Photo of plug-in electric vehicles charging

As the next generation of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and their associated charging infrastructure further penetrates the market, states face new questions about how to regulate these technologies while promoting their use.

Several states are ahead of the curve in implementing new policies and procedures that address these technologies.

Public Charging Requirements

Installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) in public areas, particularly along heavily traveled corridors and in frequently used parking areas, is helpful in solving the "chicken or egg" issue associated with electricity use in the light-duty transportation sector. For example, in accordance with House Bill 2695, Illinois state agencies must install one EVSE station at each interstate highway rest area and at each location along toll highways with motor fuel service stations and facilities, garages, stores, or restaurants. Exceptions apply.

California also has introduced additional requirements that make it easier for PEV drivers to use public-access EVSE. Senate Bill 454 prohibits EVSE service providers from charging a subscription fee or requiring a membership to use infrastructure. In addition, providers must allow two forms of payment and disclose the total charges for using EVSE at the point of sale.

Parking Restrictions for Public Charging

Once EVSE has been installed in public areas, it is important that the infrastructure be marked clearly and reserved for PEV drivers. In Washington, for example, Senate Bill 5849 requires that EVSE be marked with signage that properly identifies the station and indicates the associated parking space is reserved for PEVs.

Exemption to the Public Utility Definition

To encourage the development of EVSE further, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington passed laws in 2013 clarifying that private entities that operate EVSE are not regulated as public utilities and, therefore, can re-sell electricity used to charge a PEV without additional restrictions on the re-sale.

Charging in Multi-Unit Dwellings

The issue of how PEV drivers living in multi-unit dwellings, such as apartments and condos, will charge their vehicles has been discussed across the country. In Colorado, Senate Bill 13-126 states that a tenant may install Level 1 or Level 2 EVSE at the tenant's own expense on leased premises. The landlord may charge the tenant for the actual cost of electricity, installation, or upgrades to existing equipment.

Vehicle and Infrastructure Requirements

States also have explored ways to regulate PEVs to ensure safety and consistency between vehicles. For example, in accordance with Virginia House Bill 1944, any motor vehicle modified to replace the internal combustion engine with an electric propulsion system must be titled by and registered with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as a converted PEV.

Roadway User Fees

Because PEVs use little or no gasoline, states that rely on gasoline taxes to fund their road construction are considering other ways to collect this fee from PEV drivers. For example, Indiana House Bill 1324 requires the Indiana Interim Study Committee on Road Impact Fees to study this issue.

Utility Disclosure

Utilities around the country are working to monitor and prepare the electric grid for the added load associated with PEV residential charging. To facilitate this process, the utilities would like to be informed when new PEVs come on line in their service territory. Two states, Maryland and California, have enacted laws within the last few years allowing state DMVs to share this information with utility providers.

This is the second of three blog posts that cover 2013 state legislation related to alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. These features focus on trends in state incentives, laws, and regulations promulgated or otherwise enacted. To suggest upcoming posts, email the Clean Cities Technical Response Service.