As the number of people using electric cars across the U.S. continues to grow, one problem which some households are encountering is the access to recharging stations, use of neighbourhood charging outlets, and surprisingly, whether they can park their vehicles in their garage. This is a problem which Linda Campbell from downtown Denver experienced when her Home Owners Association (HOA) representative stepped forward.
Lack of legislation
The reality is that many HOAs around the U.S. are struggling to cope with the increased usage of electric vehicles and the impact this may have on their neighbourhood. While Linda Campbell was initially stopped from parking her vehicle in her garage because of safety concerns, this ruling was overturned when an attorney stepped forward to confirm there was more chance of a gasoline vehicle exploding than an electric one.
Interestingly, despite the fact that electric vehicles have been around for some time now, there is very little in the way of actual physical legislation which guides the creation and usage of recharging points. The HOA in question, in downtown Denver, expressed concern that there were no guidelines offering assistance with regards to using local plug-in recharging points and the storage of electric vehicles. This situation should change over the next year or so with two Denver Democrat senators stepping forward with new legislation.
The authorities are very keen not to make it mandatory for HOAs and other such associations to supply electric charging points at their own cost. One idea being floated around local government is a "fuel infrastructure tax credit" which would effectively incentivise various associations to increase the amount of recharging stations in their vicinity. This would be a useful way in which to encourage expansion of the recharging network, which would ultimately benefit all electric car users.
There are few U.S. states that have such specific legislation at this moment in time, although in Hawaii, for example, a car park with 100 spaces must offer one space specifically for electric vehicles. This is obviously assisting with the general use of electric vehicles in places such as Hawaii, and ultimately assisting the environment.
Why is legislation so far behind the use of electric vehicles?
From a distance it seems many governments around the world have been caught somewhat offguard by the ever-increasing demand for electric vehicles and recharging points. In reality this is probably far from the truth because governments have been aware for many years now that a momentum is building, which will inevitably lead to new legislation.
Perhaps the ongoing economic downturn across the U.S. and around the world has taken government eyes of the electric vehicle ball? Perhaps many governments around the world had wrongly assumed that the electric vehicle revolution would fall flat?
While from an electric car owners point of view, the introduction of legislation may seem somewhat cumbersome, the fact is that it is needed to guide groups such as Home Owners Associations in relation to their future obligations and liabilities. There is nothing wrong in erring on the side of caution while legislation is brought in because ultimately, if anything was to go wrong, they would be the first to suffer.
There needs to be guidance with regards to state legislation and national legislation across the U.S. and other countries around the world, and hopefully over the next couple of years we will see significant movement in this area. It will be interesting to see what kind of obligations are passed over to associations and individuals around the U.S. and whether indeed governments around the world can afford to increase financial subsidies at this point of the economic cycle.