- The Seattle City Council has passed a measure requiring all new buildings with off-street parking like garages to have electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, according to a statement from Mayor Jenny Durkan.
- Under the policy, individual residences built with private parking must have at least one space with wiring and outlets to be "EV-ready." Multi-family residences with shared parking must have 20% of their spaces be EV-ready, and non-residential buildings will need at least 10% of parking to be EV-ready.
- "It is significantly more cost efficient to include EV infrastructure in construction from the start," said Durkan, who proposed the measure in February. "Our actions to reduce emissions from transportation will help create a healthier and more just city."
Seattle’s Department of Construction & Inspections estimates that the new requirements will lead to thousands of new EV-ready spaces each year, a major step in the city’s campaign to put more EVs on the road. Durkan has proposed electrifying the municipal fleet and turning more for-hire fleets over to clean vehicles as part of her proposed Seattle Climate Action Plan, which seeks to make the city carbon neutral by 2050. West Coast states have also been investing in EV chargers as part of the "West Coast Green Highway" initiative.
A lack of charging infrastructure is one of the major barriers to EV deployment, and installing new chargers after construction can be costly for car buyers and business owners. That’s why cities like Atlanta and New York have passed their own EV readiness requirements. There’s also been increasing research into more innovative possibilities, like installing street-side chargers into light poles or deploying remote trailers to charge cars, bikes and scooters.
News site MyNorthwest reports that Durkan is still facing criticism from some green advocates, who say that her administration should be doing more to promote biking and mass transit, instead of focusing on electric vehicles. Advocates have been especially concerned about the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, which proposed a smaller network of bike lanes than expected.