New Mexico considers adding electric car chargers to new homes

[anvplayer video=”5165662″ station=”998122″]

SANTA FE, N.M. — A proposal at the Roundhouse, Senate Bill 77, would require every new home built in New Mexico to be equipped to handle an electric vehicle charger.

However, that’s easier said than done.

“Obviously, this is something that more and more people are going toward,” said Jack Milarch, CEO of the New Mexico Home Builders Association. “As builders, we build houses like people want them.”

Milarch said the infrastructure needed for charging electric vehicles is more complicated than a special plug on the wall.

“The standard in the industry at this point is a 50 amp circuit,” he said. “Your typical house, as the entire house, is a 200 amp circuit. So it’s a heavy-duty circuit. It has to be supported by your panel, which is your circuit breakers. It has to be supported by all the wiring all the way up the line back into the subdivision.”

Those connections to the larger power grid are also a concern.

“We actually have a number of subdivisions in Albuquerque where you probably wouldn’t be able to put these in anyway, there isn’t enough capacity in the lines in the whole system,” Milarch said.

The proposal would reportedly also force changes to the electric code, which is scheduled to be updated in two years anyway. Sen. Bill Soules, who is sponsoring the bill, said he’s more focused on the price tag.

“If you try and retrofit a home for electric charging, you’re typically cost talking about a cost of %500 to $1,500 to retrofit the home,” Soules said.

That’s compared to just about $200 to install the equipment right away.

“It just makes sense that all the homes being built now be prepared for that change without homeowners needing to retrofit at the higher cost later,” Soules said.

It’s still not clear if home builders will have to install the actual charger or just the wiring and other equipment. Soules said the electric vehicle industry is still deciding on a standardized charger.

The original proposal by Soules would have also required new homes to be equipped to handle solar panels. Milarch said that could increase new home prices by $20,000 – and he’s thankful the bill was changed to only require builders offer the equipment.

SB 77 is nearing the finish line after clearing its first House committee Thursday. It only has one more committee and a floor vote to go before reaching the governor’s desk.

The construction requirements, if approved, would not kick in until 2024 to make sure there is time to update those building codes.

Track SB 77 during the legislative session.