Wednesday, March 9, 2022

County proposal would mandate new homes have wiring for electric vehicle charging

Home builders in Frederick County would have to wire new properties for electric vehicle charging under a proposal County Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer plans to introduce Tuesday.

The requirement would apply to new, single-family homes, as well as townhouses and duplexes with an on-lot parking area. It wouldn’t include mobile homes, modular homes or new units without connection to public utility electric service.

Though electric vehicles don’t currently dominate county roads, Keegan-Ayer (D) said her hope is to equip homes for a gradual national shift to electric vehicles and incentivize county residents to be part of the trend.

“Why not be thinking ahead?” Keegan-Ayer said. “I see this as building for the future.”

Electric vehicle sales have risen nationwide in recent years, and 18 of the world’s top 20 vehicle manufacturers announced plans to increase production of some electric vehicles, according to a 2021 report from the International Energy Agency.

Keegan-Ayer said future homeowners in the county will save money if their properties already have the necessary wiring for electric vehicle charging.

Fitting an existing home with charging equipment can cost thousands of dollars, but according to county documents, Frederick County contractors estimated it would cost less than $1,000 to install the necessary electrical components on a new home — an expense Keegan-Ayer said would be “very minimal” over the life of a mortgage.

A number of the county’s home builders support the measure, including Joel Rensberger, who owns C.E. Resnberger & Family, Builder based in Woodsboro. His company has been installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure in homes for more than five years, so he knows that “it just isn’t that hard to do.”

“I think it’s overdue,” said Rensberger, who is also a board member for the nonprofit Frederick County Building Industry Association.

He compared it to building homes with bathtubs. Not everyone takes baths, but building a home without a tub could turn off an entire demographic of homebuyers, like families with young children. So when he builds homes, he includes bathtubs.

Rensberger said homes can last many generations, even well over a century, so they should be built with the foresight that an increasing number of potential buyers will likely own electric vehicles.

There’s a benefit for those who aren’t interested in electric vehicles too, he said. Having the necessary wiring built-in could increase a home’s value down the road and attract a future buyer who is into electric vehicles.

A state law passed in 2021 requires builders to provide buyers with the option of including an electric vehicle charging station or an electric line to support one.

Mark Lancaster, owner of Lancaster Craftsmen Builders in Middletown, said he’d prefer that Keegan-Ayer’s proposal more closely align with state law and give builders and homebuyers the option to forego the wiring.

“I think it’d be better to be more flexible with this legislation,” Lancaster said.

His worry is that buyers would have to pay a bit more for wiring they may never use.

Tom Natelli, CEO for Natelli Communities — the development company largely responsible for development in Urbana — said that giving prospective buyers the option is “worth considering,” given “there may be cases where costs are higher than anticipated,” like if a property doesn’t include a garage. Generally, though, Natelli is supportive of the measure.

“Overall, the world is moving in this direction,” Natelli said in an email. “And I agree we should be offering it to buyers.”


This article is written by Jack Hogan from The Frederick News-Post, Md. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to