Albuquerque considers requiring EV chargers in new developments

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There is a nationwide push to make the change to electric vehicles – but in Albuquerque, some folks are still reluctant, while others want to go full steam ahead.

There is a proposed change to the city’s energy code that the Construction Industries Division says will make EVs more accessible. Many business owners are against the change.

The proposal would require all new construction projects in town to include EV chargers in their parking lots. But opponents say there aren’t enough electric vehicle owners to justify this requirement.

When KOB 4 talked to drivers, they said they are reluctant to buy electric cars because of the lack of chargers and infrastructure. So, it’s a classic chicken or the egg problem – what needs to come first?

New construction projects are popping up all across town – some new apartments, others are retail. But if the city’s Construction Industries Division gets their way all of these construction sites would also need to add electric vehicle charging stations.

“The scope is pretty broad. It’s banks, schools, grocery stores, hospitals, apartments, and we oppose that mandate, because first, it is not funded and then secondly, also the demand is not there,” Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Board Member Peter Lorez said.

First, let’s look at the cost. According to the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, a single electric charger can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $18,000. Plus the bigger the project, the more chargers that would be required. For example, an apartment with 300 units will require 60 EVSE stations, 15 EV-ready spaces, and 150 EV-capable spaces.

The chamber also estimates only 1% of cars owned by New Mexicans are electric. So, they don’t believe there is a demand for all these charging stations. But when you ask drivers why they don’t have an electric car – they often cite a lack of infrastructure.

“There is not always electric charging stations everywhere like gas stations,” Albuquerque driver Joshua Robinson said.

“When you see somebody using a gas generator to charge an electric vehicle you wonder about can it be used in all applications you would like it to,” Julia Snowden added.

The Construction Industries Division updates its energy code every three years. While the chamber says they don’t support this mandate now, they could change their mind down the road.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of push to provide incentives for people to buy electric vehicles. But we will have to see what that looks like for New Mexico. It may be in three years. It may be a little bit later,” Lorenz said.

The Construction Industries Division will be holding 30 days of public comment to see what folks think about their proposed EV charger mandate. They will make the final decision at the end of November. If it passes, it will go into effect next July.