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Chicago strengthens EV charging measures for new buildings

The Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment-Ready ordinance updates the city’s municipal code to increase the number of private parking spaces equipped with EV-charging capacity. 

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The move paves the way for cost-effective expansion of charging equipment in new properties
The move paves the way for cost-effective expansion of charging equipment in new properties

Chicago’s city council has passed an ordinance bolstering the requirements for newly constructed residential and commercial buildings to be electric vehicle ready.

 

The Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment-Ready, or EVSE-Ready, ordinance updates the city’s municipal code to increase the number of private parking spaces equipped with EV-charging capacity.

 

Charging equipment

 

According to city council, the move both paves the way for “cost-effective” expansion of charging equipment in new properties, and vaults Chicago into the “national forefront” of cities preparing for a significant increase of EVs on US roadways.

 

“As the cost of EVs decline and concerns about the fall-out from climate change escalate, analysts have forecasted exponential growth in EVs over the next two decades, and Chicago must be ready,” said Brendan Reilly, alderman of Chigaco’s 42nd ward and chief sponsor of the measure.

 

“Readiness starts with ensuring our municipal code anticipates the need for charging resources and other assets that will optimise the performance of our transportation network and minimise costs for electricity consumers, as EVs proliferate.”

 

The three principle aims of the new ordinance are:

  • a broader range of multi-unit residential and commercial properties to reserve on-site parking spaces for EVs
  • to boost the percentage of parking spaces that applicable property owners must designate for EVs
  • To change current standards in the code so that EV-designated parking spaces are no longer just “capable’ of providing charging capacity, but are, in fact, outfitted with plug-in equipment.

Under previous city requirements, all new residential construction consisting of at least 24 units was obligated to reserve no fewer than two parking spaces for EVs.

“Readiness starts with ensuring our municipal code anticipates the need for charging resources and other assets that will optimise the performance of our transportation network.”

The new ordinance would change those thresholds to require new residential construction consisting of at least five units and commercial properties with at least 30 on-site parking spaces (previously 50) to reserve no less than 20 per cent of parking spaces for EVs.

 

Costly retrofits

 

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB), a leading advocate for the new measure, underlined that the ordinance will prevent residential and commercial properties from having to endure costly retrofits in a future when EV demand requires charging equipment in every building.

 

“This is a giant step forward for Chicago, and it’s the kind of wise EV policy we need across Illinois,” added David Kolata, executive director, CUB.

 

“This is a perfect example of how clean energy policy reduces consumer costs. As a consumer advocacy group, we like this policy because it is good for the pocketbook and the planet.”

 

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