Bill would require developers to plan for electric vehicle charging

SPRINGFIELD - A measure before the General Assembly would require new and renovated residential or commercial buildings to set aside parking spaces that could easily be converted into electric vehicle charging stations.

Rep. Robyn Gabel, an Evanston Democrat, advanced House Bill 3125 through the House Energy and Environment Committee on Tuesday, noting she would work on an amendment to remove extra language that does not pertain to the parking provision.

Under the bill, newly built or extensively renovated residential buildings would have to make all spaces "electric vehicle capable," meaning they meet certain wiring requirements. Depending on the size of the parking lot, a certain number of spaces would have to be "electric vehicle ready," meaning they contain receptacles with the necessary voltage to install an EV charging station.

Residential buildings would be required to have at least six parking spaces ready for installation of charging stations. If there are one to six parking spaces, all spaces would be required to be EV ready.

Buildings with 24 parking spaces or more would have to have at least one fully equipped charging station.

Commercial buildings would need to set aside 20% of parking for EV ready spaces.

Neda Deylami, an EV advocate for the Sierra Club, said the passage of the bill is "more urgent" than ever to fight climate change and make personal transportation more affordable and convenient.

"One of the best conveniences of an EV is that you can wake up to a fully charged vehicle in your own home. A privilege that is less certain for renters or those in multifamily homes who tend to have lower incomes overall as well," Deylami said.

Gabel said the cost of adding charging stations should not exceed $1,000, but Rep. Carol Ammons, an Urbana Democrat, said she is concerned that extra costs could be created with the construction and installation of EV charging stations.

"I'm concerned that people will start doing significant markups on the installation part of this that we probably won't foresee, and so some kind of control in that would be something I'm interested in as you work on this," Ammons said.

Deylami said that the bill would help establish guidelines that protect owners and renters from "unreasonable restrictions."

Building owners would be responsible for obtaining approval from associations to install a charging station that must comply with the association's architectural standards and be installed by a licensed contractor.

Within 14 days of approval, owners would need to provide a certificate that names the association as an additional insured party. Owners would be responsible for paying for the installation, energy usage, and any damage.

But Kristofer Kasten, who represents the Community Associations Institute of Illinois, said his group doesn't oppose electric vehicles but that it has "some very practical concerns" about financial burdens and how the bill, as drafted, applies to associations.

If associations install EV charging stations in common areas for unit owners to use, the bill outlines that the association would need to develop terms of use and may need to create new parking spaces to help with the installation of charging stations.

Associations would also be liable to unit owners for damages and would have to pay a civil penalty of up to $1,000.

Kasten said he hopes there is a way to address the concerns to not impede building owners and renters.

HB 3125 is the latest proposal to support the EV industry. The Clean Energy Jobs Act, signed last year, sets a goal of putting 1 million EVs on Illinois roads by 2030, while the Reimaging Electric Vehicle Act creates incentives for EV manufacturers to expand or relocate to Illinois.

The bill passed committee on a partisan roll call, although Gabel said she would continue to work on it before bringing it for a full House vote.

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