In January 2022, both St. Louis City and St. Louis County implemented EV Ready Ordinances (“EVOs”) requiring certain new construction and major renovation projects to include Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure. Failure to comply could result in having your building permit denied or incurring daily fines until the infrastructure is installed.
NOTE: There is currently legislation pending in the Missouri legislature which would significantly impact these ordinances – and could result in their revocation. This legislation is discussed further below.
Local governments across the nation have been enacting EVOs since at least 2017, with larger municipalities slower to implement EVOs until recently due to concerns that an EVO could hinder badly needed real estate development. Generally, an EVO is designed to lay the groundwork for future electric vehicle infrastructure by installing the electrical capacity at the most cost effective time: during initial build out or during major renovation.
Data suggests that it can be as much as 75% cheaper to run electricity to a parking space if it’s included in the initial design rather than trying to figure out how to route it later. In other words, it’s cheaper to run conduit and wire through dirt than it is under concrete.
While EVOs can vary somewhat by locality, an EVO generally requires commercial and/or residential builders and remodelers to install a certain minimum level of either Electric Vehicle Ready or Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment spaces to their parking infrastructure.
The County’s EVO has two major differences: (i) it applies only to commercial development (i.e., it does not currently apply to residential construction); and (ii) it only applies in unincorporated St. Louis County. That being said, some municipalities in St. Louis County are considering implementation of similar measures. The County’s EVO was modified on March 29th to relax some of the requirements. The information below has been updated to include the modified requirements.
Ameren Missouri is offering significant incentives for business owners and landowners seeking to install EV charging stations at businesses, multi-family residential buildings, and in publicly accessible locations. These incentives are not currently available for single-family residences.
For businesses and multi-family residential buildings, Ameren will provide $5,000 for each installed Level 2 charger with a cap of 10 chargers per property. The incentive is capped at an amount equal to 50% of the total project cost and there is a cap of $500,000 in total incentives to any owner of affiliated businesses.
At the time of this writing, Missouri representative Jim Murphy has introduced legislation (House Bill 1584) that would require any local government passing an EVO to pay for all costs associated with the installation, maintenance, and operation of the EV infrastructure required by the EVOs. Because this would cause the implementation of such EVOs to be cost-prohibitive for the vast majority of municipalities, it is likely that any locality which has passed an EVO would need to quickly repeal such EVO or risk significant budgetary concerns. It is also possible that this showdown between local and state control will result in litigation which will need to be resolved before the public knows whether these EVOs will survive.
While the central purpose of the EVOs in St. Louis City and County are clear, there are ambiguities and gaps in the statute that raise significant questions for impacted developers/builders. There are also a multitude of emerging issues created by these new EVOs.
While there are many open issues that will need to play out, one thing is clear: electric vehicles continue to grow in popularity and will inevitably require a significant infrastructure upgrade to support charging. Whether EVOs are the right mechanism to implement that infrastructure, only time will tell.
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