Electric Vehicle Charging


Finding the Right Locations for Public Access Electric Vehicle Charging in Columbus

October 12th, 2023

Post by Donna Marbury, Smart Columbus Storyteller

With a goal to increase electric vehicle adoption (EV) by nearly 5X in the Columbus region, we knew that we also needed to increase the number of places in the city where people can charge those vehicles.

In June 2018, Smart Columbus completed a study that details how the project team identified 225 locations where public access EV chargers would best serve the region’s mobility needs. The analysis was conducted across the seven-county region and includes sites for both Level 2 and DC Fast chargers. 

Public access chargers are just one part of Smart Columbus’ charging commitment, which also includes multi-unit dwelling, workplace and fleet charging. In total, the program aims to add more than 900 charging ports to the region by the end of 2020.

This report gives insight to the process of identifying public charging stations that will be most useful for the EV driving community. Below are some highlights from the study:

Trip Origin
The process of selecting priority public charging locations began with mapping the location of consumer-owned EVs in the region. 

Trip Destinations 
Next, the City of Columbus worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to identify and evaluate the most frequented driving destinations by EV drivers. This is important because, though 80 percent of EV charging happens at home, the other 20 percent happens either at the workplace or at public chargers.

NREL used data from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to discover that the highest concentration of EV trips are to downtown Columbus, the Short North and Grandview area and The Ohio State University district. 

Data from INRIX was also used to determine vehicle dwell times in residential area versus non-residential areas. The non-residential areas, including downtown, shopping centers, the airport and other short stops, became candidates for public EV chargers. 

Best Locations for Chargers
Based on the data evaluated, we found that ideal charger locations are close to popular destinations and EV hotspots. The study also considered the 84 public charging locations that are already installed in the Columbus region, as of May 2018. The power and type of charger was also considered, based on whether the driver would be stopping for a few hours (Level 2 charger) or for a quick stop with access to coffee shops or restaurants (DC Fast charger). The goal in either case was to create partnerships with area businesses. 

Factors in ranking charging locations
After evaluating the best locations for the project budget, the City of Columbus ranked potential charging locations based on:

  • Expected usage/revenue 
  • Cost
  • Critical need
  • Expected partners
  • Proximity to shopping centers and restaurants

Data from the study will be used to encourage businesses and organizations located in the areas identified to install public charging stations. 

Data on how public access chargers are used will also be fed into the Smart Columbus Operating System to determine how successful charging locations are, and what adaptations need to be made in the future.

Download the full public charger citing study from below.


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