Kelowna council has mixed feelings on mandatory EV readiness in all new construction

Split on EV readiness

Kelowna city council is of two minds when it comes to requiring all parking stalls in new home construction to be EV ready.

Environmentally, it makes sense but when it comes to housing affordability, it doesn't.

That's the dilemma council will face when a proposed bylaw change goes to a public hearing in the coming weeks.

The bylaw would require a minimum of one energized electric vehicle outlet per dwelling unit. The exception would be developments in "rental only" zones where a minimum 25 per cent of required parking spaces require an energized electric vehicle outlet.

Community energy specialist Todd Brunner says electric vehicle readiness means a parking space includes an energized outlet capable of charging an EV when charging equipment is installed.

Brunner says about 20 per cent of all new vehicle purchases in B.C. are electric vehicles and government mandates state 90 per cent of new car sales by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2035 must be electric.

"B.C. is on track," said Brunner.

However, he says many residents may hesitate to purchase electric vehicles until they have access to home charging.

While most on council did speak to the need for EV charging, there were also concerns about tacking on yet another layer cost to the already high cost of home purchase.

"Every time we add an additional regulation or cost we add to the unaffordability, and it's one of the biggest issues in our community, said Coun. Ron Cannan.

"It's death by a thousand cuts.

"I have trouble making this mandatory. If people want to have an electrical charger I think that's a great option."

Mayor Tom Dyas suggested lowering the percentage to lower the cost. He suggested 50 per cent of stalls instead of every one.

Brunner suggested that would go against the strategy of making EV charging "easy, convenient and affordable."

He said the cost of installing an EV charging outlet post construction could be upwards of three times what it would cost during construction.

"If you were to go to a percentage, say 10 per cent, then for the 11th person it would neither be easy or convenient because they would have to go back to their strata...and we often see in practice those get voted down," said Brunner.

Council unanimously agreed to move the bylaw to a public hearing to get further feedback.

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