Electric Vehicle Ordinances

St. Louis Electric Vehicle Charger Mandates Guidance for Landowners and Developers

In January 2022, both St. Louis City and St. Louis County implemented EV Ready Ordinances (“EVOs”) requiring certain new construction and major renovation projects to include Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure. Failure to comply could result in having your building permit denied or incurring daily fines until the infrastructure is installed.

NOTE: There is also currently legislation pending the Missouri legislature which would significantly impact these ordinances – and could result in their revocation. This legislation is discussed further below.

What is an EV Ready Ordinance (“EVO”)?

Local governments across the nation have been enacting EVOs since at least 2017, with larger municipalities slower to implement EVOs until recently due to concerns that an EVO could hinder badly needed real estate development. Generally, an EVO is designed to lay the groundwork for future electric vehicle infrastructure by installing the electrical capacity at the most cost effective time: during initial build out or during major renovation.

Data suggests that it can be as much as 75% cheaper to run electricity to a parking space if it’s included in the initial design rather than trying to figure out how to route it later. In other words, it’s cheaper to run conduit and wire through dirt than it is under concrete.

While EVOs can vary somewhat by locality, an EVO generally requires commercial and/or residential builders and remodelers to install a certain minimum level of either Electric Vehicle Ready or Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment spaces to their parking infrastructure.

Electric Vehicle Ready (“EVR”) Spaces

An EVR space is not required to have the EV charging equipment pre-installed. The space only needs to have the conductors (aka wires) run to the parking space so that a 50 ampere 208/240 volt charger (commonly referred to as a “Level 2 charger”) could be installed in the future.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (“EVSE”) Spaces

In contrast, an EVSE space not only requires the conductors (wires) to be run to the space–it also requires the equipment necessary to charge an EV. Because of the expense of the charging equipment, EVOs usually require more EVR spaces to be installed than EVSE spaces.

But, by making parking spaces “EV ready” now, the intent is to both:

  • minimize the costs of running the conductors now (i.e., while major construction is already being completed); and
  • make it easier (and less expensive) to expand charging capacity in the future as electric vehicle adoption increases.

When does the EV Ready Ordinance Apply?

City of St. Louis

The City’s EVO (as set forth in Ordinances 7128471285, and 71292) applies to commercial and residential development anywhere in the City of St. Louis.


Single Family Residential Projects

Multi-Family Residential Projects

St. Louis County

The County’s EVO has two major differences: (i) it applies only to commercial development (i.e., it does not currently apply to residential construction); and (ii) it only applies in unincorporated St. Louis County. That being said, some municipalities in St. Louis County are considering implementation of similar measures. The County’s EVO was modified on March 29th to relax some of the requirements. The information below has been updated to include the modified requirements.

Additional Information

What Incentives are Available to Assist with the Costs?

Ameren Missouri is offering significant incentives for business owners and landowners seeking to install EV charging stations at businesses, multi-family residential buildings, and in publicly accessible locations. These incentives are not currently available for single-family residences.

Ameren EV Charging Station Incentives

For businesses and multi-family residential buildings, Ameren will provide $5,000 for each installed Level 2 charger with a cap of 10 chargers per property. The incentive is capped at an amount equal to 50% of the total project cost and there is a cap of $500,000 in total incentives to any owner of affiliated businesses.

What is the Impact of the Pending State Legislation on EVOs?

At the time of this writing, Missouri representative Jim Murphy has introduced legislation (House Bill 1584) that would require any local government passing an EVO to pay for all costs associated with the installation, maintenance, and operation of the EV infrastructure required by the EVOs. Because this would cause the implementation of such EVOs to be cost-prohibitive for the vast majority of municipalities, it is likely that any locality which has passed an EVO would need to quickly repeal such EVO or risk significant budgetary concerns.  It is also possible that this showdown between local and state control will result in litigation which will need to be resolved before the public knows whether these EVOs will survive.

UPDATE AS OF APRIL 6, 2022: The Missouri House of Representatives passed House Bill 1584 on March 10, 2022, and the bill is currently pending in the Missouri senate.

What Are the Emerging Legal Issues with EVOs?

While the central purpose of the EVOs in St. Louis City and County are clear, there are ambiguities and gaps in the statute that raise significant questions for impacted developers/builders. There are also a multitude of emerging issues created by these new EVOs.

  • For example, in a commercial property that is being leased to a tenant, will it be the landlord or the tenant who is responsible for the cost of installing the EV infrastructure?
    Once the equipment is installed, is the same party responsible for servicing the equipment? And who should pay for the electricity used by the charging equipment?
  • Will all tenants be required to contribute to the foregoing costs through Common Area Maintenance charges (or, in the case of multi-family residential property, through homeowners/condo association fees)?
  • Who is responsible for any injuries caused by the equipment?
  • What about potential revenue that can be generated from a charging station?
    For example, the EVOs do not prohibit the installation of charging stations that require EV owners to pay a fee for the use of the charging station. Likewise, many charging stations now allow for the owner to sell advertising on the digital display located on the charger. Does any such revenue belong solely to the landlord? Or would this be used to offset the associated expenses, thus reducing the Common Area Maintenance charges (or homeowners/condo association fees) being passed through to the tenants?

While there are many open issues that will need to play out, one thing is clear: electric vehicles continue to grow in popularity and will inevitably require a significant infrastructure upgrade to support charging. Whether EVOs are the right mechanism to implement that infrastructure, only time will tell.