The city has for several years been requiring some projects that requested a zoning variance (e.g. this car dealership or this mixed-use building) to meet a higher standard: 20% EV Capable plus 5% EV Ready (i.e. charger already installed and functional). (The requirement is attached as a "Q"-condition during rezoning.) This demonstrates that builders have some experience with designing for the electrical load caused by fully 25% of all parking spots charging at full speed simultaneously. This is a significant achievement, and the City deserves kudos for working to gradually familiarize builders with EV readiness.
Yet as the LA Times reported back in 2017, filters may not be up to the job of filtering out dangerous ultrafine particles, let alone gasses like ozone, both of which have significant health risks. Meanwhile, this past summer's record-breaking run of smoggy days in LA added a sense of urgency.
Yet the difference between LA's proposal and the other cities is less stark than it at first seems, because Oakland and San Francisco only require electrical capacity to charge 20% of those cars simultaneously (either by use of an energy management system, or by limiting each space to 8 amps); see also Oakland's "Addendum to the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Cost Effectiveness Report: Scenario 4B" in the 2016 staff report. This reduces cost significantly.
In fact, LA's proposal may be slightly more ambitious than Oakland's in that respect, as it requires panel capacity to charge 25% rather than 20% of all spots at full rate simultanously.
1. EVs are getting cheaper and more popularIt may be hard to imagine, but electric vehicles have a good shot at taking over the market. Consider:
Buildings and neighborhoods without good EV parking may be at a competitive disadvantage.
- they're cheaper to drive (according to the University of Michigan and think tank Next 10), and will cost less than conventional cars by 2025 (according to Bloomberg New Energy)
- they make up 3% of all new car sales in California, growing by 30% annually
- they're projected to make up a third of the market by 2030, half of the market by 2040 and 2/3 by 2050 (according to reports by the IEA, Morgan Stanley and Wood Mackenzie)
- and, last but not least, they're more fun (according to the LA Times, Wired, the Philadelphia Tribune, and pretty much anyone who drives one)
2. They can help fix our smog problemEven with everything we're already doing, air is getting worse, not better. We had 87 straight days with ozone over the 70ppb limit this summer. Current AQMD plans don't foresee compliance until 2037, and even then, Chapter 8 of the Air Quality Management Plan says we'll need to cut NOx emissions by 62 percent over current plans. If we want clean air, we need a high degree of electrification, pronto.
2. Ask LADWPIn December 2017, LADWP's general manager David Wrigh said it's crucial "to make sure that all new construction is essentially wired so all you have to do is drive up and drop the charger there".
3. To ensure people who live in buildings with EV charging have access to itI've seen buildings with a few EV Capable spots assigned to particular units; if you didn't live in those units, you were out of luck. That suggests that low targets are ineffective at ensuring access.
4. To reduce harm from global climate changeRecent climate research indicates that achieving net zero co2 emissions by 2050 is required to meet the Paris accord's goal of no more than 2 degrees C temperature rise. It's hard to see how we could achieve that without thorough electrification, including of passenger cars. The housing units we build today will still be around by 2050, so let's build them right.
5. To meet the Mayor's announced targetsThe Mayor has issued increasingly ambitious targets for electric vehicles. Most recently, he signed on to the LA County Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap, which proposes that between 20% and 45% of all light-duty private vehicles on the road should be electric by 2028. (It's based in part on SCE's Pathway to 2030, but scaled back to 2028 to see what we can do in time for the Olympics.) A back-of-the-envelope analysis suggests that meeting those goals would require more EV parking spots than the total number of parking spots in all the new housing we're planning to build.
I'd also like to make the following suggestions: