Here's an interesting development reported over at Cleantechnica last week: Apparently the European Union has just approved regulations demanding that all new and renovated homes come with an installed electric vehicle charger by 2019.
This could be a pretty big deal in terms of mass adoption of electric vehicles. One of the most interesting things I have found since I started driving a Nissan Leaf is how few people know how they operate, where to charge them, or even that they are a viable transportation option these days.
By installing EV chargers in homes during construction or renovation, this will not just make the installation process cheaper and more efficient—it will place a prominent advert for the viability of EVs in homes of people who had never considered them before. And the more people start using these chargers, the more their neighbors and friends will see the considerable advantages of electrified vehicles.
That said, I have some reservations too. As Lloyd has reported on the impending carmageddon, electric cars do not rid us of many of the downsides of ubiquitous car culture. Is there a danger that mandating EV chargers in new homes will lock us in to a car dependent culture, even in communities where other alternatives might be preferable? Would it be possible for developers who take other measures to promote walkability/bike-friendly neighborhoods to get an exemption from these regulations? Or—as I suspect may be the case—are electric cars and a less car dependent culture not exactly mutually exclusive? After all, assuming that we also put money into bike lanes, mixed use communities, telecommuting, transit and other cleaner options—many people will choose to walk, bike, carshare or stay home, regardless of whether they have a charger in their home.