Beverly Hills updates electric vehicle charging laws
BY LUKE HAROLD
Starting this year, a new state law prevents local governments from imposing restrictions on usage of electric vehicle charging stations if those stations were publicly funded.
That meant in Beverly Hills, council members had to reverse a city policy that allowed battery-only electric vehicles to use charging stations, and prohibited hybrid vehicles.
“Basically, Sacramento is imposing something on us that is forcing us to roll back our efforts to combat climate change,” Vice Mayor John Mirisch said during the council’s final meeting of 2018. “I just want that out there that we’re actually the ones taking the efforts against climate change; it’s Sacramento that’s imposing upon us rules that would roll that back.”
Mirisch, who began his one-year term as vice mayor last spring with a scathing rebuke against state government over any law that inhibits local control, was the council’s only vote against the new policy.
There are 34 publicly available electric vehicle charging stations in Beverly Hills that are operated by the city. According to city staff, 18 of them are subject to the new state law, but the updated city policy will apply to all charging stations.
The new state law, SB 1000, was authored by former state Sen. Ricardo Lara, who will step down following his election as California insurance commissioner. Beverly Hills Mayor Julian Gold wrote a letter to Lara in July asking him to reconsider.
“The state must expand its EV charging infrastructure in a manner that does not sacrifice local control,” Gold wrote. “The state is ill-equipped to mandate what constitutes appropriate use of publicly accessible charging stations since electric vehicle adoption and usage varies widely between different counties, and even between different cities in the same county.
After the bill was approved by the Assembly and Senate, Gold addressed another letter to Gov. Jerry Brown in September urging a veto. Assemblyman Richard Bloom and Sen. Ben Allen, who represent Beverly Hills in the Legislature, voted in favor of SB 1000.
In a statement issued in September, after the governor signed several of his laws aimed at protecting the environment, Lara said his intent is to increase electric and hybrid vehicle accessibility.
“That is why these bills are important,” he said. “They tell families and businesses that California is on their side as we move to a clean-air economy. If families buy an electric car, they will be able to get a sticker and find a fast-charger near them. If a business builds a new supermarket, it can access clean-air funds to help pay the cost of more efficient refrigeration. Global climate commitments are important, but what matters most is the actions California families and businesses take in the years ahead.”