Denver Rigs Housing Codes To Get Motorists Into Electric Cars

Andrew Follett | Energy and Science Reporter

Denver’s city council unanimously approved building codes Monday that will force new homes to support electric cars.

New single-family homes and duplexes built in Denver will be obligated to include electrical wiring that can support electric vehicle plugs in garages.

Los Angeles and several smaller cities in California are the only places in America with similar requirements. The regulation was opposed by the local home-building groups, as it will add to their costs.

The new building code will take effect in six months.

Despite enormous regulatory efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other government agencies, electric cars have failed to catch on.

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids represent less than 0.5 percent of all American vehicles sold since 2011. Market share for hybrid vehicles dropped by 15 percent in 2015 and fully-electric vehicles experienced the first year without sales growth.

Electric cars are largely unmarketable because of the expense associated with them. The price of oil would need to be above $350 a barrel to make an electric vehicle cheaper to operate than a conventional car, according to a study published last month by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The average price of a barrel of oil today is hovering around $30.

The MIT study estimates that only 12 percent of conventional power plants are green enough to support charging an electric car that leads to fewer emissions than gasoline power vehicles. 

Even though electric cars are sometimes eligible for up to a $7,500 tax credit, they are still incredibly expensive. Bloomberg projections estimate that it will take until 2040 for electric cars to cost less than $22,000.

One of the major barriers to the deployment of electric cars is a chicken v.s. egg problem in that there’s not enough charging infrastructure to get people to buy electric cars and more infrastructure can’t be built because of the small number of electric cars in use, according to a 2015 report by the National Research Council

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Tags : california colorado denver energy environmental protection agency massachusetts institute of technology national research council
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