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California giving electric car owning tenants right to install charging stations

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On Monday, the California Legislature sent Gov. Brown a law meant to ease a big electric car adoption hurdle. The law, AB-2565, which passed in the California Senate on Monday after earlier approval by the House, will require landlords of rental properties to allow tenants to install electric car charging stations, in certain circumstances, and if the tenant meets some pretty stiff requirements.

Access to electricity at home is a fundamental need for successfully owning an electric car. Charging an electric car at home means the car is always fully charged when going out, and the charging time doesn't consume your personal time. Those who cannot charge at home have to instead charge at public charging stations, making it harder to arrange ones schedule to be doing something else while charging the car.

People who rent frequently cannot arrange to have a charging station at home. The typical apartment complex is simply not designed to position ones parking space next to the apartment, making it difficult to connect electricity in the parking lot to the tenants electricity bill. Many apartment buildings have parking which simply does not have nearby electricity, or else the electricity is paid by the landlord with no way to bill the tenant. Finally, landlords are reluctant to invest in electric car charging support when tenants frequently move away anyway.

AB-2565 - Rental property: electric vehicle charging stations - would change all this. Tenants will be able to request, in writing, to install a charging station and if a number of conditions are met the landlord is require to allow the charging station installation.

With more people able to successfully own electric cars, by enabling renters to have charging stations, the electric vehicle adoption rate should increase.

However, the requirements are pretty stiff. Under AB-2565, tenants have to provide a written plan detailing the installation, use, modification, and removal of the charging station, as well as a financial analysis, and to pay for a $1 million insurance policy.

The bill has been sent to Gov. Brown's office for his signature, which he must do by Sept. 30. Gov. Brown is a strong supporter of electric vehicles and is likely to sign the bill. Assuming he does so, the bill goes into effect for leases started or renewed after July 1, 2015.

On Tuesday, ChargePoint issued this statement:

AB2565 will give tenants the right to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at their home or business if the tenant is willing to pay for the installation. Today, lease restrictions often times add financial burden or even stop tenants from installing charging stations at all. ChargePoint has worked with Assemblymember Murastuschi, prior opponents and longtime supporters in drafting AB 2565. ChargePoint’s CEO, Pasquale Romano had the following to say:

“The widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is driven by access to EV charging. AB 2565 is critical to expanding access to charging around the state, including to the more than 40% of Californians who live in multifamily housing. This bill fosters the EV industry and drives the state toward Governor Brown’s goal of 1.5 million zero emission vehicles by 2025. In addition, local economies throughout California will benefit from the employment opportunities created as the industry grows. I thank Assemblymember Muratsuchi and Senate Floor Manager Kevin de Leónfor their strong support of the EV industry, and I urge the Governor to add his signature to this legislation.”

California is the largest market for EVs in the U.S., representing over one third of national sales. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that between 1 million and 1.2 million public, workplace and residential charging stations are needed statewide by 2020. Governor Brown has until September 30 to sign AB 2565 into law.

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