Starting in 2020, new buildings in Nelson must install a minimum number of electric car charging outlets.
Last week, city council decided new construction in Nelson must have:
• One Level 2 charging outlet for every dwelling unit including mixed use buildings.
• One Level 2 or higher charging outlet for 20 per cent of parking stalls in new commercial, industrial, mixed-use, public, or institutional buildings.
The requirement is not to actually install a ready-to-use charging station at each parking space, but rather to install an energized outlet at each parking space so that future occupants can easily and quickly install a charger device on their own.
Council also decided that new gas stations must have charging stations available for public use.
These provisions involve an amendment to the city’s Off-street Parking and Landscape Bylaw.
Council made these decisions after considering a number of facts and assumptions:
• In the first quarter of 2019, six per cent of total vehicle sales and 15 per cent of new passenger vehicle sales in B.C. were zero-emission electric vehicles. Under the provincial Zero Emissions Vehicles Act, 10 per cent of new vehicle sales are required to be electric by 2025, 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040. It can be expected that nearly all homes built today will one day be home to an EV.
• Owners of electric vehicles tend to want to charge at home or at work.
• New homes and commercial spaces can be equipped with EV charging at a relatively modest cost. Wiring parking areas for Level 2 charging at construction is generally half the cost of doing the work post-occupancy.
• The cost of making a new single-family home Level 2 ready is estimated at $200 to $500, which is about half or even one-quarter of the cost of retrofitting post-construction.
• Level 2 charging is the most common level of vehicle charging. It is also the level of service installed by the city at lower Hall Street and in Railtown for public charging. Level Two charging stations use a 240-volt system (similar to a clothes dryer plug) and can fully charge a vehicle in four to ten hours, depending on the vehicle battery’s range.
• For multi-unit buildings, the per-stall cost is estimated at $560 in a load-sharing system or $2,400 for a dedicated circuit. Announced at the end of September, a new rebate program is available until March 2020 to hydro customers across the province, including Nelson Hydro customers, that provides a $350 rebate for a detached home’s EV charging connection and $2,000 for a workplace or multi-unit building.