Auburn Hills, Mich.— Sept. 18, 2013— The city of Auburn Hills is the recipient of the 2013 Planning Excellence Best Practices award from the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP/APA Michigan) for the Auburn Hills EV Ready Project. The award will be formally presented at the annual MAP/APA Michigan conference, Planning Michigan, on Oct. 2 in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The Planning Excellence Best Practices award is presented to a specific planning tool, practice, program, project or process that emphasizes results and demonstrates how innovative and forward thinking planning methods and practices help to create communities of lasting value. In particular, MAP recognized Auburn Hills for its comprehensiveness, leadership and innovation in preparing communities for alternative fuel vehicle technology.
Inception of the Auburn Hills EV Ready Project began in April 2011 when the city made a decision to prepare for the fueling needs of plug-in electric vehicle drivers and make Auburn Hills an EV friendly city. The effort was led by the Auburn Hills Planning Commission, Steve Cohen, Auburn Hills’ director of community development, and Ron Melchert, Auburn Hills’ director of the department of public works.
Auburn Hills took a broad view in considering the changes that would accompany a shift to an increased presence of electric vehicles. The result was Auburn Hills’ introduction of a comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure ordinance that facilitates the installation of a city-wide network of public and private EV charging stations, a first of its kind in Michigan.
“On behalf of the city, we are pleased to be the recipient of the Best Practices award,” said Cohen. “The Auburn Hills EV Ready Project has been a true public-private partnership that can be replicated in communities throughout Michigan and the nation. Being selected by our peers to receive this award is an honor.”
According to Cohen, the ordinance encourages, but does not require, property owners to plan for and/or install EV charging stations to support future market demand.
“Because one of the greatest barriers to market adoption of EVs is the unique infrastructure needed to refuel the vehicles, the city established the ordinance in part to raise awareness about the issue and to help property owners proactively plan for EV infrastructure to avoid costly or cost prohibitive retrofits in the future,” said Cohen.
The introduction of EV charging stations represents a significant change in community and economic development, with strategically placed charging stations at homes, workplaces and retail stores, rather than the traditional, quick ‘in and out’ gas station fueling systems.
“Like the emergence of cell phones and their associated network of towers, EV charging stations will change the municipal infrastructure landscape, bringing a cultural shift that will shape how communities function in the future,” said Cohen. “As an employment hub for tens of thousands of workers who live in or commute to Auburn Hills, the city is planning for future transportation habits by establishing an EV-friendly environment now.”
Since the adoption of the city’s ordinance, Auburn Hills has installed 10 public EV charging stations to date and 23 development projects have committed to either prep their developments for, or add charging stations. In addition, the city collaborated with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to develop the Michigan sign standard for reserving parking spaces for electric vehicle charging stations. In May of 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other EV leaders from across the nation met regarding plug-in electric vehicle readiness plans for 24 states and highlighted the Auburn Hills EV charging station sign; the DOE suggested it may become the national standard. Further, the city was named in June 2013 as a partner in the DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge, a collaboration between the DOE and American innovators to accelerate the development and commercialization of the next generation of plug-in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure with the goal of increasing the number of American employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years.
The Michigan Association of Planning, the state chapter of the American Planning Association, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sound community land use planning that benefits the residents of Michigan. Learn more at www.planningmi.org.
About Auburn Hills
Celebrating 30 years as a city in 2013, Auburn Hills is home to 21,000 residents and also serves as Michigan’s global business address, with 40 international corporations from 32 countries housed here, including Chrysler Group LLC and Borg Warner headquarters. Auburn Hills’ residents enjoy the amenities of city and suburban living with parks, a revitalized downtown district and a welcoming city complex with a library and community center. Additionally, the city has five colleges and universities, the award winning Palace of Auburn Hills entertainment complex and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, one of the state’s largest destination shopping centers, providing a variety of cultural, social and educational opportunities to residents, workers and visitors. Learn more at www.auburnhills.org.