The Miami-Dade County Commission on Jan. 23 will consider mandating a certain number of electric vehicle charging spaces in new developments.
The ordinance would apply in the unincorporated areas of the county, which cover a significant portion of the population, and most of the undeveloped land. Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who sponsored the ordinance, said it would apply to developments submitted after the rule is passed, not retroactively. The rule would not apply to single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses, which all usually have access to electrical outlets near parking spaces, or to religious buildings.
There were 361,307 electric and plug-in vehicle sales in the United States in 2018, an 81 percent increase from the year before, according to Inside EVs. Telsa was responsible for over 50 percent of those sales, with Chevrolet in second. That was still less than 2 percent of overall U.S. auto sales in 2018.
Some automotive analysts project that electric vehicle sales will grow rapidly as more automakers, such as Volkswagen, General Motors, Hyundai and Ford, electrify a larger portion of their lineups. A study by the Edison Electric Institute and the Institute for Electric Innovation forecasted that 2 million electric vehicles will be on the road by early 2021, and that number will exceed 18 million by 2030. There were 1 million electric vehicles on the road at the end of 2018.
“We need to move more to electric vehicles,” Levine Cava said. “It’s good for the environment. It reduces our carbon footprint. More people are interested in electric charging and the more infrastructure we have, the better.”
One of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle adoption is the lack of charging stations. For people who live in complexes or towers, it’s hard to have a charging station installed in a parking area they don’t own. Mandating charging stations would give many more people the option to purchase an electric vehicle.
The lack of charging stations is also an issue in office buildings and business parks, where some employees might want to plug in their vehicles while they’re at work.
Initially, all projects that require nine or fewer off-street parking spaces must have at least one electric vehicle charging space or one electric vehicle-ready space, meaning full circuitry is installed so a charger could be connected at a later time. Projects with 10 or more off-street parking spaces must have at least 10 percent of their spaces ready for electric vehicle charging.
By Jan. 1, 2022, the requirement for the latter group would increase to 20 percent, but only after a public hearing confirms that there is enough demand from electric car users.
The ordinance doesn’t mandate that the electric vehicle-ready spaces have chargers installed, only that they be wired for a charger. However, vehicles can still charge at a lower voltage through a regular electrical outlet.
“Hopefully, it will create more excitement once the infrastructure is visible and it will be an incentive for people to think about charging up with electric cars,” Levine Cava said.
In addition, the ordinance would create official county signage for electric vehicle parking/charging spaces and establish traffic penalties for non-electric vehicles that park in them. Violators could have their vehicles towed and be subject to a non-moving violation fine.
Following the Jan. 23 vote, the ordinance must pass a committee hearing and then have another vote before the County Commission.