Cars sit in the rain in Boston. - Photo: Unsplash/Ren Wang

Cars sit in the rain in Boston.

Photo: Unsplash/Ren Wang

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Nov. 16 the City of Boston has released its Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Roadmap, a long-term strategy to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and other zero-emission transportation, with specific actions to be taken by the city. In tandem, the Boston Transportation Department is installing publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in its neighborhood municipal lots. 

"In Boston, we know the urgency around climate action and we are committed to leading on a national and international scale," said Mayor Walsh. "Our new public electric vehicle charging stations are a key element of reducing our emissions while making our city healthier and more accessible today and for years to come."

The first batch of charging stations have been installed in the municipal lot located at 737 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. The next phase, expected later this fall, will add EV charging stations to municipal lots in East Boston, Roslindale, Hyde Park, Mattapan, and Dorchester. The city's investments are in partnership with Eversource's Make Ready Program. The utility provides the infrastructure to support the EV charging stations, and the city is installing and operating the stations. The goal is to have publicly accessible EV charging stations available in every neighborhood by 2023. Currently, there is a fee of $0.25/kWh for electricity consumed. 

Boston's ZEV Roadmap establishes aspirational targets and actions the City of Boston can take to support electric vehicle adoption. The Roadmap sets goals in three areas:

  • Support widespread adoption of electrification, 
  • Ensure affordable, convenient access to charging infrastructure for all residents, 
  • Lead by example to electrify Boston's municipal fleet. 

"In addition to encouraging more people to walk, bike, or take transit, an essential path to reaching carbon neutrality is switching from gas-powered to electric vehicles. This Zero-Emission Vehicle Roadmap identifies concrete steps we must take to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles," said Chris Osgood, the City of Boston's Chief of Streets. "The roadmap furthers our commitments made in Go Boston 2030 and the Climate Action Plan Update, and it will help us provide more reliable and sustainable transportation options for our residents." 

Transportation accounts for nearly a third of Boston's total greenhouse gas emissions, 65% of which comes from personal vehicles. Ongoing Go Boston 2030 projects aspire to shift travelers out of personal vehicles toward public transportation, walking, and biking, and the city's 2019 Climate Action Plan Update details actions for the next five years to significantly cut emissions to reach its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

"Every resident in Boston should have convenient access to affordable environmentally friendly travel," said Gregory Rooney, the Transportation Department's Commissioner. "In the past several years we have implemented projects to encourage walking, biking, and riding transit. The ZEV Roadmap builds on that work." 

In addition to installing electric vehicle chargers in its municipal lots, the city's Recharge Boston program has:

  • Developed how-to guides to support residents and employers through the process of charger installation, starting workplace charging programs, and purchasing a vehicle or charger
  • Started the process to transition the city's vehicle fleet to become zero-emission, starting with all light-duty vehicles by 2035 and all heavy-duty vehicles by 2060
  • Required all new developments to fit 25% of their parking spaces with EV chargers and the remaining to be "EV-ready" for future installations.
  • Started to explore opportunities for an e-cargo bike initiative to support congestion-reducing environmentally-friendly last mile delivery
  • Drafted a request for proposals for an EV car share program

Supporting transportation electrification is part of a broader investment of resources by Boston to lead on climate action and is supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge. Boston is one of the 25 winning cities in the Climate Challenge, which is helping cities set and surpass ambitious climate goals by ramping up action in the two highest-emitting sectors in cities: transportation and buildings.

Mayor Walsh has also been named chair of Climate Mayors, a coalition of 468 U.S. mayors committed to bold environmental action and upholding the Paris Climate Agreement. In this role, Mayor Walsh will help catalyze efforts to combat climate change at the local level, provide an example of climate action for leaders at all levels of government, and advocate for an economic recovery founded in equity and environmental stewardship. Mayor Walsh succeeds Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who founded Climate Mayors, and has also served as the network's chair since its launch in 2014.

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