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Electric vehicle charging stations could be required in new residential projects

More and more electric vehicles are being driven on Minnesota roads each day, a trend that is only growing. Looking into the electrified future, the state will need more EV charging stations to accommodate the demand for power.

Rep. Lucy Rehm (DFL-Chanhassen) says a bill she sponsors, HF3439, as amended, is about “getting Minnesota ready for the dramatic growth in electric vehicles.”

Per the bill: “Single-family homes, two-family homes, and townhouses that provide on-site parking shall be required by the code to provide not less than one electric-vehicle-capable space per dwelling unit or parking space, whichever is less."

Rehm noted the bill would only affect new construction by ensuring it is made ready for electric vehicle charging and not require an electrical box standard or the installation of wiring.

“It is far more expensive to retrofit a parking garage for EV charging stations than to include such capacity when the structure is originally built,” she said.

The bill was laid over by the House Labor and Industry Finance and Policy Committee Thursday for possible inclusion in its forthcoming finance bill.

Andrew Snope, legislative and political director at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 292, said the bill would save costs and hassle for future homeowners. “We should have a way to make it easier for a future homeowner to upgrade and get that EV charger without tearing apart their home.”

But Rep. Shane Mekeland (R-Clear Lake) cautioned the bill would add additional upfront costs to building projects.

“We constantly hear about the lack of affordable housing,” he said. "Right now, there’s 3% of the population that have a need for this. So we’re going to force 97% of all those new homebuyers to bear all this cost when they may or may not need it.”

As of January 2023 more than 34,000 electric vehicles were registered in Minnesota, according to the Public Utilities Commission. The state has about 1,300 public level two chargers, which can charge a vehicle battery over several hours.

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