Electric vehicles (EVs) reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution. Two-thirds of Somerville’s GHG emissions come from transportation. Expanding the use of EVs is an important solution for meeting the goal of achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and supporting the rapid transition to electric vehicles is one of the thirteen priority actions in Somerville Climate Forward, Somerville’s community climate action plan.
The Office of Sustainability and Environment leads the City of Somerville’s electric vehicle program and closely collaborates with other departments including Parking, Public Works, Mobility, and Engineering.
Charging at Home
Research and Planning
The City of Somerville owns and operates several public charging stations throughout the city. All stations are level 2, dualport, Chargepoint chargers. Charging is currently provided for free to users, but you must still pay for parking if applicable and follow all posted parking rules. Parking and charging at the public stations is typically limited to 3 hours. Station locations and availability can be found at https://na.chargepoint.com/charge_point.
City-owned public charging stations are currently located at:
- East Somerville: Broadway and Lombardi St.
- Assembly: Grand Union Boulevard and Foley St.
- Magoun Square: Parking lot adjacent to CVS
- Union Square: Adjacent to the Plaza (outside of the Independent)
- Somerville Ave: Ice Rink parking lot adjacent to Conway Park
- Porter Square: Kennedy School parking lot on Sartwell Ave
- Davis Square: Grove St. lot adjacent to the Community Path
- Teele Square: Newbury St at Holland St.
The City of Somerville is committed to expanding public charging access throughout Somerville and is continually working to add new charging locations. The Office of Sustainability and Environment has conducted extensive research to guide EV charging expansion in Somerville. Read the full research report, Public Electric Vehicle Charging in Somerville – Status, Options, and Considerations, here.
Charging at Home
Charging your electric vehicle at home is the easiest way to keep your car charged. However, many Somerville residents do not have access to off-street parking or the ability to add charging capabilities to their parking space. These residents will need to rely on public charging and workplace charging. Residents who do have off-street parking can help alleviate the burden on public charging by installing charging at home. The Office of Sustainability and Environment has developed a guide to help property owners and renters understand the process of installing EV charging at home safely.
Read the full report here.
What are my charging options if I don’t have access to off-street parking?
If you can’t charge at your home you will need to rely on public or workplace charging. If you are considering buying an electric vehicle, consider how often you would need to recharge your vehicle and where you would have access to charging. One option could be to use the public charging stations that are conveniently located around Somerville. Visit the Chargepoint portal to see if there is a public charging station near you. If you drive to work, you could also petition your workplace to install EV charging for employees.
Can I request a public charger to be installed on my street?
Because there are many factors that go into siting public EV chargers, including distance from existing chargers, infrastructure capacity, potential demand, equitable access to all users, and parking availability, the City does not install public charging stations by request. The City of Somerville is committed to expanding public EV charging to provide equitable access throughout the city. Take a look at the Public Electric Vehicle Charging in Somerville report to learn more about how decisions about expanding public EV charging are made.
Can I run a charger or extension cord to my car parked on the street?
No, it is never safe to use an extension cord to charge a vehicle. You should only use charging equipment designed for vehicle charging. In addition, you are not allowed to run a charging cable across the sidewalk under any circumstances. This is a liability and could be hazardous. Active electric wires running across public spaces present many dangers, such as tripping and accessibility hazards, and could be a source of potential electrocution.
Can I just plug my vehicle into any available outlet at my home?
No, much of Somerville’s housing stock is old and does not have updated electrical wiring. Talk to your electrician or landlord to make sure your outlet is safe for EV charging before plugging in. Plugging your car into an outdated outlet can be dangerous and can result in damage to your home.
If I live in a condo and would like to install EVSE, what are some things that I should consider?
Be sure to get updated information on your building’s policies regarding parking, EVSE installation, and electrical upgrades. You will want to understand where you could install EVSE and how it would be metered. In most cases you will have to get permission from your condo association to install your EVSE. Additionally, check with other residents to see if anyone would be interested in sharing the EVSE with you to reduce installation and maintenance costs.
Here is an example of a letter requesting approval for EVSE installation from your condo board: Request Letter Template
How do I report an issue with a public charger?
If one of the City of Somerville’s public chargers is not working properly, please report it through the Chargepoint app. If there is an issue with the parking space or damage to the charging equipment, please report it to Somerville 311.
Research and Planning
The Office of Sustainability and Environment has conducted extensive research on electric vehicle charging and has developed several reports that guide decision-making in the city and can serve as resources to residents, property owners, and businesses in Somerville and beyond.