Montgomery County Green Bank – EV Charging Infrastructure

Nov 3, 2022

Hannah Lindsell

Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States, contributing 27% of total U.S. GHG emissions.[1] While the increasing sales of personal electric vehicles (EVs) could have an impact on reducing GHG emissions, research shows that EV buyers are mostly white, high-income, highly-educated, and male.[2] Studies from California and Maryland show that typically EV buyers in those states are not socioeconomically, or ethnically, representative of the state as a whole.[3] This indicates the existence of hurdles for the community at large to be able to access EVs.

The inconsistent deployment of EVs excludes populations that could benefit the most from access to EVs and corresponding infrastructure. For example, low-income households spend approximately 11.2% of their annual income on vehicle fuel, maintenance, and repairs compared to all households which spend, on average, 4.5% of their annual income on these expenses.[4] Additionally, low-income households and disadvantaged households are more likely to reside in areas of high traffic which have higher rates of local air pollution.[5] Reducing the number of internal-combustion-engine vehicles in low-income and disadvantaged communities could reduce local air pollution and related health impacts in addition to reducing costs associated with these vehicles which put strain on household budgets.[6], [7]

However, there are significant “EV charging deserts” which makes it challenging for individuals within certain communities to transition to EVs.[8] One example is the Bronx, which has a population of 1.4 million, a median household income of $40,000, a region known as “Asthma Alley” for its high rates of asthma related hospitalizations, and only 17 EV charging stations.[9]

Having access to at-home charging is crucial for communities located within “EV charging deserts.” However, many households, especially low-income and disadvantaged households, face significant challenges to installing charging infrastructure.[10] Some of these challenges include: funds to install chargers, having designated spaces for chargers, and permission to install chargers.[11] Within multi-family housing environments these challenges make it essential for property owners to be participants in working to install EV charging infrastructure.[12]

Montgomery County Green Bank EV Charging Engagement

The Montgomery County Green Bank (Green Bank) received grant funding from The General Motors Company to support, and incentivize, affordable multi-family housing property owners within Montgomery County, Maryland to install EV charging infrastructure at their properties, for the benefit of residents. The Green Bank was to utilize the grant funding to launch a pilot program with a target of installing 30 EV chargers at a minimum of six affordable housing properties.

The Green Bank hired Sustainable Capital Advisors (SCA) to conduct research and strategy development to support the Green Bank in launching this pilot program. The SCA team researched different incentives and subsidies that already existed within the market that are available to affordable multi-family property owners within the county. Additionally, the SCA team conducted stakeholder outreach across three broad categories:

  • Affordable multi-family property owners. SCA engaged with property owners within the county to understand their challenges and concerns regarding installing EV chargers. This was essential for understanding what roadblocks had prevented property owners from previously installing EV chargers and what challenges would need to be addressed, by the Green Bank pilot program, to support installation of EV chargers.
  • Providers of charging infrastructure. SCA met with multiple providers of EV charging infrastructure to understand the different options they offer, and the logistics of installing and managing chargers.
  • Rebate and incentive providers. SCA connected with organizations (Maryland Energy Administration [MEA] and Pepco) that already provide EV charging rebates to multi-family property owners, within Montgomery County, to understand how existing rebate programs work and to identify potential gaps.

The SCA team’s research revealed that there were existing EV charging infrastructure rebate and incentive programs available for multi-family property owners within Montgomery County provided by MEA and Pepco. However, there were gaps and challenges within what is currently offered. For example, the Pepco program did not cover the cost of upgrading utility connections which can present a significant hurdle to installing EV charging infrastructure. Both the Pepco and MEA programs have caps on the amount of funding they will provide, so property owners could still have outstanding costs even if they are able to access rebates from both MEA and Pepco. Also, neither program was specifically designed to support affordable housing properties.

SCA’s conversations with affordable multi-family property owners yielded eye-opening, on-the-ground insight, which was crucial for developing an impactful Green Bank pilot program. Property owners expressed concern that within existing programs they would be required to carry the costs of installation for potentially several months before receiving rebates. Many affordable multi-family property owners have competing priorities and do not always have the upfront funds to install EV chargers. Additionally, property owners were concerned about allocating high-in-demand parking spaces to EV charging infrastructure that they were not sure would be significantly utilized.

The Green Bank’s original concept for the pilot program was a structure designed to cover the differential cost between what was offered by existing rebates and the cost of purchasing and installing the charging infrastructure. However, given the insight gained from SCA’s research and stakeholder engagement, a different structure was proposed by SCA to meet market intel on the needs and gaps.

Using this insight, the SCA team and the Montgomery County Green Bank developed an innovative and strategic solution to position the Green Bank to have the most impact when supporting affordable multi-family property owners to install EV chargers. This solution resulted in the Montgomery County Green Bank Electric Vehicle Charger Incentive Program (EV-CIP), which consists of several components:

  • A Bridge Loan to cover property owner’s carrying costs while awaiting MEA and Pepco rebate payments. This loan will cover the infrastructure and installation costs for EV chargers, a cost that is anticipated to be refunded through MEA and Pepco rebates.
  • An additional 10% provided as a grant above what is covered by the MEA and Pepco rebates to provide funding to cover costs incurred by affordable multi-family property owners to install EV charging infrastructure. 
  • Revenue backstop of $2k for each dual-head charger (for up to two chargers). This is to compensate for any potential lost value or revenue due to allocating parking spaces for charging infrastructure.

This innovative structure not only fills gaps that may exist between costs incurred by property owners and existing rebates – which is in line with the Green Bank’s preliminary goal – but it also equips property owners to more fully leverage existing generous rebates within the market. This pilot program is incredibly strategic because it will allow the Green Bank to leverage the grant funding from General Motors to have a larger impact, and it enables the entire community to better access existing resources.

For more information about the Montgomery County Green Bank’s EV-CIP Program:

For more information about SCA’s work with green banks across the country:


1. EPA, Carbon Pollution from Transportation

2. MIT Science Policy Review, A perspective on equity in the transition to electric vehicle

3. MIT Science Policy Review, A perspective on equity in the transition to electric vehicle

4. MIT Science Policy Review, A perspective on equity in the transition to electric vehicle

5. MIT Science Policy Review, A perspective on equity in the transition to electric vehicle

6. MIT Science Policy Review, A perspective on equity in the transition to electric vehicle

7. GreenBiz, Why equity must be central to EV infrastructure planning

8. GreenBiz, Why equity must be central to EV infrastructure planning

9. GreenBiz, Why equity must be central to EV infrastructure planning

10. MIT Science Policy Review, A perspective on equity in the transition to electric vehicle

11. MIT Science Policy Review, A perspective on equity in the transition to electric vehicle

12. MIT Science Policy Review, A perspective on equity in the transition to electric vehicle

About the author


Hannah Lindsell

As an Associate Director, Hannah works directly with clients in the sustainable infrastructure sector to solve problems by building impactful and thoughtful sustainable solutions.  Hannah is highly motivated by her clients and their passion for making society more sustainable and advancing environmental justice efforts. Hannah works with her clients including non-profits, foundations, and green banks to increase the flow of capital into climate resilient investments. This includes conducting research, interviews, and analysis to develop project roadmaps, business expansion plans, and financing mechanisms such as credit enhancements.  

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