Olympia committee wants the city to be 100% EV ready


Land Use and Environment Committee members are eyeing the possibility of a 100% EV (electric vehicle) readiness in all residential parking in Olympia.

"Having that goal  having access to EV charging – encourages people to make a different choice when buying their vehicle," chair Dani Madrone said in the committee meeting yesterday.

Olympia climate program manager Pamela Braff briefed the committee members on the impending implementation of the 2021 International Building Code, in which all new development will be required to put EV charging stations in residential and non-residential buildings.

The new building code will be implemented in July 2023.

"The state has a goal of by 2030, all passenger vehicles sold, registered or purchased in the Washington State will be electric. Those vehicles need to be charged. We are basically building today to accommodate the amounts of charging in the future," Braff said.

Cost of EV readiness

Braff said King County had commissioned a study on EV readiness a couple of years ago, and said it is relatively inexpensive to build an EV ready for single-family homes and duplexes than for multifamily and commercial units.

Braff noted that it is more expensive to retrofit the existing parking space to be EV ready.

Estimated cost for EV-ready parking  - labor and materials:

  • Single-family homes and duplexes - $150 to $375 per space
  • Multifamily and Commercial - $1,330 - $1,380 per space
  • Retrofitting existing parking is at least $900 to $5,000 more expensive per space

Level 2 chargers

  • Single-family homes and duplexes - $380 to $689 for a basic single-port residential charger
  • Multifamily and Commercial - $1,500 for a single-port multifamily charger with a limited interface that assigns charging to residents
  • $3,000 per port for a "smart charger" that allows improved remote control such as wait listing, and dynamic pricing

Braff said EV charging levels could also influence the cost.

  • AC Level 1 – the slowest charging, does not require specialized equipment. One hour of charging time will give a vehicle two to five miles of driving range
  • AC Level 2 – requires additional charging equipment. It requires 240-volt outlet equipment; 10-20 miles of range per hour of charging
  • DC Fast Charge – electrical source from a public station with 208 or 480V. A 20-minute charging will give a vehicle 60-80 miles of driving range

Mayor pro-tem Clark Gilman also expressed interest in the regulations for the location of the chargers and the question of parking requirements. "I think that adopting this and having people try to implement it will give us feedback about obstacles or regulations that might need to be modified."

According to Braff, shifting to an electric vehicle is part of Thurston's framework for climate mitigation action. It is also Olympia's climate action commitment.

Braff said that Thurston County's Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGE) in 2019 were 3.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MTCO2e) - about 31% of GGE came from transportation.

Olympia's commitment goal is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 and adopted the 2030 Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which reflects the city's fair share of a 50% global reduction emissions by 2030.

SBTi is an initiative of business sectors worldwide whose goal is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.


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