Beginning January 1, 2019, a new bylaw requiring developers within the city of Vancouver to install electric vehicle chargers on every parking stall of a new multi-unit residential building will be in effect.
Vancouver City Council unanimously approved the new policy earlier this week, which provides chargers for all residents of a building at their parking stall. However, there will be no mandatory requirement for visitor stalls as the benefit to residents and stratas will not only be minimal but could also be costly.
This new 100% requirement modifies a 2009-approved policy that mandates chargers for 20% of the parking stalls in new multi-unit residential buildings, 10% in new commercial buildings, and each garage or carport for a single-family attached and detached residence.
According to City staff, the installation of a charger onto the parking stall of a new building will cost $300 per parking stall. In contrast, the cost of adding the equipment later – onto a parking stall of an existing building – is estimated to be $4,000 per stall.
“For most people, there’s the realization that it (electric vehicles) is only getting to be a smarter and smarter investment,” said Green Party councillor Adriane Carr during the meeting.
“There’s the fact that your fuel costs are minimal compared to a gas car and even a hybrid, and this technology is only improving. And also, the cost to require this now per parking stall is so much less than the cost to have to renovate later.”
Mayor Gregor Robertson also spoke on the matter, explaining that electric vehicles will be highly prevalent in the future and the city needs to jump ahead of the curve now and prepare for the new vehicle technology.
“We’re consistently and ambitiously improving our clean transportation infrastructure. I think we’re all waiting for the big tipping point with electric vehicles hitting the market with big numbers and at a more affordable cost, which feels imminent with the scaling that’s happening on the manufacturing level,” said Robertson.
“We’re going to see a massive shift and we’re so well positioned because of BC Hydro and the renewable electricity they provide. This is a great opportunity to reduce our pollution dramatically in our city and save money.”
As a part of City Council’s approval of the staff recommendations, the municipal government will also be making a $750,000 investment to install electric vehicle charging stations at various locations across the city, including at Science World, Empire Fields, South Hill Business Improvement Association, the new downtown park at the corner of Richards and Smithe streets, and three community centres at Trout Lake, Killarney, and Dunbar.
The City of Vancouver’s new residential parking stall policies now align with those of the City of Richmond, which already requires chargers for all stalls in new residential buildings. As well, some municipalities in BC also have varying charger requirements for stalls.
According to ICBC’s latest statistics, there were 2,400 electric vehicles in the Lower Mainland in 2016 – up from 310 in 2012.
The growth in electric vehicles will continue to be exponential over the coming years, based on market forecasts by Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Energy and Materials Research Group.
By 2024, SFU researchers estimate annual electric vehicle sales in the Lower Mainland could reach 9,300 to 25,000 units. Electric vehicle sales will have a market share of between 7.1% and 19% and account for 3% to 6.4% of all vehicles being used in the region.
These figures will rise even more sharply by the end of the next decade; by 2030, annual sales will range between 30,000 and 35,000 vehicles, market share will reach between 24% and 27%, and the share of all vehicles will be between 12% and 20%.
Currently, light duty passenger vehicles account for 31% of Metro Vancouver’s greenhouse gas emissions as they are predominantly fossil fuel powered.