Seattle City Council passes legislation to boost public EV charging stations

A Seattle City Light owned EV charging station.

The Seattle City Council passed legislation today that will help increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations in Seattle. The legislation was sponsored by Councilmember Sara Nelson and passed unanimously.

While there are already public charging ports in Seattle, many more are needed to keep up with demand as the use of EVs skyrockets. According to recent data, there are more than 75,000 EVs on the road in King County alone. By 2030, two out of every three new cars being sold in Washington State must be zero-emission vehicles.

How this legislation will expand EV charging access in Seattle

Seattle City Light is working to help expand the city’s network of public EV charging stations. This legislation will boost those efforts in two ways:

  1. It will allow City Light to lease private property to install and operate city-owned public EV charging stations.
  2. It will allow private companies to lease City Light owned property to install and operate EV charging stations.

City Light estimates that this new authority will allow for the installation of at least 10-20 additional charging stations over the next two years, with more to follow.

This builds on other work City Light is already doing. In March of this year, the department announced they would be expanding their network of chargers to 31 new locations. In April, City Light launched its multifamily EV charging program that helps advise and offers rebates to install charging stations.

The map below shows where charging stations already exist and where new ones are being proposed.

A map of current and proposed Seattle City Light EV charging stations.

Why Seattle is focusing on expanding access to EV charging

Transportation is the number one cause of greenhouse gas emission in Seattle. It accounts for 61 percent of the City’s core greenhouse gas emissions. To change address that and combat the affects of climate change and pollution, the City of Seattle has committed to ambitious goals.

By 2030, the Seattle’s Transportation Electrification Blueprint calls for:

  • 100 percent of shared mobility to be zero emissions
  • 90 percent of all personal trips to be zero emissions
  • 30 percent of goods delivery to be zero emissions
  • 100 percent of the City’s vehicle fleet to be fossil-fuel free
  • One or more “Green and Healthy Streets” in Seattle
  • Electrical infrastructure required to stay ahead of transportation electrification adoption to be installed and operational

More information about City Light’s work to expand access to EVs can be found here.

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