Access to Electric Vehicles Is an Environmental Justice Issue
As electric vehicle (EV) adoption grows rapidly in Utah, so does the need for charging infrastructure that provides equitable access to its benefits.
Currently, one of the major barriers to EV adoption is access to charging stations. Installing home charging stations can be expensive and is often out of reach for individuals living in moderate to low-income housing or for renters in general.
Furthermore, most charging stations are located in areas that may be difficult or inconvenient to reach.
These EV adoption barriers, combined with the upfront costs of an electric vehicle and recent legislation to increase charging taxes collected from electric vehicle owners, make it essential for cities to implement local solutions.
Salt Lake City takes a step forward
On April 4th, the Salt Lake City Council unanimously voted to adopt an “Electric Vehicle Readiness Ordinance,” requiring 20% of parking spaces in new multifamily buildings to be “Electric Vehicle-ready.”
What is EV readiness?
Three levels of “electric vehicle supply equipment” (EVSE) infrastructure are often regulated by city zoning ordinances:
Installed electrical panel capacity with a dedicated branch circuit and a continuous raceway from the panel to the future EV parking space.
Installed electrical panel capacity and raceway with conduit to terminate in a junction box or 240-volt charging outlet.
All of the above plus an installed Level 2 EV charging station.
SLC’s new proposal focuses on increasing ” EV-Ready” infrastructure in parking spaces to make installing an EV charger easier.
Why you should care
Providing residential charging infrastructure helps to increase electric vehicle adoption by removing charging barriers common in typical multifamily construction. EV adoption is important for reducing vehicle source emissions contributing to ongoing air quality issues.
EV-ready policies address a growing need for residential charging, with the understanding that most charging events occur at home.
While this ordinance will not solve the problem of unequal access to electric vehicles and the much-needed expansion of our public charging infrastructure, it will set a course for local action toward accommodating a more equitable transition to electric vehicles. This ordinance could go beyond Salt Lake City and inspire surrounding cities to implement similar strategies to support EV infrastructure.
We thank everyone who took the time to reach out to SLC council members in support of this ordinance. With your help, council members got a diverse set of views to better inform their decision.