Location: Kansas City, Missouri Fleet Type: Light-duty Electric Vehicles and EV Infrastructure
The Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Chapter, AKA Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) is dedicated to the mission of creating resource efficiency, environmental health, and economic vitality in the Kansas City region and beyond. Since 1983, we have provided resources, outreach, and training to make alternative fuels and energy efficiency commonplace. MEC began working on the Streetlight Charging pilot project (EVST) with the City of Kansas City, Missouri. The project was developed to install limited electric vehicles (EV) charging on the streetlight systems to demonstrate and test the benefits of curbside charging for the plug-in EVs at existing on-street parking locations. The City was interested in testing how increased access would affect EV adoption rates and began the program in 2019.
Street Light Charging Station installed at N Granby Apartment complex in Kansas City, Missouri one of the 30 locations chosen for street light charging installation.
The project was funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) and was awarded to MEC in a competitive application grant. Working with NREL and multiple utilities, Metropolitan Energy Center developed the project with the city of Kansas City Missouri, installing 23 charging stations at predetermined locations around the city, marking a successful achievement in the push for electrification city, and nation wide.
For the past 4 years, MEC has worked with the city of Kansas City, Missouri to determine suitable locations for the charging stations, working through hundreds of proposed sites to find the most viable locations. 23 stations were approved for the project, in different districts around the region, assuring they were accessible by different communities and overlooked demographics. This increased availability of EV infrastructure is hopeful to encourage EV adoption.
The City of Kansas City, Missouri has made a commitment to electrification and recognizes that we are experiencing dangerous climate change impacts and are at risk for irreversible effects. Over the past 15 years, Kansas City has made important progress such as reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 25% and working with community partners to build up more resilient systems. We have faced challenges though, there are many communities that experience overburdened housing and utility costs, poor air quality, lack of mobility options and food insecurity. The Climate Protection and Resiliency Plan drafted by Mayor Quinton Lucas highlights a framework built on ways Kansas City can work together to achieve our goal of a carbon-neutral, equity-focused, and resilient Kansas City by 2040.
Kansas City’s resilience plan outlines a strategy following six Climate Action Sections, with climate justice at the heart, and community resilience, financing and innovation, and community empowerment woven throughout. Key strategies in Energy Supply, Homes & Buildings, and Mobility sections put us on a path to achieve our vision of carbon neutrality. Achieving these goals relies on the use of alternative fuel, investments in local carbon dioxide removal through land use, and direct carbon capture.
Based on the ranges of potential emissions reductions, the more aggressive emissions reduction targets were set to keep the city on track to meet the 2040 goal of carbon neutrality by 2040:
Reduce emissions to 7 million MTCO2e by 2025
Reduce emissions to 4 million MTCO2e by 2030
Stretch goal of Zero Carbon by 2040
With the help of advancements in transportation, incorporating a City Fleet full of Electric Vehicles and investing into EV infrastructure to encourage adoption, Kansas City can begin to help citizens contribute to the Zero Carbon goal of 2040. This plan is a framework that is intended to reflect the voice of our community, and be used as a tool for shaping policy, improving programming and guiding partnerships. We must work together and empower our community members to play an active role. Kansas City will be collaborating with the community-based organizations and nonprofit organizations that serve historically marginalized populations, such as Metropolitan Energy Center.
Outputs and Outcomes
Miriam Bouallegue, Program Manager at Metropolitan Energy Center and lead of the EVST project, speaks to Fox 4 news on the day of the Ribbon Cutting ceremony.
As of March 27th, 2023 all of the charging stations have been installed at the designated street light systems around the city, making public charging stations more accessible in locations that previously had no infrastructure. The outputs of the project left the city with 23 new Street Light Charging Stations, the first of their kind and an important step in the road to electrification. This also resulted in fleet electrification for the city of KCMO, and a ramp up of EV purchases.
Positive input and feedback has been received from the communities the stations were installed in. All of them are in use and good standing, providing Kansas City with 23 more public charging stations. A Ribbon Cutting ceremony was held with the City Manager and Council members to applaud the project’s success and the hard work of MEC.
The outcomes of the project are still being studied, data is being collected on usage rates, and meetings are held with communities to hear about how it has changed their attitudes towards EVs. The success of the EVST project was not just heard from community members, but also demonstrated in action as one member purchased an Electric Vehicle as a result of the installations. “One of the coolest things to see was a new Tesla parked down the street from the charging station at 72nd & E Indiana. According to Carl, the resident purchased it just a few weeks ago after the charging station was put in last month!” said Miriam Bouallegue, Program Manager at MEC.
Best Practices & Lessons Learned
This project was the result of good team collaboration from both MEC and KCMO, site selection with community feedback, and an eagerness for change. This is still very new technology for a lot of people, and working on the project with the city allowed for a positive learning experience and firsthand involvement in the deployment process of EV and EVSE technology. One lesson learned is that site selection can be difficult for streetlight chargers, and must meet numerous codes requirements and be in line with other utility aspects.