New Mexico’s Debates Requiring EV Chargers in Construction – Two Questions to Consider

The State of New Mexico is considering a new rule that would require EV chargers to be installed in new construction. 

Policymakers in New Mexico are considering a change to the state code, which would require EV infrastructure in new construction. The current draft amendment would require developers to set aside between 1 and 20 percent of parking for EV charging. The ratio is dependent on the project type. Similar legislation the state is considering mirrors an approach Maryland legislators debated during the 2023 legislative session, which would require infrastructure that would support the later instillation of EV chargers. As the pace toward electrification quickens, policy solutions like this leave open several interesting questions.

Major Policy Questions

Fire Suppression

One of the biggest questions around EVs and the expansion of EV infrastructure is how to continue rolling out this technology while also responding to the inherent safety risks. Battery fires are known to be scales of magnitude more destructive than internal combustion engine (ICE) fires. Often, developers are placing rows of EV charges next to each other, concentrating multiple potentially hazardous fire risks. As more Americans adopt EVs, policymakers at all levels need to be more cognizant of worst-case scenario risks, and be more proactive about adopting mitigation measures at the front end of the rollout.

Cost of Development

It is no secret that there is a national housing crisis. For a myriad of reasons, housing development has been unable to keep pace with the demand. There is validity in asking if now is the right time to require additional costs for the development of new housing stock. Multiple things can be true at once: we need more EVs to fight climate change, and we also need more housing for our citizens. While it may not be entirely clear on there surface, this policy somewhat pits two equally true and pressing priorities against one another.

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