Chicago City Council Approves Ordinance to Increase Chicago's Electric Vehicle Readiness Citywide

April 24, 2020

Ordinance accounts for increase in electric vehicle ownership and will deliver cost savings

Mayor’s Press Office     312.744.3334

CHICAGO --- Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago City Council today passed an ordinance that requires all new construction of residential buildings, with five or more units, and onsite parking and commercial properties, with 30 or more parking spaces, to have 20% of any supplied parking spaces Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) ready. Additionally, for all applicable properties, at least one of the EVSE-ready spaces must be accessible to people with disabilities.

“I am pleased to see the City taking another step toward becoming more environmentally sound through increasing the ease and accessibility for Chicago residents to own and operate Electric Vehicles,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “Having more electric vehicles and fewer gas-powered vehicles on our streets, will help move Chicago closer toward meeting its ambitious climate goals in the years to come – making Chicago a cleaner city for all who live and work here."

This ordinance was developed in response to the rapidly increasing rate of Electric Vehicle (EV) sales throughout the United States. It is currently estimated that by 2040, 55% of all new car sales will be EV’s. And, in a recent survey, 16% of Americans committed to purchasing an EV as their next vehicle. Finally, in the next six years, the cost of an EV is projected to be equal to the cost of a fossil-fuel vehicle.

“I am proud to have partnered with Mayor Lightfoot to pass this important ordinance today. As the cost of EV’s decline and concerns about climate change escalate, analysts forecast exponential growth in EV’s over the next two decades, and Chicago must be ready,” said 42ndWard Ald. Brendan Reilly, chief sponsor of the measure. “Readiness starts by ensuring our municipal code anticipates the need for electrical charging resources that will optimize the performance our transportation network and minimize costs for electricity consumers, as EV’s proliferate.”

This ordinance provides many citywide benefits which include reducing future costs for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment installation, which are at least six times lower compared to retrofitting costs. Additionally, this ordinance will allow future owners or tenants to more easily install EVSE when desired and will also encourage EV sales as the vehicles will be more easily accommodated. Finally, many buildings currently being constructed will be in service when EV’s are projected to be a much larger part of the market share, making it more convenient for everyone to own, rent and drive Electric Vehicles.

“Finding innovative methods to improve transportation is one of the top priorities of the Department of Transportation,” said Commissioner Gia Biagi. “I am pleased to see the Chicago City Council’s vote to pass implementation of this forward-looking approach to transportation technologies, as we continue to see data supporting the increase in EV ownership.”

Earlier this month, the City released the Chicago Commercial Electric Vehicle Readiness Guidelines which was developed with the support of the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition. The report was intended to inform commercial developers planning to incorporate electric vehicle infrastructure readiness into a project. These guidelines were set forth in an effort to account for the quickly evolving nature of transportation technologies, and how EV’s are reshaping the transportation landscape. EVs have demonstrable benefits including improving air quality and reducing noise pollution associated with traditional internal combustion engines and can save money in the long-term, even with higher upfront costs.

This comes after Mayor Lightfoot has made commitments to making Chicago a more environmentally friendly city. Chicago has already demonstrated great progress toward reaching its goals of 100% renewable energy for all municipal buildings by 2025 and all city buildings by 2035. Earlier this year, the City also released information demonstrating progress made toward its Greenhouse Gas Emission reduction goals. The administration remains committed to working with a wide variety of stakeholders to meet its robust environmental goals.

Chicago is one of 25 cities selected to participate in the American Cities Climate Challenge, an effort that helps cities take strong action to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change and impacts public health. As part of the challenge, Chicago has pledged to taking bold actions to reduce emissions from its building and transportation sectors. The Lightfoot administration is underway with collaborative efforts to develop and enact equitable strategies to achieve Chicago’s climate goals.

News Release Facts