Missouri Reps Want To Stop Legislature That Will Force Businesses To Install EV Chargers

Electric Vehicles / 9 Comments

They argued that it infringes on the freedoms of business owners.

Missouri House committee members are fighting against a mandate that would require business owners to install electric vehicle chargers, reports the Missouri Independent (MI).

Representatives argued this would be an infringement on the freedoms held by business owners, with Republican Representative Jim Murphy stating, "we've gotten the cart before the horse in many, many ways." He added, "when we look at electric vehicles, are they the future? Maybe. Probably. But not assuredly."

The committee hearing aims to challenge legislation that would see cities and counties pay for EV chargers, and mandate businesses to install them. According to the report, even then, they would only be able to mandate five charging spots.

Rep. Murphy garnered support from lobbyists representing both fossil fuel and business interests, with both agreeing that the free market should shape the move to EVs. Lobbyists for grocery stores and other retailers said businesses should have the decision to install chargers.

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"We can't charge what it costs per hour to pay for these. It is very expensive," said David Overfelt, who testified for the Missouri Retailers Association and several other organizations.

Not everyone is on Murphy's side, though. Jack Meinzenbach, testifying on behalf of the Sierra Club, said the bill is taking power away from local governments by not allowing them to provide more chargers, especially as more affordable electric alternatives hit the market.

Meinzenbach, who drives a Tesla, says he only goes to stores, hotels, and restaurants that have EV chargers. He also noted that a grocery store in Columbia has seen an uptick in activity after installing chargers. This prompted a reply from Republican Representative Darin Chappell, who argued that this could be attributed to the free market principle.

"And those businesses that have them - they put them in at their own expense," remarked Chappell.

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But his argument extends to yet another problem. Meinzenbach said that more rural locations need assistance with regard to installing chargers. A lack of EV charging infrastructure in isolated areas will hinder the adoption of electric vehicles, he argued.

Rep. Chappell also shared that he's concerned electric vehicle chargers will change, much as technology does in the world of electronic consumables like phones and laptops. "It seems to me rather presumptuous not only to assume that electric vehicles will be the future, but that this version will be the future," he added.

Interestingly, Rep. Murphy tackled a similar issue last year, when St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis passed legislation that would require businesses to establish charging points under certain circumstances.

"What we're doing now is using building codes to push political agendas, and what this is - really it's a new green deal piece of legislation to force people into something that they really can't afford to do," said Murphy at the time.


The Republican Representative also noted that parking spaces are already "tied up" because of things like designated parking for pregnant women, curbside pickup, as well as handicap-accessible parking, reports MI.

Rep. Murphy said that adding electric vehicle charging points to parking lots may end up in conflict. "If I put in 10 or 12 or 15 more spots that have electric charging stations and that parking lot is full and you pull in in your gas-guzzling pickup truck, are you going to park in that spot anyway?" Murphy questioned. "Are there going to be fistfights?"

Whichever side you may think is right, it's worth noting that many businesses across the country are installing chargers. After all, the electric vehicle is no longer a niche product and every day, more Americans are purchasing them to commute. Luring them to your business is not only sensible but encourages the uptake of EVs.


We've seen a similar trend in the automotive world, where certain brands are requiring their dealerships to invest heavily if they want to partake in the electric future. Buick, for example, has asked retailers to invest between $300,000 - $400,000 to prepare for the move to EVs. Those who aren't interested in selling future battery-powered cars will be offered a buyout option.

Ford has even greater requirements, with dealers needing to fork out between $500,000 and $1.2 million to become participating electric vehicle dealers. Two tiers will be offered to retailers, both of which offer varying demands, with the Elite dealer having to install a set number of DC fast chargers at its facility.

If that's what it takes to sell the popular Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, we're guessing some Blue Oval dealers will be happy to make the investment.

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