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Planning for Electric Vehicles

This page provides an overview of measures local governments in Washington State can take to support the use of electric vehicles.


In the coming years, residents will see more plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) on the roads, as well as PEV charging stations and other infrastructure at public and private facilities around the state. Using this energy for transportation fuel is a chance to increase the effectiveness of our energy system, reduce the use of imported fuels, spur new technology, and reduce our carbon footprint. For information on the use of electric vehicles, see the Electric Drive Washington website, a portal to information about electric vehicles in Washington State created by the Electric Vehicle Task Force.


In 2009, the Washington State Legislature passed 2SBH 1481 to encourage the transition to electric vehicles. The act required development regulations of cities located adjacent to I-5 in Snohomish, Pierce, and Thurston counties, and larger King County jurisdictions adjacent to I-5, I-90, I-405, and SR 520 to allow electric vehicle infrastructure (EVI), such as rapid charging stations and battery exchange stations as a use in all zones, except for residential, resource, or critical areas.

Counties were required to allow EVI as a use within one mile of these highways by July 1, 2010. The requirement to allow electric vehicle infrastructure extended statewide to all cities adjacent to these highways, and to counties for areas within one mile of these highways on July 1, 2011. All cities and counties statewide were required to allow battery charging stations as a use in all zones, except for residential, resource, or critical areas by July 1, 2011. (From AWC Legislative Interim Bulletin #1, 2010)

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

  • Developing Infrastructure to Charge Plug-In Electric Vehicles, Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center Studies, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Electric Drive Washington, Washington State Department of Commerce - A portal to information about electric vehicles in Washington State
  • Electric Vehicles: Is Your Community Connected?, by Timothy M. Bourcie, Zoning Practice, July 2010 (Available through MRSC Library Loan)
  • - The site hosts work with a broad coalition involving scores of interested individuals, businesses, EV manufacturers and suppliers, nonprofits, and public sector organizations in the development of the site and the presentation of its content. Maintained by OTREC and Portland State University's Office of Research
  • Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan for the State Of Washington, Western Washington Clean Cities Coalition, September 2011 - A statewide Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan to inform policy makers, state and local governments, utilities, fleets, private sector businesses, and individual consumers about the clear and actionable roadmap for the widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs).
  • Project Get Ready - Nonprofit initiative led by Rocky Mountain Institute to help cities prepare for plug-in hybrid vehicles

Installation of Charging Stations

Local Zoning and EV Charging Station Programs

This section provides examples of zoning provisions enacted by Washington local governments, websites providing citizen information about planning for EV Plug-in sites, and location of public EV charging sites.

Additional Resources

  • Coulomb Technologies Charge Point - An electric vehicle charging solutions company that provides EV charging via ChargePoint Network - Coulomb Technologies' ChargePoint America program offered EVSE at no cost to individuals or entities in the Bellevue and Redmond metropolitan areas, excluding Seattle
  • Electric Vehicle Safety Training Resources, National Fire Protection Association - Information for fire fighters and other first responders
  • Electricity, Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center Studies, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Electrification Coalition - Nonprofit - Primary mission is to promote the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale through a wide variety of policies and actions, including the creation of electrification "ecosystems," limited geographic areas where electrified vehicles and infrastructure can be introduced so the concept can take root and grow.
  • Seattle City Light, Appendix D - The Impact of Electric Vehicles on System Load, 2010 Integrated Resource Plan
  • Western Washington Clean Cities - A public/private partnership that works to advance energy security, environmental and public health and economic development by promoting policies and practices that reduce petroleum consumption.

Last Modified: April 02, 2021