Sometimes, progress comes in baby steps, tiny improvements that move a whole series of events forward. The European Union has just approved regulations requiring that an electric car charger be included in every new and renovated home and all apartment buildings starting in 2019. Why is that important? Because charging infrastructure is vital to convincing mainstream buyers to switch to an electric car.The regulations don’t specify what type of charger has to be installed. Presumably, it won’t be just a Level 1 piece of equipment, which is little more than an extension cord plugged into the nearest wall socket. On the other hand, it won’t be a 150 kW charger like the one Porsche says its upcoming Mission E can use.
The cost of installing an electric car charger when the walls are open so electricians can get at the wiring is modest — far less than hiring an electrician to do the job later when everything is buttoned up. It makes perfectly good sense to attend to something like this while a house or apartment building is going up or is being renovated.
European countries are way ahead of the US when it comes to planning for the future. The German Bundesrat last week voted to recommend a phaseout of cars with internal combustion engines by 2030. Norway and the Netherlands may phase them out sooner, as early as 2025. By contrast, the US is trying to figure out how Americans can continue to drive enormous pickup trucks and SUVs until the 22nd century. The attitude in Congress and the auto industry is that we have to preserve our freedom to drive vehicles that get 20 mpg of less in routine driving. Anything else is an assault on truth, justice, and the American way.
“This kind of market stimulus is not just positive, it is mandatory if we want to see a massive rollout of electric vehicles in the near future,” said Guillaume Berthier, head of electric car sales for Renault. “The question of how you recharge your car when you live in an apartment within a city is a very important one.”