Electric-vehicle charging stations. They may not just for the landed gentry anymore. At least in the Golden State.

California lawmakers have passed a bill that would enable residential and commercial tenants to install electric-vehicle charging stations, provided that they foot the bill, according to Charged EVs. If passed into a law, Assembly Bill 2565 would make it harder for landlords to enact lease provisions that would prevent tenants from buying and installing such stations. Governor Brown has until the end of September to sign the bill, and there's another EV-friendly bill crossing his desk as well, the Charge Ahead California Initiative (State Bill 1275).

Green vehicle advocates like ChargePoint chief technology officer Richard Lowenthal have been lobbying for California lawmakers to pass laws that will help speed up EV charging station deployment. Lowenthal, in an op-ed in Capitol Weekly, estimated that the ratio of EVs to charging ports grew to eight-to-one from seven-to-one during last year alone. That's good, but the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the state will require at least one million charging stations by the end of the decade, while state lawmakers continue to cling to its goal of having 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles on California's roads by 2025.

For those keeping track, California is home to about 1,900 publicly accessible charging stations with about 5,400 charging outlets, according to the US Department of Energy. More than one in five US charging stations are in California.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Months Ago
      I'm thinking bigger. I'm trying to convince my new landlord to let us (Tesla and myself) install a Supercharger.
        paulywesterberg
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Overkill for an a appartment/condo complex when 20 High Power Wall Connectors would be cheaper and offer service to more people who will mostly charge at night.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Months Ago
          @paulywesterberg
          My property is zoned commercial and is just off a major N/S Interstate. The Supercharger isn't for me.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 3 Months Ago
      That's weird. A law that allows me to modify someone else's property? Cool for renters, possibly a problem for landlords.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        It won't be so simplistic or general. The tenant won't be able to just decide everything and start construction. There will likely be a standard which only state certified EVSE installers could do it... and the tenant gets the bill, while the landlord will benefit from the permanent equipment and wiring. Even if the EVSE itself can be taken by the tenant after the lease, the next tenant would be able plug and play. This is good for the landlords too. If the law requires licensed electricians with their own liability insurance to do the install... this will ADD value to the property, and at the expense of the tenant.
          Nick Kordich
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @Joeviocoe Good find - that does seem to cover everything. In fact, it seems like more protection against the fickleness of HOAs than homeowners receive on many other matters.
          Nick Kordich
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @Joeviocoe - "People are allowed to own any car they want and park it in front of the building. No HOA or landlord is allowed to discriminate based on the aesthetics of the driveway or the street." I don't think that's actually the case. HOAs on public streets have much less control over the streets, but HOAs can exert significant petty dictatorial powers over parking on the private streets or even your own driveway. In fact, according to the California HOA association (emphasis added): "In an unpublished decision written by the California Court of Appeal in 1978, the court found that the association had the authority to enforce its own parking rules in *public* streets if the CC&R’s stated that the Association had this authority." http://www.calassoc-hoa.com/Homeowners-Association/General-Information/Parking-Rules.aspx Arizona just passed a law that limits the powers of HOAs enforcing their parking regulations on public streets - but only for new HOAs, apparently, and not private streets: http://www.azcentral.com/community/glendale/articles/20130424law-limits-future-hoas-control-parking.html Based on what I'm seeing, it sounds perfectly plausible that you could have a homeowners association for 1950s-styled mid-century modern homes that insist in its CC&Rs that you can only park cars that are period-appropriate in front of your home, whether on the street or in your driveway, including visitors to your home. I don't recall reading anything about the aesthetics of cars (or EVSEs) when it comes to the CC&Rs - it's been more blanket statements about how many cars, whether or not things are allowed at all, etc., but given the broad powers HOAs have concerning aesthetics, I don't see that they'd actually be blocked from aesthetic rules concerning parking, if they're written into the CC&Rs. Does anyone have experience with HOA CC&Rs regarding parking, vintage cars, or EVSE installations? I've never been a fan of HOAs, but this has me curious whether there's ever been anything like that in practice.
          Nick Kordich
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          In general it's in the landlord's interest, but where the law comes into play is when it is not. I can see a couple of causes for objections: 1. It could fill up the last slot on a breaker panel. If the landlord then wanted to expand later, this might force him to upgrade the panel, an expense not covered by the tenant as part of the cost of the EVSE's installation. 2. Historical buildings, which I expect will be the most common cause for an exemption. Aside from the appearance of the charger and any exposed conduit, the owner might be concerned about a house or apartment with an old electrical system - not just adding to the load, but preserving the original system as part of the unaltered nature of the house. 3. General unsightliness - they're not the ugliest thing a renter could do to a house, but especially if it is added outside, in the driveway in front of the house as a post or pedestal, requiring conduit, etc., I can picture it being a source of friction. There are already many laws like this, however, such as ones that allow tenants to add satellite dishes, add accessibility features for people with disabilities (both under federal laws) or anti-burglary systems (Texas and Virginia). From what I can tell, "anti-burglary" provisions usually just cover additional locks on the door, such as deadbolts, bars on sliding doors or window locks, not electronic alarms or bars on the outside of windows. Adding an EVSE may be a bigger modification than many such modifications, but widening a doorway or adding a ramp can be significant modifications to a house.
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          1) That's an easy fix... landlords worried about the 'last breaker slot' would simply fill those in now... so when the EVSE installer comes to assess the panel's capacity and offer the tenant an estimate, they would recommend the panel upgrade then. Either way, there can easily be provisions to avoid forcing the landlord to give up anything reasonable, such as space for future expansion. 2) Historical buildings have enjoyed many an Exception to local laws. They can do the same. I know LTAW lives in a historic district that would fight back against any street EV chargers too. So let them make their case. I would argue that tenant of 'historic buildings' already know that they must sacrifice for their residence by NOT being on the forefront of technology sometimes. I personally find it a bit funny that some 'historic buildings' which represent a time before the automobile... even allows any modern car to be parked in front. I guess they realized they wouldn't have any tenants if they were so strict. When EVs become more prevalent to the point where finding wealthy ICE tenants becomes harder, and current tenants die or move, they will rethink this position and try to blend progress with nostalgia. 3) Eventually EVSE makers will diversify the design to include the decor of fancier buildings. Right now, they are just trying to bring costs down and production volume up. People are allowed to own any car they want and park it in front of the building. No HOA or landlord is allowed to discriminate based on the aesthetics of the driveway or the street. The main difference between this freedom of car choice, and the proposed EVSEs is the permanence of the upgraded panel and wiring conduits. When a tenant moves, any unsightly car and EVSE will be taken with them, but the conduit and panel modifications will stay. And that is fairly easy to make safe and keep out of sight.
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          http://www.calassoc-hoa.com/Homeowners-Association/General-Information/Electric-Cars.aspx Seems like this is all addressed already in the appropriate legalese. But as I said... a specific 'historical site' that already requires their residents to abide by strict 'period specific' would naturally already have exemptions ready to go. As for blanket, or generalized, 'EVSEs are not aesthetically pleasing, therefore not allowed'... I don't think any HOA or landlord has much of a leg to stand on.
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          2WM.... I agree that we must discuss these possible problems before bad laws are passed. There are 1000 ways to make a crap law that will torpedo the intent... we should take into account all concerns here. And property owners rights should be at the top. Even though it is a sticky legal situation (just like the coming autonomous cars will be)... it is worth doing now.
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @ MTN RANGER --"Or install wireless charging" That would introduce a much bigger can of worms and eliminate the landlord's advantage since there are no standards for wireless charging and will likely not be for a while. Automakers would have to sacrifice MUCH more engineering autonomy to comply with a wireless standard that involves common placement of coils and equipment. EVs are already too expensive for automakers to push for a wireless technology that will only make it more expensive and provide relatively little convenience. J1772 was an order of magnitude easier to implement for automakers and EVSE manufacturers, and was absolutely required for EV adoption... and even that took a while. So until a standard for wireless is created, and has been tested in the marketplace for a while... don't look for landlords to invest in that. That being said... if you're looking for a small visual footprint... if they can make mailboxes to look like they belong to the original decor of a colonial style home... then an EVSE could be made to blend too.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          In my former home, it wasn't a HOA that we were dealing with. It was the city's Board of Architectural Review (BOA), and potentially also legal covenants attached to the property by previous owners (including the Historic Charleston Foundation) that place strict limits on what can and cannot be done with a house and its accessory buildings. Placing EVSEs inside a carriage house or garage wouldn't be a problem at all. Placing an EVSE at the end of a driveway on private property would probably be just fine, and as Joeviocoe mentions, it could easily be disguised. The issue I've always pointed out, it wide-scale placement of corded charges alongside the public streets, for use by the general public in a parallel parking situation - that's *not* going to happen within the historic district. Public chargers are already installed in the public parking garages, and certainly more should be added as the need for them grows. Wireless chargers, OTOH, would be a possible solution, if and when a standard exists and a need for them can be demonstrated. When enough cars have wireless charging capability, then the city may consider adding wireless charging along the streets. To the point of this article, I can say that as a renter, I've always asked the landlord's permission before making any serious modifications, like adding a 240V line for a dryer (or an EVSE). I've never had a good landlord object to a thoughtful improvement to their property, and I've often been thanked by them at the end of my tenancy for the upgrades that I've made.
          MTN RANGER
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Joeviocoe - Or install wireless charging, which is even less noticeable.
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          2WM.... I agree that we must discuss these possible problems before bad laws are passed. There are 1000 ways to make a crap law that will torpedo the intent... we should take into account all concerns here. And property owners rights should be at the top. Even though it is a sticky legal situation (just like the coming autonomous cars will be)... it is worth doing now.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          I know it's a complicated law. This is California we are talking about. Nick has some good points :) I am for property rights and also for EVs... i see how the two things could conflict. Sorry that my opinion isn't popular, but there are two sides to this in the real world.
        Rotation
        • 3 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Yeah. Much like you're allowed to put a hole in a wall to hang a picture. Not sure why you're making a big deal out of this. It even requires the renter who installs it carry liability insurance. It doesn't seem so bad on that front.
        Ryan
        • 3 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        You can mount a satellite dish for DISH or DirecTV by law. I don't see how this is any different. The renters need to have more protection from the landlords political views.
      Rotation
      • 3 Months Ago
      It doesn't address the billing at all. This is a sticky issue. In California, many parking spaces are located in places that don't allow the service at the parking spot to be easily routed to the same meter that the renter already uses. That means this charger will have to be unmetered, or else another meter added or the wires run well out of the way to get to the existing meter. This will add an unreasonable amount of cost, costs that can easily obliterate any payback the renter would see from using a plug-in car during the time they rent at that location. I think the bill should have considered the possibilities of utility-grade metering in EVSEs to allow the renter to be billed even if the EVSE is on a circuit that isn't his own. Also, personally I would have probably not indicated the renter will cover removal costs. Or at least say that the renter will not cover removal costs of the circuit. Once an EVSE goes in, I would rather the install stays to encourage other renters, instead of the landlord taking it all back out at the renter's expense.
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