Electric vehicle bill could require new construction to be charging-station ready

Electric vehicle charging.
Electric vehicle charging.(Rosemond Crown)
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:36 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) - Electric vehicles owners usually have the added expense of installing a new power line to charge their cars at home.

A bill headed to the Illinois House floor could require newly constructed or heavily renovated homes and buildings to have the extra electric line ready to go. This means a charging station could be installed without breaking ground.

Experts say the electric line requires a similar amount of electricity to a drying machine. Committee members expressed concern over the demand this would have on the power grid. Attorney and electric vehicle advocate Neda Deylami said the load on the power grid is similar to that of household appliances.

“The amount that a car uses to be charged is not even comparable to how much power a house uses from an air conditioner in the summer. That is vastly more demand than this uses,” Deylami said.

Additionally, she said in certain areas ComEd requires EV owners to report themselves to the company. Other electric providers recommend charging overnight when the burden on the power grid is lighter.

Advocates hope reducing the amount of inconvenience with buying an electric vehicle will encourage more consumers to get on the road.

Members of the committee, however, are concerned that this addition could lead to a rise in housing prices. Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) worried the bill would “artificially inflate the cost of housing.” Rep. Will Davis (D-East Hazel Crest) is concerned the bill wouldn’t help underserved communities.

“These people are not buying electric cars,” Davis said. “Right now, I don’t see them as affordable.”

He also noted that new construction and major renovation usually doesn’t happen in underserved neighborhoods, which means they are left out of the bill.

Bill sponsor Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) said estimates she’s received from realtors and contractors consider the costs of the added electric line minimal compared with the other costs of new construction. Due to the age of many buildings and homes, they often aren’t capable of housing a charging station. Gabel said she wants this bill to prevent the extra work of charging installments in the future.

“Only one in seven buildings is from this century,” Gabel said. “We want to make sure that from now on when they build, the buildings will make so they will be more capable and easier to implement them.”

The plan passed out of the committee 16-7, with six members not voting. Though he made opposing comments, Davis voted for the bill. Morrison voted against the measure. Gabel noted she would bring the bill back to the House Energy committee with improvements.

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