Saturday, February 1, 2014

New EV Charging Station Requirement for NYC Garages

The City Council has passed landmark legislation which requires all new garages and parking lots in New York City to be built EV-Ready. The charger bill, which was signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg in December, requires provisions for the installation of electric vehicle wiring for 20% of available spaces. That means each space must be embedded with at least 1-inch conduit that can support hooking up electric vehicle supply equipment to a panel with 3.1 kilowatts of capacity. Local Law 1176, is expected to create a potential for 10,000 electric vehicle stations in Manhattan.

Once you build a parking lot, retrofitting it for electric vehicle charging is incredibly expensive. One reason most chargers in store parking lots are near the entrance, aside from convenience, is that the trenching bill is far less expensive. It pays, then, to think ahead before the concrete is poured.

That’s the impetus behind a new law recently passed by the New York City Council —it requires that a minimum of 20 percent of any parking spaces in new-construction lots (or older lots being upgraded) be readied for EV charging.

That means each of these spaces must be embedded with at least 1-inch conduit that can support hooking an EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) to a panel with 3.1 kilowatts of capacity or more. The space will also have to meet the requirement to place 3.1 kW cabinet/charging stations in these dedicated spaces. Click Here to read the new legislation.

Local Law 1176 sets out the following rules:

  •     Every new parking lot or garage in NYC has to install conduit and provide the electrical capacity for future EVSEs for 20% of parking spaces
  •     Within two years, up to 2,000 parking spot are expected to be charger-ready
  •     Within five years, up to 5,000 parking spots in NYC will be charger-ready
  •     The end goal calls for 10,000 spots to be charger-ready by 2021
  •     The building code requires the conduit to be installed so that wire can be easily threaded at a later date

The new law will likely spur electric vehicle deployment in New York, which has been dragging in terms of making its streets EV-friendly.

In the past five years, 15,000 parking spaces were permitted, so the impact can be fairly large.

Similar legislation has passed in other states which mandate that 20 percent of new parking be equipped with actual charging stations, not just the prospect of it.

Although the city sets a great example with a fleet of almost 6,000 electric and hybrid cars (including 103 Chevy Volts and 37 Nissan LEAFs, served by 151 Charge Point stations), there are still only 210 registered electric vehicles in Manhattan -- compared to 591 in Westchester, and 972 in Suffolk County.

The city’s density and the premium placed on curbside real estate, makes easy-access charging difficult.

Less than 22 percent of Manhattan residents own cars, according to city data, and of them 50 percent park in assigned parking garage spaces. If you want personal driveways or garages, you have to go to Queens, Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx. Some high-end Manhattan apartment buildings, including the Solaire in Batter Park City, offer EV charging as a major asset.

Luckily, parking garages are also covered in the City Council package. When garages are built or updated, they’ll also have to prepare 20 percent of their spaces for 3.1-kilowatts or more.

According to City Council, the new law would add only $4,000 to the cost of a new parking garage, and that running conduit at the time of construction costs just five percent of the same work, as a retrofit.

The council also passed a provision creating a task force that will study how best to implement curbside charging in traffic-dense Manhattan.

Some ideas include converting the city’s thousands of outdated pay-phone booths into EV charging stations. A electric-powered food cart in Union Square Park is already running on grid power -- instead of a generator -- from a similar hook-up, and in a one-year pilot some 3,300 pounds of carbon dioxide was avoided.

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