Rifle council zaps electric vehicle hookup requirement | PostIndependent.com

Rifle council zaps electric vehicle hookup requirement

Mayor says e-vehicles ‘absurd way’ to combat climate change

Rifle City Council has pulled the plug on a proposal to require electric vehicle-capable wiring for any new construction unit with a garage.

Based on the size of the structure, adding EV capabilities is estimated to cost between $150-$300 during construction.

The proposal failed 3-1 Nov. 16. Rifle City Council member Clint Hostettler abstained from voting because he’s an electrician and worried it could be a conflict of interest.

Rifle council members Sean Strode and Chris Bornholdt were not present.

Voting against the proposal were Council Member Joe Carpenter, Mayor Pro Tem Brian Condie and Mayor Ed Green. Voting in favor of the proposal was Council Member Alicia Gresley. 

Green, Condie and Carpenter expressed that they are not yet fully sold on the idea that electric vehicles are a completely viable way to fight global warming, and that installing EV-capable wiring should ultimately be a decision left to the homebuyer.

“I’m conflicted because, to me, electric vehicles are an absurd way to think that we’re going to save the planet,” Mayor Green said. “If it’s only going to cost $150 to make their house safe, so that they don’t burn down, then it might be worth it.”

Condie said he opposes the requirement because people charging electric vehicles at home is not a safety-related issue, and the city would be overstepping its bounds.

He also said electric vehicles are not the solution to reaching “net zero” emissions globally by 2050.

“Electric vehicles are a way to reduce local carbon output,” he said. “But, electricity is one of the worst polluters of your carbon output.”

Global-warming issues aside, Gresley touched more on potential liability issues arising if the city goes on without a requirement. 

She said that including the requirement would keep developers accountable over any potential fires to arise from EV-related incidents.

“Eventually, it could be a safety-related thing because it might save your house from burning down,” she said.

Colorado River Fire Rescue Chief Leif Sackett said Tuesday there have so far been no fire incidents involving electric vehicles in Rifle.

“But, in the future we might,” he said, “as people begin buying more electric vehicles.”

Rifle City Council first began addressing EV wiring requirements in early September. Hostettler and Strode during this time expressed favor in making EV capabilities a requirement in new developments with garages.

At that meeting, Hostettler said EV capabilities could be made a federal requirement under the National Electric Code, in which Rifle cannot avoid.

Strode also noted it’s ultimately cheaper to install EV capabilities during construction as opposed to after, which according to their estimates could cost up to $1,000.

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