Illinois SB40 Mandates EV Ready Residential Housing

Starting January 1st, 2024 new residential housing will need to include the infrastructure necessary to enable owners to easily add Level 2 (L2) EV charging (SB40). That’s true for single, and multi family housing. I think that’s great. Not everyone in the state is on board with that approach though. Which is how we get to this post :).

I understand the hesitancy to actually install EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment, aka chargers) in every residential parking space. That’s expensive, and given the market share of EVs in Illinois, unnecessary. Although, I suspect that I would have far fewer conversations with local EV owners in Geneseo, IL while they DC fast charged their ID.4s if they had L2 at home. I also suspect that we’d get faster EV adoption if there were already an EVSE in their home parking spot. But, again I think it’s totally fine. If this was a law when our current house was built, it would have been easy to add a charger to the garage. We didn’t end up doing that because we were quoted $8,000 to trench out there under the driveway. It just didn’t make sense.

Installing that conduit when the house was built (circa 2012) would have added a couple hundred bucks to the BOM, so effectively nothing. The previous owner spent more than that on single light fixtures. But I completely understand why she didn’t ask for it. In 2012 EV sucked. No one wanted one, and climate change was still something that only weirdos whined about. We’ve come along way :). We still have a lot to learn, and we’re not very good at building for the future. This article is a great example.

Illinois home builder Dean Graven said changes were made to reduce costs.

“We have to put in a conduit or a pipe from the breaker box to one location in the garage,” Graven told The Center Square. “Teslas take 240 [volt], and other cars are 180, and if you get the cheapest electric car, you can plug into a 110 outlet. We got away from putting in something expensive that would cost thousands of dollars versus just a conduit system.”

There’s some good quotes in it, but this one struck me because it is so, incredibly, wrong. Illinois home builder Dean Graven doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It surprises me that anyone in the trades would be this ignorant about basic electrical principles. In the US, where Illinois is located, we use a  240V (2x120V) electrical system for single-family homes. Some multi-family housing is 208V (2x120V, weird huh?). Notice how there’s no 180V in there? Mixing 240V and 110V in a single sentence is also strange. 110V is acceptable at the receptacle because of ±10% tolerances from 120V US spec, but mixing all that up in a single thought makes my brain hurt.

More importantly, if a Level 1 (120V) only EV is on sale today, I’m not aware of it. If it exists, you don’t want it. L2 makes owning an EV awesome. Every EV that does L2 does it at 240V nominal (208V is also totally fine), there’s no 180V EV or EVSE. That’s not in spec for the US electrical system.

Anyway, all of that is a long way of saying, I think it’s great that we’re planning for an EV future in Illinois. Also, I learned where Monmouth, IL was (and that it existed) and there are people building houses in IL, that I wouldn’t want to build my house. Maybe we shouldn’t ask them what they think of the future?

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