The East Lansing City Council passed requirements to implement electric vehicle charging stations in new development projects and parking expansions during its four-hour meeting this week.
The requirement applies to both public and private site modifications adding at least 50 parking spaces, for which developers must install one level-two or better charger.
City officials discussed the ordinance's impact on businesses and possible exemptions to the ordinance in a planning commission meeting last month.
Matt Hagan of Hagan Realty spoke at Tuesday's meeting to convince council members to reduce the ordinance's burden on developers. He said after conversations with other real estate developers, he didn’t believe the demand for electric vehicles was present.
“Out of all of us, not one person has ever even asked about the possibility of having a charging station,” Hagan said.
Hagan said he wasn’t sure if private property owners could charge for the additional electricity usage or if the stations could be used for other purposes.
Council member Shanna Draheim said she supported the ordinance because the market share of electric vehicles is expected to grow to 30 percent by 2025, while standard combustion engines' market share is expected to fall to 40 percent by 2030, according to JP Morgan estimates.
“Part of the issue here is that market adoption is dependent on people being able to have charging stations,” Draheim said. “Transportation is our country’s largest source of emissions, and (electric vehicles) are one of the most promising ways to help reduce that.”
The council amended the ordinance so that charging stations on private property may be either restricted to private use or open to public use at the property owner’s discretion.
“Even though you’ve installed the infrastructure, you can park anybody you want in that space,” Council member Ruth Beier said.
Public stations, on the other hand, must be reserved for electric vehicles.
Mayor Pro Tem Erik Altmann said implementing the ordinance puts East Lansing on the map because electric-vehicle drivers will see available spaces in East Lansing on apps such as PlugShare.
“You need charging stations everywhere, just like you need gas stations everywhere,” Altmann said. “We are not at the bleeding edge — we aren't leading here — but the timing for this is very good."
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