CNI electric-vehicle charging Tesla Meijer

Fast-charging stations for Tesla electric vehicles are shown in January 2020 in the parking lot at the Meijer store on North Prospect Avenue in Champaign.

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SPRINGFIELD — A measure before the General Assembly would require new and renovated residential or commercial buildings to set aside parking spaces that could easily be converted into charging stations for electric vehicles.

State Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, advanced House Bill 3125 through the House Energy and Environment Committee on Tuesday, noting she would work on an amendment to remove extra language that does not pertain to the parking provision.

Under the bill, newly built or extensively renovated residential buildings would have to make all spaces “electric-vehicle capable,” meaning they meet certain wiring requirements. Depending on the size of the parking lot, a certain number of spaces would have to be “electric-vehicle ready,” meaning they contain receptacles with the necessary voltage to install a charging station.

Residential buildings would be required to have at least six parking spaces ready for installation of charging stations. If there are six or fewer total spaces, all would be required to be electric-vehicle ready.

Buildings with 24 parking spaces or more would have to have at least one fully equipped charging station.

Commercial buildings would need to set aside 20 percent of parking for electric-vehicle-ready spaces.

Neda Deylami, an electric-vehicle advocate for the Sierra Club, said passage of the bill is “more urgent” than ever to fight climate change and make personal transportation more affordable and convenient.

“One of the best conveniences of an EV is that you can wake up to a fully charged vehicle in your own home — a privilege that is less certain for renters or those in multifamily homes who tend to have lower incomes overall as well,” Deylami said.

Gabel said the cost of adding charging stations should not exceed $1,000, but state Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, said she is concerned that extra costs could be created with construction and installation.

“I’m concerned that people will start doing significant markups on the installation part of this that we probably won’t foresee, and so some kind of control in that would be something I’m interested in as you work on this,” Ammons said.

Deylami said the bill would help establish guidelines that protect owners and renters from “unreasonable restrictions.”

Building owners would be responsible for obtaining approval from associations in order to install a charging station that must comply with the association’s architectural standards and be installed by a licensed contractor.

Within 14 days of approval, owners would need to provide a certificate that names the association as an additional insured party. Owners would be responsible for paying for the installation, energy usage and any damage.

But Kristofer Kasten, who represents the Community Associations Institute of Illinois, said his group doesn’t oppose electric vehicles, but they have “some very practical concerns” about financial burdens and how the bill, as drafted, applies to associations.

If associations install charging stations in common areas for unit owners to use, the bill outlines that the association would need to develop terms of use and may need to create new parking spaces to help with the installation of charging stations.

Associations would also be liable to unit owners for damages and would have to pay a civil penalty of up to $1,000.

Kasten said he hopes there is a way to address the concerns to not impede building owners and renters.

HB 3125 is the latest proposal to support the electric-vehicle industry. The Clean Energy Jobs Act, signed last year, sets a goal of putting 1 million of the vehicles on state roads by 2030, while the Reimaging Electric Vehicle Act creates incentives for manufacturers to expand or relocate to Illinois.

The bill passed committee on a partisan roll call, although Gabel said she would continue to work on it before bringing it for a full House vote.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

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