EV Driver Bill of Rights



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Sunday July 29, 2018 EV Driver Bill of Rights This week I received an email from Plug-in America that talked about the introduction of resolution 117, known as the EV driver Bill of Rights, into the California Assembly.  The resolution, which is promoted by Plug-in America, was introduced by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi.  It sets out what EV Drivers should expect in both the buying experience and with charging infrastructure.


First let me be very clear on one thing, this is a resolution not a bill.  What that means is that there isn't a law being created here, just a statement on what California thinks is the correct way that EV drivers should be treated both at the dealership when they come to buy a car, and when they charge both at home and using public infrastructure. 


The resolution appears to be in process right now and has certainly changed from my first reading it a few days ago to when I looked at it today.  For those interested the full text can be found here.


Some of this is near and dear to my heart.  This resolution says that an EV driver should have the right to charge at a public or workplace charging station as long as you pay the appropriate fee.  For regular readers of my blog you will remember that I was badly impacted when the City of Beverly Hills changed their policy to only allow BEVs to use the public charging stations.  The EV Driver Bill of Rights makes it clear at the opening that it is related to any plug-in vehicle and even has a clause that says plug-in drivers are referred to as EV drivers but it is not very clear.  Unfortunately the rest of the resolution refers only to EV drivers so I'm sure that most people, including the city of Beverly Hills, will interpret this as BEV drivers, and not change their policy toward plug-in hybrids.

It does also say that EV drivers should be allowed to charge at their place of residence.  When I first read this document it said that they should be allowed to install chargers at their own expense.  I was very happy about this but the clause appears to have been dropped and now it just says they can install chargers at locations that have already been wired for charging infrastructure.  So, I have the right to charge at my apartment complex but not the right to install a charger since there is no wiring in place.

It also has clauses that say the driver should know how much it will cost to charge and how much any penalties will be for staying longer than a certain time.  For example as part of Beverly Hills draconian changes it implemented a policy that cars parked longer than 2 hours would incur a charge of $6 per hour after the initial 2 hours stay.  Such sums are good at preventing people from hogging the chargers which was certainly a problem in Beverly Hills in the past, but I really think that the charge time needs to be longer than 2 hours (between 20 and 40 miles of range on the Beverly Hills chargers).  I think the 4 hours allowed in Santa Monica is much more useful for an EV driver who needs a good charge to get home.


The section on buyers rights says that the EV buyer should have up-to-date information on the internet including sites with current government incentives.  Dealerships should have sales personnel who are able to direct them to such sites.


It also says they should have the right to know what the capacity of the battery pack is when both buying a new and used plug-in car and they should also have the right to know what to expect in terms of range per charge for the vehicle.  This is quite difficult since actual mileage varies so much depending on driver style, route, and weather.  I, for example, get less than 10 miles per charge when travelling too and from work in busy LA traffic but I can get between 11 and 12 miles per charge on longer trips with less stops an starts.  For newer vehicles the EPA sticker value gives a pretty good idea what to expect but there is nothing like that for used cars which  will probably get less than EPA miles per charge as battery capacity deminishes..


The EV Driver Bill of Rights is a feel good motion which, in my opinion, is a total waste of the time for the California Assembly.  It has no legal impact at all and as written is not likely to change anything for the plug-in driver, particularly for plug-in hybrid drivers.  In particular the use of the term EV driver instead of plug-in driver, especially in the section on charging which refers only to EV drivers (which can, and will be interpreted as pure electric drivers) means that plug-in drivers can expect nothing when it comes to charging and may lead to more sites following Beverly Hills lead in banning plug-in hybrids from public chargers.  The intent of the resolution is that EV driver means all drivers of plug-in vehicles but unless this is specified at the very top of the resolution the term is going to be read as pure electric car drivers by many.


Also keep in mind that this resolution still appears to be a work in progress so it may change again after my last reading.  The trend seems to be to remove anything remotely like teeth so I am not at all confident that it will have any more impact in later revisions.

If you want to comment on this topic, email me, but please include your Name, City and State or Country

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