Electric Vehicle Charging in Bellingham

The City of Bellingham seeks to increase electric vehicle (EV) use City-wide as part of its commitment to address climate change.

EV Charging Locations

There are many publicly accessible charging stations throughout Bellingham located on City-owned property and adjacent to businesses. City-owned charging stations are operated by ChargePoint.

City-Owned Charging Stations

As of February 2023, publicly available City-owned charging stations are in the following locations:

  • Commercial Street parking garage
  • Depot Market Square
  • Shuksan Meadows
  • Taylor Dock
  • Fairhaven Park

The City is in the process of installing 45 EV chargers at 26 sites throughout Bellingham between November 2022 and December 2023 as part of its Electrification of Transportation project.

Rates at City-Owned EV Charging Stations

EV charging rates may vary depending on the station. EV charging stations installed by the City of Bellingham have the following fees:

  • Energy fee of $0.25 per kWh while charging
  • Charge of $0.25 per minute for occupying parking space after vehicle charging is complete, not to exceed $23.00, to allow for equitable access to EV charging stations
  • Additional fee of $1.00 per session when using DC Fast Charger (Level 3)

Paid Parking: Paid parking rates apply to EV parking spaces located in Pay to Park lots and metered parking hours during enforcement hours (Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Parking fees must be paid separately through pay stations or the PayByPhone mobile app.

Below are a few example scenarios to highlight what EV charging costs might look like depending on where someone is parked, how long they charge their vehicle, and what type of charger they use.

Scenario #1 – EV parked at a theoretical Level 2 charger in Juliana Park

Charger CapacityLevel 2 – 7.2 kWh capacity
Time at charger120 minutes (charging the whole time)
Power delivered14.4 kWh
Cost per kWh (Base Rate)$0.25
Total cost for power to charge vehicle$3.60
Total fees paid by EV driver$3.60
Driving miles gained (@ .346 kWh/mi)42
Equivalent price in gas (@ $5.39/gas & 25.7 mpg)$8.74

Scenario #2 – EV parked at a theoretical DC Fast Charger (Level 3) at Civic Field

Charger CapacityLevel 3 – 62 kWh capacity
Time at charger30 minutes (charging the whole time)
Power delivered31 kWh
Cost per kWh (Base Rate)$0.25
Total cost for power to charge vehicle$7.75
Surcharge for use of DC Fast Charger$1.00
Total fees paid by EV driver$8.75
Driving miles gained (@ .346 kWh/mi)90
Equivalent price in gas (@ $5.39/gas & 25.7 mpg)$18.80

Scenario #3 – EV parked at existing Level 2 charger in Commercial St. Parking Garage

Charger CapacityLevel 2 – 7.2 kWh capacity
Time at charger3 hours (charging for 2.5 hours)
Power delivered18 kWh
Cost per kWh (Base Rate)$0.25
Total cost for power to charge vehicle$4.50
Surcharge for parking in Pay to Park lot (paid separately)$4.50
Surcharge for occupying parking space additional 30 minutes without charging vehicle (includes 10-minute grace period) at rate of $0.25/minute$5.00
Total fees paid by EV driver$14.00
Driving miles gained (@ .346 kWh/mi)52
Equivalent price in gas (@ $5.39/gas & 25.7 mpg)$10.92

Bellingham City Council approved these EV charging rates on November 22, 2022. These rates were determined using a market rate analysis of Level 2 and Level 3/DC Fast Chargers in Whatcom County that require payment.

A market rate approach was selected as the basis for the proposed rates and surcharges because operating a relatively large EV charging network is a new endeavor for the City and the actual costs for system operation are unknown at this time. Staff will return to Council with a cost-based fee structure at a future date once sufficient data has been collected over a pilot period, not to exceed 36 months from November 2022.

Rates were set using a cost per unit of energy basis ($/kWh) rather than a cost per unit of time basis ($/min. or hr.) for equity reasons as the age of an EV can impact the rate at which a vehicle can charge its batteries. For example, older vehicles will likely take longer to charge their batteries.

The market rate analysis of chargers in Whatcom County showed an average rate of $0.25/kWh for Level 2 chargers and $0.35/kWh for Level 3/DC Fast Chargers. Users of Level 3 chargers pay the same base rate as the Level 2 chargers with an additional $1.00 surcharge. This surcharge covers increased costs associated with Level 3 chargers which are several times more expensive to purchase, install, and replace.

To allow for equitable access to EV charging stations, a surcharge of $0.25/minute is applied for EVs occupying charging stations when vehicle charging is complete, not to exceed $23.00.

More Information

EV charging rates at City-managed chargers are used to cover current electricity costs for the City ($0.14/kWh) as well as estimated system maintenance.

Interested in an EV?

These resources may be helpful if you are considering going electric:

Climate Action Goals

The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Bellingham, accounting for approximately 43% of community emissions. The Council-adopted 2018 Climate Action Plan (CAP) and subsequent 2022 Climate Implementation Plan both prioritize increasing electric vehicles and charging infrastructure to reduce emissions from transportation. The measures in these Plans call for equitably advancing electrification of transportation across Bellingham and promoting a shift from internal combustion engines to large-scale adoption of EVs.

The City’s goal is to have 40% of all vehicles be electric by 2030 as stated in the CAP. Learn more about Bellingham’s climate action goals.