Rifle discusses making electronic vehicle capabilities a requirement for new homes

An electronic vehicle charging station in front of a government building in Rifle on Wednesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Electronic-vehicle charging wiring and capabilities could be a requirement for new residential construction in Rifle.

As to what kind of housing this newly-proposed requirement applies to is still up for debate following discussion at a Sept. 7 Rifle City Council meeting. Council members’ thoughts revolved mainly around requiring EV capabilities for single-family dwellings with garages. 

The proposal could apply to construction for multi-family dwellings with garages or “every new construction unit with a garage,” Rifle City Council member Clint Hostettler said.

“The garage is the safest place for them,” he said. “The garage has a one-to-two-hour firewall between the garage and the house, too.”

City council members brought up two main schools of thought behind making EV capabilities a residential requirement. One is to stay ahead of the game.

“I think it’s forward-thinking,” Hostettler said. “I don’t like to require a lot of stuff — I’m not that kind of person. But, as an electrician, I’ve done this enough in existing houses to know that it’s really a pain to go put one in later.

“I don’t want (residents) to go out and buy something off the internet (and) stick it in. That’s gonna either burn their house down or suck twice as much power as it needs to.”

Hostettler said the National Electric Code code could eventually make EV capabilities a new federal requirement, which Rifle cannot avoid. If that happens, there’s a chance residents with new dwellings would be forced to install this technology after the fact.

Carbondale and New Castle have already made adding EV capabilities a requirement for new residential construction.

The second reason to make EV capabilities a city code now and not later is to prevent residents from incurring extra costs. Anticipated costs for installing EV capabilities during construction ranges between $150-$300. Adding it in later could cost up to $1,000.

“You don’t make it a requirement, you’re gonna have people trying to put it in themselves,” Rifle City Council member Joe Carpenter said.

Rifle officials and leaders questioned whether to make the requirement concrete or implement a one-year grace period where it’s an option to install EV capabilities.

Rifle City Council member Brian Condie said a small percentage of Coloradans currently use electronic vehicles, and that residents strictly using gasoline-powered vehicles are going to complain about spending more on installing capabilities in their now Rifle homes.

“That’s why I would recommend we go optional for a year to get them used to it,” he said. “Until then, that kind of takes some of the sting out of it.”

Condie also suggested giving residents a city-funded credit for installing EV capabilities in their new homes.

The city could make EV capabilities a requirement for new residential construction as early as Jan. 1, 2023.

“$100 to $150 on a $350,000 house is reasonable,” Council member Sean Strode said.

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