For many drivers, a home charging station is necessary to make electric-car ownership feasible.
For people who don't own a home in which to install a charging station, that can be a problem.
California has now made life a little easier for plug-in electric-car drivers who rent apartments, condos, and homes, though.
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Assembly Bill 2565 would give tenants the right to install an electric-car charging station at their residence, provided the tenant submits a written request to the landlord and pays for the installation costs.
Once the station is installed, the cost of charging will be added to an electric-car owner's rent, along with any costs associated with maintaining or repairing the hardware.
2013 Tesla Model S and 2011 Chevrolet Volt in garage; photo by George Parrott
Buildings that don't provide parking, or that have fewer than five spaces, are exempt from the charging requirement.
If the building already provides charging stations for at least 10 percent of its parking spaces, it needn't honor individual requests for installation on top of that. Rent-controlled apartments are exempt from the requirement as well.
Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign the bill into law. If he does, it will help electric-car owners negotiate with property management.
As well as clarifying the legality of installing a charging station at a condo, apartment building, or other multiple-unit dwelling, the bill could reduce a current source of friction between landlords and tenants.
Making the tenant clearly responsible for the costs associated with a charging station could allay concerns from landlords or homeowner associations that the electric-car driver is "stealing" resources, including the electricity used to charge a car.
Overnight charging is the primary method of charging for most electric-car owners; removing obstacles to allowing renters that same opportunity will almost certainly increase the appeal of electric cars in California.