Electric vehicle (EV) readiness dramatically decreases the costs to install EV charging infrastructure down the road by utilizing pre-construction planning to include parking spaces with electrical infrastructure that enables future EV charging.Dory Larsen | March 25, 2021
There are many reasons to drive an electric vehicle (EV): lower total cost of ownership, a superior driving experience, and convenient charging to name a few. Yet many drivers, or potential drivers, live in homes that were not designed to support EV charging. Take for example our neighbors who live in apartment buildings or condominiums. These buildings were not originally designed for the extra electrical capacity needed to support EV charging.
On average, 80% of charging happens at home or at the workplace. Low or no access to home charging is a well-known barrier to EV adoption, and the electric transportation team working on our Electrify The South campaign at SACE has been working to address this.
What is EV Readiness?
EV readiness requires a percentage of parking spaces built to include electrical infrastructure at the time of construction that enables future EV charging. This is one of the most impactful, cost-effective actions a municipality can take to facilitate the adoption of EVs.
There are different “tiers” of EV readiness:
EV Capable: Enough electrical capacity is installed at the panel to support future EV charging spots. Additionally, there is a dedicated branch circuit to make sure enough power is available for future charging stations without overloading the system and raceway to future charging spots.
EV Ready: EV capable requirements are met, with the addition of wiring and junction box or 240 outlet (like for a clothes dryer).
EV Installed: All of the above, plus installing the actual EV charging station.
Why Implement EV-Readiness Policies?
As a percentage of total new construction costs, EV-ready costs are typically very low. In one study of multi-family and commercial projects, EV-ready costs were an estimated 0.13%-0.17% of total construction costs. This worked out to an estimated cost of about $920 per parking spot. In contrast, post-construction can be 75% higher, averaging $3,550 per spot.
Retrofits are significantly more expensive because they require adding additional electrical capacity, boring, trenching, and re-filling with concrete. Requiring ‘EV capable’ at the very least is such an important action to avoid high costs later.
As the graph below from the ICCT report “Quantifying the electric vehicle charging infrastructure gap across U.S. markets” demonstrates, renters who lack access to home charging rely on public charging. Too many apartment dwellers are without access to home charging and are therefore unable to access some of the benefits of driving electric.
The high demand for home charging but lack of access for multi-unit dwellers (MUD) demonstrates the need for policy action. EV-ready policies lower the cost barrier of charging station installations in MUD communities, increasing the likelihood of access to home charging for low to moderate-income MUD communities, and in turn, access EV ownership.
Increasing access to energy is a tenant of energy equity. In the past, with broadband interconnection we’ve seen digital redlining practices that have led to a digital divide on who has access to reliable wifi connection. We cannot let these kinds of inequities persist as we transition to an electrified transportation system. We need to ensure equitable charging access to all community members; EV-readiness policies are is key to that.
Who Has EV-Readiness Policies?
Many local governments across the Southeast have already implemented EV-ready policies. Atlanta was an early adopter of the policy, passing an Ordinance in 2018, and Miami-Dade County followed suit in 2019.
What Can You Do?
Electrify the South has developed a policy toolkit intended to help local governments take action by adopting EV-supportive policies. Talk to your local elected officials and share the EV-readiness section with them. Contact us if you are interested in learning more and getting involved.
Electrify the South is a program of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy that leverages research, advocacy, and outreach to promote renewable energy and accelerate the equitable transition to electric transportation throughout the Southeast. Visit ElectrifytheSouth.org to learn more and connect with us.