At the annual State of the County address on April 18th, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced that electric vehicle charging stations will be a component of the county’s Climate Action Plan. Additional charging stations are likely to make the county and surrounding areas better equipped for rising electric vehicle demand.
Expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure is one of several sustainability initiatives included in the full Climate Action Plan released on May 15th. In addition to adding 250 charging stations by the end of 2021, the plan includes electrifying school and transit bus fleets and identifying other government and commercial fleets to target for electrification and conversion to other alternative fuels.
Before addressing specifics of the Climate Plan, Budish reflected on the importance of environmentally-focused local policy, citing specific effects of greenhouse gases on Cuyahoga County, “… And it’s our most vulnerable residents: children, elderly, low income people without a vehicle, and people with a disability, these are the people likely to suffer most from climate change.” He then addressed potential criticisms, “I’ve heard people say that the problem’s too big for us to have an impact at a local level, so let’s just ignore the issue…I disagree. Scientists say that we can impact the health of our local community on our own.”
Both Budish and County Sustainability Director Mike Foley believe that creating a network of public charging stations for electric vehicles is a crucial step to addressing climate change in 2019.
While most of the specifics remain unknown, it’s easy to imagine what a countywide public charging network would mean for the Northeast Ohio electric vehicle market. Range anxiety remains one of the largest road blocks to electric vehicle adoption, and an increase in the prevalence of charging stations is all but certain to diminish these worries.
Budish echoed this strategy during his address saying, "The scarcity of this infrastructure is a major obstacle to expanding sales and usage of electric vehicles. Our goal is to create a robust charging station infrastructure over the next three years.”
In a meeting with Cleveland.com’s Courtney Astolfi, Budish and Foley stated that the project would begin with a partnership with the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and a request for federal funding aimed at planning costs. Beginning in 2020, the county will seek $1 million to be directed to the actual installation of public charging stations.