Philadelphia’s suburbs embrace the electric vehicle revolution


The borough has a goal of installing 50 charging stations by the end of 2023.

Krack said that collaboration and cooperation between elected officials, business leaders, and theborough’s staff is what has made the process happen so quickly.

Phoenixville even made changes to its zoning and land development ordinances that call for EV “make-ready” standards for new parking structures.

“We’ve changed information in our parking ordinances to make this adaptation to electric vehicle charging stations so that when people come here to Phoenixville, they have the ability to enjoy what we have to offer, but they also have the ability and comfort to know that when they get here, they have a place to charge their vehicles,” Krack said.

Phoenixville is currently looking into how it might eventually allow homes which have no driveways but park on the streets to have the ability to connect to a station.

An electric car charges at a municipal charging station in Lansdale, outside the borough’s electric plant on West Ninth Street. Residents can charge for free at the sponsored site, located near ball fields and a bike path. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Delco to reduce annual greenhouse gas emission with EV fleet by 400,000 pounds

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection told WHYY News that in southeastern Pennsylvania, the agency has already supported electrification and charging projects with grant funds — and more applications from municipalities are starting to come in.

To date, the state DEP has awarded Delaware County Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant funds totaling $412,500 to help pay for 84 EVs and $335,740 for 28 chargers.

“The annual greenhouse gas emission reduction that Delaware County’s 84 EVs will contribute is about 406,000 pounds, or 184 metric tons,” a DEP spokesperson said.

Additionally, the Delaware County Geographical Information Systems Department has created a map for residents to locate EV charging stations throughout Delco.

DEP also gave $215,000 in AFIG funds to Middletown Township in Bucks County for four fast charging at their municipal building for public stations.

Middletown officials see the township as a leader in municipal sustainability. Recently, it became the first municipality in Bucks County to establish a local climate action plan.

“We’re able to get data from PECO, and all of the different emission sources, and analyze that to kind of benchmark where we are today. And then referencing that information to establish goals for where we want to be in the future. And so you’ll see in our climate action plan that we have a series of projects and activities that we are aspiring to do,” said Nick Valla, the assistant township manager.

The plan is driving the township’s initiatives in the EV space. While Middletown currently doesn’t have any municipal-owned EVs, the charging stations are just a sign of things to come.

Bucks County Commissioner: ‘You can save the planet and you can save money’

On Wednesday, Middletown received platinum level sustainability certification, which is the highest mark. The criteria isn’t just focused on the environment, but also on the management structure.

Valla will be giving a presentation in the fall to the Bucks County Consortium of Communities, a group of township and borough officials, showcasing Middletown’s sustainability efforts and ways other communities can follow the suit.

He said that township officials have even shared their work with their counterparts across the state. However, he emphasized that most of the exchanging of ideas has happened close to home.

“Every once in while I get an email or phone call, even just our community a community Bensalem which borders [us]. The day that that AFIG grant was announced, I got a call from their manager, and he said, ‘Oh, I want to hear more about how you guys got that because we’re trying to do the same thing,'” Valla said .

Bucks County has taken its own steps to join in on the transition away from internal combustion engines to electric. Last year, the county bought its first two electric vehicles. It is also piloting charging stations at different county properties.

County Commissioner Bob Harvie is seeing a trend in the region.

“What we’ve seen with technology getting better is people realizing that you can do both things that are important — you can save the planet and you can save money,” Harvie said.

Once gas prices eventually fall, Harvie is curious to see if this shift will be permanent.

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