EV charging stations bill appears headed for easy passage

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Paul Netusil plugs his car into an electric vehicle charing station in Hilo on Monday. Netusil is waiting for a charging station to be installed in his garage at home, but until then, he has been using public chargers.

A proposal to require owners of public parking lots to install electric vehicle chargers has been recommended for passage by a Hawaii County Council committee.

At a hearing Tuesday, the Committee on Public Works and Mass Transit discussed a bill that would require all new places of public accommodation with 50 or more parking spaces to install at least two electric vehicle charging ports.


For every 50 spaces, owners would have to install at least two 3-kilowatt Level 2 charging ports, which can generally fully recharge a dead electric vehicle within anywhere from four to 10 hours.

The required number of ports would increase with time. After 2023, properties will require four plugs per 50 parking stalls; after 2025, six plugs; and after 2029, eight plugs.

The bill doesn’t require existing properties to make such installations unless the owners seek approval from the County Planning Department for alterations to their property.

However, Hamakua Councilwoman Heather Kimball, who introduced the bill, said that parking lots with more than 100 parking spaces are required to install chargers regardless, because of a state bill passed in 2012. That bill requires all public parking lots, newly built or otherwise, to have at least one charging station per 100 spaces.

Kimball added that any charging stations installed to satisfy the requirements of the state bill count toward the requirements of the county bill. For example, the owner of a 100-stall parking lot with one charging station already installed will only need to install three more stations under the terms of the county bill.

The county bill also allows owners to substitute faster Direct Current Charging Stations for up to eight Level 2 charging ports, as long as there is still at least one Level 2 charging station in a lot. Fast Charging stations can fully recharge a vehicle in about an hour, but are also much more expensive than Level 2 stations.

Kimball introduced the bill and proposed an amended version that would incorporate recommendations from the Windward and Leeward Planning Commissions.

Those recommendations included a proviso that states charging stations are only required to be available while the business served by the parking lot is open, which is an exception for locations that lack adequate electrical infrastructure, and numerous minor language changes for the sake of clarity.

The committee voted unanimously in favor of the amended bill, with little discussion. The bill now goes to the full council for the first of two readings.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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