Topic Areas under the track:
- Transition to electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, impacts on the grid, and opportunities to diversify transportation options
- Embedding equity and inclusion in institutional processes and practices
- Equitable funding and financing (state and federal grants, financing incentives, local, sustainable funding models, layering funding sources, regional collaboration, etc.)
Submission Type: Presenter
Description of Expertise:
The City of Torrance is interesting in participating in the California Climate & Energy Collaborative as an individual presenter to discuss the City’s efforts in transitioning to electric vehicle/infrastructure through our “ONE MILE, ONE CHARGER” PROJECT”. The City of Torrance’s, “One Mile, One Charger” Project was undertaken with the main goal of a resident, area employee or visitor never being more than one mile from a charging station within the boundaries of the City. This goal was established in order to help to achieve Key Performance Indicators that if met, would provide better air quality and promote stewardship of the environment, a new strategic priority of the City’s 2008 Strategic Plan. Through the installation of publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in multiple locations, the City hoped to help meet the growing demand for EV infrastructure, thereby promoting the switch to electric vehicles and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
In order to obtain public input, City staff developed an exercise known as the “Plug-(P)in Maps” where members of the public could “plug-in” a pin into aerial maps of the city to reflect their preferred location for an EV charger. This exercise was completed at various environmental functions, such as the Torrance Environmental Fair and the Honda Employee Earth Day Fair, with much success. In an effort to expand the public outreach the exercise was made available on the City’s website, allowing individuals to submit their suggestions from anywhere. The suggestions received were layered to a GIS map. City staff reviewed these suggestions and proposed sites for City-owned charging stations that best reflected the public’s interest in the EV charging station locations. Where higher concentrations of pins were observed, staff was able to note the greater public interested reflected in a particular area or property and encourage private development to incorporate charging into their redevelopment pursuits.
The City successfully pursued grant funding from the Mobile Source Reduction Committee (MSRC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) to install a total of 14 Level II charging stations and 6 DC Fast charging stations. The charging stations were installed across six publicly owned sites that were selected with significant input from members of the public on where EV charging stations would be most beneficial: The Katy Geissert Library and Civic Center Complex, McMaster Park, Columbia Park, Charles Wilson Park, Walteria Park and Library and a City parking lot located in the center of Downtown Torrance. Each of the six sites had a dual port Level II charging station, allowing two vehicles to charge at one time, and a DC Fast charging station, with the exception of the Civic Center location which had one DC Fast Charging station and two dual port Level II chargers, allowing four vehicles to be charged at one of the level two units at one time.
At each of the six sites, additional conduit was installed along with a “Christy Box” in order to allow for future expansion at the sites without the need for additional trenching. Expansion of the existing infrastructure would only occur at such time as the units are overly impacted by heavy usage and with direction from the Torrance City Council. At that time, the six sites were analyzed for their capacity to handle such an expansion. In the future, if additional sites are requested by the City Council or members of the public, staff will be able to utilize the public outreach already undertaken (Plug-(P)in Maps of the City) to determine the EV Charging sites that the public would want added to the network. The City could also determine which sites could address areas that are underserved by reviewing the “One Mile, One Charger” map which shows areas within one mile of an existing or forthcoming charging station.
At the conclusion of construction, data was collected from the charging stations in order to analyze the success of the project in achieving the goals that had been established at the outset of the project. The data collected included: total amount of energy expended at each site, the total number of individual charging sessions, the average length of charging sessions, and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that were reduced. Furthermore, the City can leverage the statistical capabilities of the EV charging stations to inform more regional transportation questions, including which zip codes users come from and how the conversion to EV realizes air quality improvements at the regional level. By leveraging networked infrastructure and GIS technology, the accomplishments of the effort and environmental benefits can be visualized for their benefits far beyond the Torrance City’s limits and advance cleaner air quality, realize public health benefits and address climate change. Over the duration of the project, the EV charging stations saved a total of 158,019 kg of greenhouse gas emissions (as of 03/31/2021). This reduction in emissions was due to the 49,117 vehicles charged throughout the project, replacing a total of 387,667 conventional gasoline powered engine miles travelled with electric vehicle miles. While the project fell short of the goal to replace 4 million conventional gas powered engine miles with electric vehicle miles, the total number of vehicles charged within a six month period increased by 303% from the start of the project, indicating a great success in meeting the growing demand for electric vehicle infrastructure.
The overall success of the City of Torrance’s One Mile, One Charger Project is clear from the analysis of the data collected from the charging stations. These efforts have been rooted in public engagement, efficient resource allocation and dynamic communication of the results with GIS layers and story mapping. Furthermore, the City successfully achieved the main goal of the project, which was to never be more than a mile from a publicly accessible electric vehicle charging station within the City’s boundaries, as 98.6% of the City is now within one mile of a charging station. This percentage of coverage increases to 99.6% when the publicly available EV charging stations that are planned or currently under construction within the City are taken into account. While the achievements of the project are clearly attributable to the heavy and growing demand for electric vehicle infrastructure, the significant outreach efforts to members of the public to determine barriers to EV ownership and possible locations for future charging stations cannot be discounted. By engaging the community early and often, the City’s grant team was able to put together a project that would meet the demand for growing infrastructure in locations where the charging stations would be used most.
With the successful expansion of EV charging infrastructure in the community for public use, the focus has now shifted towards the expansion of alternative fuel vehicles in the City’s fleet, along with its supportive infrastructure. In February 2018, staff presented a proposal to the City Council to submit an application to the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) Local Government Partnership Program. The program encourages an accelerated transition to zero and near-zero vehicles for either fleet or public use by offering funding for vehicle replacements and the associated infrastructures. The City of Torrance was able to secure funding to install up to eight (8) level II EV charging stations for fleet use at the Civic Center and up to eight (8) level II charging stations at the City Yard. The City anticipates completing construction of the project by January 2022.
For this proposal, the Assistant City Manager, Danny E. Santana, would be the presenter of the above project. The City of Torrance would prepare a presentation format that would provide a comprehensive overview of the City’s EV infrastructure efforts, including the program planning, implementation, and lessons learned, while highlighting best practices and obstacles during the process. At the conclusion of the overview, the presentation could allocate time for participants to ask questions related to our city program.
ArcGIS story map: https://torranceca.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=ada98df80e03451c9ae742fceee849c1