A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Our EV future and parking on the street

Written March 31st, 2021 by Hasso Hering

How would you charge EVs if they were parked on the street like these conventional cars in the 1300-1400 block of SW Park Terrace on March 21?

In Oregon’s push to electrify the transportation sector, here’s a question we haven’t heard much about: How does on-street parking work when you have to recharge your car every night so next morning it will start?

In the paper the other day, there was a story saying Americans were slow to buy battery-powered vehicles. But the auto makers seem determined to get out of the internal combustion business in the next couple of decades.

In Oregon, the official goal was to have 50,000 electric vehicles or EVs on the road by the end of 2020. The state Energy Department said there were 33,579.

As of last September, when the state posted that number, Benton County had 861 registered EVs, or 9.1 per 1,000 people, and Linn County had 472, or 3.7 per thousand people.

That’s not many, but the numbers have been going up, and by 2050, when our governor and others want Oregon to emit virtually no more greenhouse gases, probably everybody will have to have an EV or two.

Charging them is no problem, as one car company advertises. You already know how: Just plug them in.

That’s great if your car has a garage to spend the night. But what if  you have to park it on the street, as thousands of Albany vehicle owners must?

Is somebody, Pacific Power perhaps, going to install charging stations along the curbs of residential streets? Especially in the older neighborhoods with modest houses on small lots, where garage space is in especially short supply? Maybe, but it doesn’t seem likely.

Instead, maybe it will be common for people to string extension cords from their house to the curb. Pedestrians watch out. And woe to the driver who parks his EV in front of someone else’s house so the homeowner has to park where his cord doesn’t reach.

The state government has a website on the Oregon conversion to electric vehicles. It’s interesting, so check it out here. But it doesn’t say anything about how the charging issue can be solved for all the vehicles that are routinely parked on the street.

Before the conversion actually takes off in a big way, that’s a topic the EV promoters should consider and address. (hh)

Charging stations at Albany Walmart in February 2019.

37 responses to “Our EV future and parking on the street”

  1. Abe Cee says:

    I sense another city services increase coming to our monthly bills…

  2. Paul Breen says:

    I’ll bite. This sounds like an attempt to create a problem where one doesn’t exist or to further a grudge against EVs and change in general. In just the past several years as newer EVs have been developed vehicle range has gone way up and charging times have steadily decreased. It means you only have to charge your car every few days, or weekly, or less depending on the model and your daily driving needs. You can charge at grocery stores, public parking spaces, or equipped stations along major highways. It is different than gasoline fill-ups sure, but if you plan differently it works well, plug in at Fred Meyer and do your weekly shopping, the cost is slightly higher than charging at home but still less than a tank of gas. As more charging options become available the need to charge at home becomes less of an issue. Which leads to your second point, where you tee-up for the argument of, “who’s going to pay for all this new charging infrastructure”? Which is worth considering. Like selling gasoline to traditional motorists there is a profit motive for companies and utilities to invest in charging stations as EVs become more common, like any other commodity you would have to invest in the means to distribute and sell it, then charge a premium for the product, no different that building a gas station. I suspect your overarching concern is the fact that public money is being spent on some of this new infrastructure, (people’s hard-earned tax dollars)! This is no different than how public money is spent on roads, rail, fossil-fuel subsidies, etc. Transportation is a critical public function, if the means of transporting people changes then the public investment should change accordingly.

    What is to become of all these hay farmers, farriers, and cobblestone makers now that motorcars are replacing the horse and buggy?

    • Albany YIMBY says:

      Exactly, this article seems very ill-informed about what’s the reality of owning an EV.

      I have one and I charge it at night in my drive way, but infrastructure in public places allows for quick charging while you’re running your errands or going to work.

      A car spends most of its time parked, adding charges in workplaces would also be ideal for people that don’t have the option to charge at home. I am sure their intention is not fill the streets with chargers, that would be highly inefficient.

      Besides, I don’t understand what would be so terrible, we have poles everywhere in our streets that are way uglier than a charger can be, level 2 chargers, the ones that you use to charge in 5-8 hours can be the size of a parking meter. Level 3 are the bulkier ones because they require 50-150 kW and can charge 80% of the battery in around 15-30 minutes depending on the model.

      One of the nicest things of owning an EV is not having to set foot in a gas station anymore.

    • George Pugh says:

      I wish to comfort Mr. Breen (second poster) in his concern for the “hay farmers, farriers and those in the cobblestone industry.
      According to the USDANRASS (the statistics division) Oregon’s hay and haylage farmers produced a crop valued at $569,496,000. And Oregon is not a “biggy” as a hay producer. I am unsure if that number includes the straw from the Willamette valley farmers that is shipped to Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

      As for the farriers, there trade has shrunk but is still in demand and if you want a stylish cobblestone driveway, it’s available but you will pay through the nose to get it in place.

      I appreciate the information you and others have provided about how the charging systems work.
      I am still curious as to much new electrical enery we will need to power a full-blown electric auto system?

  3. John Allen says:

    Internal combustion engines are not going to go away. Millions will still own them even if no more new ones are manufactured. If politicians try to legislate them out of existence they will be voted out of office.

  4. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Anyone contemplating buying an EV will have figured out their options for charging before buying one…

  5. Dani says:

    What many don’t realize is that plugging in with a standard extension cord doesn’t really give you enough miles to make a difference. Before purchasing my EV I had to take that into consideration. I installed a larger charger in my home upon delivery. A single topped off charge lasts me almost 300 miles depending on weather and driving conditions. We already have the infrastructure in Albany to support more EV vehicles. While we do not have Supercharging stations that are specific to Teslas in town we have several quick charging stations that only require an adapter. In the future should apartment complexes think about adding charging capabilities? It would be nice for their residents but is not a requirement nor an expectation for most EV owners. As EV growth continues, more charging stations may need to be added in town, however currently most of the charging stations are not taking tax payer dollars. They are similar to gas stations. The companies providing the chargers either lease the location, purchase the location or have an agreement with the location to share profits with the owners.

  6. Rick says:

    Is Albany building a nuclear or diesel generator to provide all the electricity needed for the vehicles?

  7. The beast says:

    Before I purchased my electric car I asked my company if it was alright to plug in while I was working, they said yes and I drove from Albany to Salem every morning, plugged in and went to work for 8 to 10 hours, when I was done I always had a full charge for the quiet ride down the freeway. I plugged in again when I got home and was ready to go the next morning. This worked great for 5 years until I retired!
    I was spending 30 to 50 dollars a week for just gasoline to go to work and back before.
    My electric bill went up slightly but saved a lot more than trudging to the gas station for my weekly fix.

  8. Richard Vannice says:

    Are engineers working on an electric motor that will develop enough horsepower to move a semi and trailer loaded to the max up hills? How big will that unit have to be? Will it, and the needed batteries, increase the weight so it will make the rig overweight?
    If we are talking the eventual demise of petrol propelled vehicles this may prevent a major problem.
    How about ships, airplanes, etc. In my estimation very few of us will see the replacement.
    I have no problem with the concept. It’s the road getting there that is not as short and quick we are being led to believe.

    • The Real Slim Shady says:

      Richard- the problem you are asking is not the electric motor but rather the battery. Trains have been electric for years and years. The “engine” runs a generator that powers the electric motors.

      To the thought, yes they have motors that can handle it, what they need is better batteries that can provide the torque and hp in tandem with a long range. That is why busses have been able to make the switch, actual mileage in a day is little.

    • Paul Breen says:

      The engineers have! Range is the issue currently and your concerns about long-distance shipping are absolutely valid, but, if we’re not burning gas in our daily commutes and small vehicles that means fossil fuels will be available for a lot longer to propel planes and trans-oceanic vessels. As for large trucks the maker of the world’s finest rigs, (imho), already has a a selection of EV heavy-trucks for urban use and short haul applications. Link: https://www.peterbilt.com/trucks/electric-vehicles

  9. john hartman says:

    It is ironic – the author of this diatribe, and others diatribes having to do with government regulation, is staunchly anti whatever the suggested concept might be….with one glaring exception. The author is consistently on the side of government regulation when it comes to matters of expanding bicyclist rights. When the expansion of bike paths, bike lanes, or bike markings on the street are at issue, the author has never met a regulation he didn’t love.

    I know it’s a free country, despite the false claim of cancel culture. The author is fully entitled to his choice of regulatory schema. However, the author is always against anything coming out of the government EXCEPT for regulations freeing-up more space for bicyclists. Seems more than a bit incoherent All the other regs that govern our lives cannot be all bad and only bicycle-freeing regs are good.

    • Albany YIMBY says:

      It reminded me of Sarah Palin asking people to use masks after she recently got Covid. Other people’s problems, and the ability to have empathy does not matter until it personally affects them.

    • Francis says:

      Excellent point, Mr. Hartman. This is why I’ve always been rather contemptuous of Hasso.

  10. Mark Avery says:


    Please commentators stay on the immediate blog subject.

    My concerns are of an over reaching government mandates & responsibilities.
    As I recall new homes in the near further will be mandated having a charging port.
    If so were apartments included ? What about the needs of a 2nd or 3rd needed plug?
    I’d bet all of us have more than one car/truck. What vehicle has anyone heard of to tow our RV toys?
    What inter-structure does the state have planned for roadside and accident needs ?
    What action will the police take when you report your power cord has been cut/stolen ?
    The cords will be copper and I’d bet compared to current catalytic converter thefts we ain’t seen nothing yet. How many children and drivers will die from the power cords miss use ?

    I write this to ask questions I feel need to be addressed before it all becomes laws and mandates
    from any government agency. Please let supply and demand rule this change.
    Yes I do believe some time in the future we will have a large increase in electric vehicle usage.
    Do we need/want government to show us the way ?


    • john A hartman says:

      This argument, used by persons of all persuasions, is based on the idea that change cannot happen. Thus, cars that must be charged must be able to reach a cord emanating from their garage. What the argument ignores is the never-ending ingenuity of folks to adapt and then improve on that adaptation over time.

      If you accept that things cannot change, then you have essentially condemned an entire species (Homo Sapiens) to an endless, tedious slump toward extinction. By the way, if we continue to believe that there’s nothing to be done about global warming, then the inevitable disappearance of the species will prove the insanity of the argument…only no one will be hear to say, “I told you so.”…

  11. John Klock says:

    Our current paradigm of doing things isn’t working. Our inability to adapt is literally killing us and the planet. We see the reality of our current existence with gasoline vehicles: traffic, pollution, pavement as far as the eye can see, climate change. An observer at the 30,000 foot level looking down on this country might say the following: they couldn’t work together on anything. We can change that! If there is a problem needing volunteering I’ll be the first one to sign up. If there is a need to put a few dollars down, I am there. Are we suggesting that we will still be driving $80,000 dollar gasoline/diesel trucks 10 years from now.

  12. Bob Woods says:

    To answer your question Hasso, all those cars parked on the street are next to a driveway. The gas car moves to the street, the electric car charges from a station on the house in a driveway. (All you need is a 220 plug like for a dryer).

    Two electrics? Alternate cars during the week.

    Don’t want to do that? Run an underground conduit and provide your own charge station on the street – you had the cash to buy that Tesla didn’t you?

    This is not hard. It’s just change.

  13. Richard Vannice says:

    The one question that most of us haven’t stopped asked is —
    Will what we do as one country really make that much difference?

    This is a world wide problem (pollution) and there are countries who produce more pollution than the US. Until the entire world agrees to do something unilaterally all we can do is stall the inevitable.

    Not a doomsayer, just that this is going to be a long process

  14. Rich Kellum says:

    One comment above is where this would end, put it on the employers so they have to put in the infrastructure so you can have your electric car. Good socialism there folks, Maybe you should all get a bus pass so you can be even more efficient (with other peoples money) Oh by the way, the spot on the street in front of your house is not yours, it is public so when you wire up a charging station at that spot, anyone can park there and tell you to go fly a kite…. Eventually this will get worked out, but let’s face it, the folks with electric cars will whine that someone else should foot the bill, like they have been since EV’s were first put on the road, they want someone else to put in the charging stations, someone else to pay for the power, someone else to pay for the roads, they even want someone else to help pay for their car….

    • HowlingCicada says:

      All the money that “someone else” is paying to get electric cars over the starting hump is outweighed by the externalities that all of us pay for the continuing reliance on fossil fuels.

      One big externality, whether or not you believe in global warming or care about air or water quality, is the increasing future cost of every product made from the finite supply of petroleum — if we keep on burning it up in vehicles that could run on other fuels.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      “””Oh by the way, the spot on the street in front of your house is not yours, it is public so when you wire up a charging station at that spot, anyone can park there and tell you to go fly a kite.”””

      Free parking is a good example of using “other peoples’ money” because a large part of the cost (especially land) is paid for by every home owner and renter, whether or not they own or drive a car. If you’re going to attack “socialism,” be consistent. Remove free street parking; rent spaces to those who need them, including reserved spots to solve the problem you describe.

      • Rich Kellum says:

        Well Howling, it depends where you live, all the new developments are funded by the developer at the insistence of the city. For those of us who understand economics, that means that the person who buys the house has paid for the street that is now turned over to the city. So the street that he paid for is now used by someone else who didn’t. everyone else gets it for free, but not the person who paid for it. The problem is that other places the city paid for the street, and everyone is tarred with the same rules… if you believe in Global Warming er Climate Change, then stop using oil all together, and make an example of yourself so people can see what it would be like without a car at all, not even any bicycle tires………. I won’t hold my breath, you want to be comfy in your own lifestyle because you believe in it.. just don’t make up rules for others unless you are willing to be zero carbon etc first. Do not demand that someone else foot your bills so you can be comfy and have a warm fuzzy feeling about it.

        • Bob Woods says:

          “Well Howling, it depends where you live, all the new developments are funded by the developer at the insistence of the city. For those of us who understand economics, that means that the person who buys the house has paid for the street that is now turned over to the city.”

          So what do you want Rich? Should the public pay ALL of the costs for streets, water and sewer when a NEW development occurs, even though the developer makes a profit on ALL those costs? Subsidize the developers! Subsidize the developers!

          All the citizens should pay because you deign to build a house for them, at a profit!

        • HowlingCicada says:

          1st half: Seems like we agree about “other peoples’ money” in relation to free parking. If not, what am I missing?

          2nd half: I complained about the economic consequences of future scarcity which will be unavoidable unless demand for oil drops. The “easy” oil is mostly gone. Other oil (tar sands, fracking, deep ocean, exotic locations, etc) will go through its own evolution of easy to difficult, with gradually increasing cost. That cost will need to include provision for environmental catastrophies like Exxon Valdez.

          Where are my “rules for others” that you allege? Or, is “externality” a trigger word for some conservatives which makes rational discussion impossible?

          • Rich Kellum says:

            it is simple, if you want an electric car…….great, pay the bill, and…….. don’t forget that the power that you use for ;that car also comes from things like coal and natural gas, those things that the electric car are supposed to be so much better than.. by the way, who was it that paid the bill for the Exxon Valdez spill………………. it was exxon in the end every government around got paid by them….

    • Bob Woods says:

      Speaking of “whining” Rich, your posts elevates that to a new level:

      Cambridge Dictionary:

      If you whine, especially as a child, you complain or express disappointment or unhappiness repeatedly:

      • Rich Kellum says:

        So it’s whining when I complain that you got paid to buy two electric or semi electric cars by others taxes, not paying for the roads you use, feeding at the government trough while not living where you work and somehow you complaining that there isn’t enough money for the trough so you can get more while demanding that others pay your way is not…………….. NOW THAT IS RICH

  15. Rick Staggenborg says:

    Thanks, Hasso for bringing this up. Contrary to what some of the commentators are implying, I see nothing in your article that suggests you are trying to dismiss the idea of electric vehicles. It is important that these concerns be raised if those of us who are promoting the ideas are going to address those concerns, which are clearly shared by others.

    I learned a lot from the responses of people who have thought through your concerns. Please keep bringing them up. When it comes to an issue as important as this, there are no dumb questions.

  16. Abe Cee says:

    When an EV is available that meets my wants/needs (passenger space, cargo space, AWD, bells and whistles, manufacturer, etc) for a price that is inline with an ICE vehicle, then I’ll consider it and that needs to happen without having to have tax incentives that we’re all paying for.

    • Bob Woods says:

      So I guess that the tax incentives for reduced taxes on Capital Gains, sale of vacation homes, accelerated depreciation, oil depletion allowance, corporate earnings, 3-martini lunches, you oppose strenuously too.

      Or do you? Those all go to the rich and entitled.

      BTW those EV’s you want are out there. It’s not just the prices, it’s the total cost of operation which is FAR less than an ICE, My stepson just got a new E-Mustang and is happy as a clam.

      • Abe Cee says:

        Indeed, get rid of ALL tax incentives. I’d be all for replacing all current taxes with a straight consumption tax, no deductions, credits, discounts, abatements, etc.

        And that eMustang is $40k+, not really in the realm of affordable for many people.

  17. Hasso Hering says:

    Well. Thanks everyone for all the comments. I think we’ve gone about as far as we can with this back and forth. Unless someone has a constructive new idea of how on-street parking will meet the requirements of electric-car owners in 20 or 30 years, let us let the comments end here.


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