In response to an Executive Order issued by the Governor in late-2012, the Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) and the Building Standards Commission (BSC) are moving forward with regulations to require EV-Ready building standards starting in July of 2015.  As opposed to installing fully operational (and costly) charging stations for electric vehicles, these building standards would be limited to items which would facilitate the later installation of the charging stations at a significantly reduced cost.

For example, all new homes will be required to have an electrical panel with enough empty plug slots to allow for the later installation of EV charging equipment.  In addition, there will also need to be 1-inch wide conduit (piping) for the later installation of the wiring connecting the electrical panel with a point in the garage.  For apartment complexes having more than 16 units and commercial projects, similar requirements for electrical panels and conduit will apply to 3% of the parking spaces.

At least six legislative measures have been introduced that seek to help the state understand what the need for charging infrastructure is, anticipate what it will be, and come up with ideas on how to help meet the demand.  As an industry, we view these measures as positive steps forward.  However, it is rumored that another bill is being considered that will mandate installation of charging infrastructure.  Such an idea, forcing property owners to charge cars, has been meet with opposition in the past by a wide range of groups – not just the commercial real estate industry.

Environmental organizations and the Air Resource Board had argued for fully functioning EV charging facilities, however, HCD and BSC have chosen to move forward with only “EV-ready” regulations.  The formal regulatory process will start in April and adoption is expected this summer with the standard applying to projects whose permit applications are submitted to the local building department on or after July 1, 2015.

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