Newly constructed homes in Illinois would be required to include the infrastructure needed for electric vehicle charging stations under a bill now on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk.
The “Electric Vehicle Charging Act,” passed by the state House Thursday on a party-line 69-38 vote after earlier approval by the Senate, requires that new single-family or small multifamily homes offer at least “one EV-capable parking space for each residential unit that has dedicated parking.” A large multifamily residential building must “have 100% of its total parking spaces EV-capable.”
“This is a bill that reflects our future, and future-proofs the future with electric vehicles in this state,” Democratic state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, who represents Chicago’s Lakeview community and was the chief sponsor of this bill, told the Tribune. “This sort of trickles down to my constituents.”
Republican state Rep. Travis Weaver took issue with that reasoning from Feigenholtz, noting that it was led in both chambers by lawmakers who represent parts of Chicago’s North Side and does not suit the interests of all Illinois residents.
“If less than 1% of cars on the road are EVs, and less than 0.1% of cars in my district are EVs, I just don’t see why we’re having people in downstate Illinois pay for this infrastructure,” said Weaver, who represents a swath of central Illinois.
Weaver expressed concern that the costs stemming from the measure would unnecessarily raise the cost of new homes for those without EVs.
“Is it something that you would consider just doing in Evanston to begin with and then expanding throughout the state?” he asked the bill’s chief House sponsor, Rep. Robyn Gabel, an Evanston Democrat.
Gabel said that would not be considered, and clarified that developers would only be required to pay for the wiring that could allow for a charging system to be installed. She said the cost for that is minimal.
“Less than $1,000 is what we’ve been told,” she said.
The home or unit owner would pay for the charging system that connects their car to the internal wiring that is provided by the new building as well as the “electricity usage associated.”
If that unit owner later moved, they either would have to pay for the dismantling of the charging station, or sell it to the landlord or another tenant at an agreed-upon price.
Pritzker has been a strong advocate for clean energy. In 2021 he signed a bill that increases incentives aimed at increasing EV production and he has stated a goal of ensuring that there are 1 million electric cars in the state by 2030.
There is still a long way to go to reach that milestone. There are about 68,000 registered EVs in the entire state, with almost 50,000 of those in Cook (including Chicago), DuPage and Lake counties, according to the secretary of state’s April data.
Gabel said that under an earlier version of the bill, government and private business buildings would be required to provide EV charging accessibility, but the measure being sent to Pritzker only concerns residential buildings.
The Electric Vehicle Charging Act comes with separate requirements for affordable housing. While this bill would take effect for most building permits issued 90 days after it is signed, the clock doesn’t start for affordable housing until two years after it becomes law. Even then, only 40% of affordable housing spots need to be fitted, a percent that gradually increases over time.
Feigenholtz said installing charging capability during construction is significantly cheaper than doing so after the fact.
“The cost differential is about 75% preconstruction,” she said.
While all new construction will be required to offer EV charging infrastructure, unit owners and renters of existing buildings may request the addition of the charging infrastructure if they pay for the construction. Noncompliance from the homeowners association or landlord would carry potential fines of as much as $1,000.
The bill was applauded by climate groups, while the Illinois Realtors association was originally opposed. After several amendments, the realtor group has softened its stance.
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May 5, 2023 at 03:17PM