​​EBR announces strategy to promote electric vehicles

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s administration has created a strategic plan to promote the use of electric vehicles and develop the infrastructure to support EVs.

The plan gives East Baton Rouge Parish a better chance to attract a share of $7.5 billion in federal dollars set aside under the recent bipartisan infrastructure law to fund charging stations and vehicle purchases, the administration says.

The plan includes numerous proposed or pending actions such as:

  • Building a downtown parking lot with EV chargers for 20 spaces, for which $700,000 has been allocated.
  • Updating parking rate ordinance to accommodate pricing for EV charging stations.
  • Seeking proposals from vendors to update and operate outdated parish-owned chargers.
  • Encouraging installation of EV charging stations as part of the review process for new developments, and considering incentives to do so, while updating the development code to allow EV chargers in all zoning areas.
  • Transitioning the municipal fleet to zero-emission vehicles.
  • Applying for federal grants for EV charging infrastructure.

At the end of 2021, there were only 3,065 EVs registered in Louisiana, including just 462 in East Baton Rouge, which has been blamed in part on not having a robust infrastructure to support EVs.

“Currently, only public utilities are allowed to sell electricity to consumers in Louisiana, which is why every public charging station across the state currently provides the electricity for free,” the plan document notes. “Although there are workarounds such as charging a time-based rate for parking in the space, this regulation may deter private businesses and small or local companies from entering the electric vehicle charging market.”

The Louisiana Legislature has urged the Public Service Commission to consider regulations to promote development of a statewide charging network.

You can read the plan summary here.

This story originally appeared in a Sept. 30 issue of Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here. Click here to read 225‘s April cover story all about electric vehicles.