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California Condominiums to Receive Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

by on August 29, 2011

The electric vehicle industry just received a boost in California, where a new law now requires that all condominiums must be equipped with sufficient electric vehicle charging stations to accommodate the needs of each building’s residents.

State Bill 209 was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader and California State Senator Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, and was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on July 25. Scheduled to go into effect in 2012, the “Electric Vehicle Bill” has been widely praised by environmental groups. It also received the backing of the state’s leading homeowners associations advocate, the CAI-CLAC, who noted this was a giant step toward “advancing the energy conservation goals of achieving a statewide 20 percent reduction in energy use by 2020.”

In the rarely used “Governor’s Signing Message” portion of the bill, Gov. Brown reflected, “Senate Bill 209 advances the important state interests of lowering vehicle emissions and decreasing dependency on foreign oil. Charging stations are part of the infrastructure that must be built to integrate electric vehicles into our daily lives by allowing plug-in vehicles to be recharged faster and to minimize impact to the electrical grid.”

Since the lack of recharging stations is often cited as a major obstacle in the technology taking off, proponents predict that SB 209 will have a significant impact on EV sales in California, where sales are already the highest in the nation.

Despite the heavy praise, SB 209 has been criticized for leaving out rental units and apartment complexes, especially because this excludes lower income communities from the electric vehicle revolution. Data released by the federal Department of Transportation indicates there is already a strong economic and ethnic bias that exists in the EV industry, with more than 92 percent of these cars being bought by Caucasian Californians who earn more than $75,000 per year. Controversy was also generated over who would be responsible for financing the installation, repair, and removal of charging stations, as well as who would be charged for the used energy.

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  • Fraser Stark

    This is a great initiative, but, as the author concludes, there is still controversy over who responsibility for financing, maintenance, billing, etc. It remain very difficult condo board to invest in the infrastructure required for EV charging. The pools of money they have available are very specifically allocated to other uses, and the revenue dollars involved simply aren’t large enough to justify spending a lot of time becoming an expert in this.

    ParkPlug Power, which I recently founded to serve the booming Canadian condominium market, works with condo boards as a 3rd party infrastructure owner/operator. This allows the condo board to offer EV charging as a service to its unit owners, without having to come up with the money itself or get into the weeds of EV charging technology. It’s every bit as applicable in LA or San Francisco as it is in Toronto or Vancouver.

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