BOSTON – The City of Boston unveiled its first on-street charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). In addition, the City’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced the launch of an EV-focused program called EVBoston.

As part of the EVBoston program, the City is currently participating in the Toyota Corporation's "Plug-In" Fleet Demonstration Program.  Along with other cities and towns throughout the country, Boston is testing a Toyota Plug-In Prius (free of charge) to evaluate the vehicle for future use in the City's fleet. The City also plans to issue a Request for Interest in fall 2011 for proposals from industry professionals for the eventual adoption of a citywide plan to accommodate EVs and charging stations. Boston is also participating in a Northeast Regional Electric Vehicle (NEREV) partnership with New York City and Philadelphia. 

The program will also involve the convening of an "EVboston Consortium" of experts in the industry, equipment, and vehicle manufacturers, parking facility owners, and interested residents and institutions to advise the City.

For the charging station program, Boston outfitted three parking spaces on Cambridge Street in front of City Hall Plaza with charging stations and set them aside for the exclusive use by electric car owners who need to recharge vehicle batteries.  The project is a year-long pilot to study the use and durability of the charging units and to inform future implementation plans for electric vehicle stations around the city.

"Boston is a world-class city and one of the most forward-thinking "green" cities in the country," Mayor Menino said.  "As part of our Complete Streets mission and our commitment to sustainability, we want to make sure Boston is outfitted with the equipment electric vehicles require to operate safely and conveniently.  EVboston demonstrates that the City is looking ahead to accommodate all modes of transportation and to welcome electric vehicles to Boston."

Through the EVboston initiative, the City of Boston said it's preparing for the growth of the EV market in the region.

The installation of the charging stations is part of the Boston Transportation Department's Complete Streets initiative, a multi-project effort with the goal of accommodating all modes of travel on Boston's roadways, designing green, environmentally friendly streets, and using new 'smart' technologies to improve mobility.

"In the past year in Boston, we have implemented motorcycle and scooter parking stalls in the Back Bay, and we have upgraded our parking meters to provide more Boston drivers with the option of paying with credit and debit cards," said Boston Transportation Commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin. "Ensuring that all the tools are in place for the operation of electric vehicles on our local streets is another step toward the City's Complete Streets goal and is further testament to the City of Boston's commitment to utilizing new, available technology." 

Last month, Mayor Menino released “A Climate of Progress,” the City of Boston's climate action plan update. A Climate of Progress incorporates the recommendations that the Mayor's Climate Action Leadership Committee delivered last year, including one for an electric vehicle pilot program.