearing full build-out, meaning there is little room left for new developments. He said most of the projects they will be working on in the future will be redeveloping older properties.

Still, he said all businesses that plan to undergo a major renovation or building anew should consider their needs, both for their own fleets and their workers. If they anticipate needing charging stations, it’s a lot cheaper to add them then than it will be to do after the building is done.

 

They’ve already started implementing banks of EV-charging vans and have been testing them and they seem to be proving quite successful.– Kevin Mayo

Chandler trying to prepare for electric vehicle future

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