The Building Standards Commission should require all new multi-family homes with parking to include charging compatible with electric vehicles.
By Ben Allen
State Senator Ben Allen, a Democrat from Redondo Beach, represents the 26th Senate District.
Mia Bonta, special for CalMatters
Member of the Assembly Mia Bonta, an Oakland Democrat, represents the 18th Assembly District.
As this month’s United Nations climate conference failed to strike key deals that will limit global warming to the crucial 1.5C target, it is critical that California step up its climate leadership.
Recognizing that gasoline-powered vehicles are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions statewide – and that the electric vehicle revolution is on its way – Governor Gavin Newsom has set a powerful vision last fall, declaring that all new cars sold in California after 2035 will be void. -emission.
But we will only achieve this laudable goal if all residents have an affordable, reliable and convenient place to charge electric vehicles: at home. Public charging charges are unregulated and generally much more expensive.
Why then is a key state agency failing to ensure the infrastructure necessary for a just transition to electric vehicles?
As of 2015, the California Green Building Standards Code, CALGreen, requires that 100% of new single-family homes be compatible with electric vehicles. But the currently proposed code update requires only 40% of parking in new multi-family homes to be wired for charging.
This excludes a significant portion of apartment and condo residents in California – who are more likely to be people of color or low income – from convenient and inexpensive access to charging, perpetuating systemic racial inequalities. and class and disproportionate air pollution loads.
To address this double standard, we’re one of a dozen state lawmakers who are echoing the Coalition for Access to Electric Vehicle Charging for All to the California Building Standards Commission to ensure that each new multi-family housing unit with parking has access to charging compatible with electric vehicles. .
We ask Newsom to ask the Building Standards Commission to require all new multi-family housing units with parking to include access to EV charging, via an EV charging plug or cord, with prominent signage. indicating that it is ready for EV. Where possible, EV wiring should go through the unit’s electric meter. Hundreds of Californians have requested it during public comment periods; it appears that thousands of other similar comments have not been documented.
Cities across the state have adopted similar policies, and the Building Standards Commission’s own code advisory committee recommended a fair access proposal – but the commission declined to consider it. Instead, the commission appears to be listening to the California Building Industry Association whose members, despite billions in revenue, don’t want to pay the extra 0.03% to make sure every new apartment and condo with parking has access to the parking lot. recharge.
That’s penny wise, stupid book. Installing EV infrastructure at the time of new construction is by far the cheapest way to build EV charging access: retrofitting can be four to ten times more expensive. California will save up to $ 1.4 billion by installing a load in advance, rather than upgrading later, and installing at the time of new construction will create many jobs.
So who will the Building Standards Commission listen to: building lobbyists or climate, fairness and labor advocates? If the code is not tightened, the majority of new multi-family residents will still not have access to the financial and health benefits of driving electric vehicles, and California will not meet its climate targets.
By exerting influence at this critical time, Newsom can seize an opportunity to demonstrate California’s commitment to fair climate action. Californians can ask the governor to guarantee access to charging for every new multi-family unit in the Golden State. Otherwise, brand new buildings will continue to lack the infrastructure necessary to meet the governor’s own EV goals., leaving taxpayers to bear unnecessary costs down the line and delaying the urgent transition to electrified transport.
California has shown the world that we can reduce our carbon emissions and grow our economy. We now need to electrify our transportation system and make it accessible to everyone. Can the Golden State continue to demonstrate its climate leadership with equity at the forefront, in order to boldly and effectively meet the challenge of the climate crisis?