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With New Electric Vehicle Requirements Added To St. Louis Codes, Local Electricians Are Ready

Close-up of an electric car charging station. Electric vehicle in a blurry background
Ivan Radic
St. Louis will see an influx of charging stations across the region in the coming years due to legislation passed this month mandating new homes and buildings, and some existing buildings, to accommodate electric-car charging stations.

Two of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases are buildings that depend on fossil fuels for heat and electricity and vehicles. NPR reports that car manufacturers are working to get more electric cars on the market by the end of the year. President Biden's administration plans to subsidize payments for electric cars if people trade in their gas-powered versions.

In St. Louis, Mayor Lyda Krewson recently signed a package of bills to prepare for an anticipated surge of electric cars. The new city ordinances require new homes and buildings, and some existing buildings, to accommodate charging stations.

One local entity playing a vital role in the electric vehicle industry is the Electrical Industry Training Center, the country’s first registered electrical training program. Ten years ago, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1 and the St. Louis chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association paired up to develop a curriculum to train workers to install charging stations. The center was part of the effort to standardize how charging stations are constructed so they work for cars across manufacturers.

Linda Little, assistant director of the Electrical Industry Training Center, explained on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air that the curriculum put St. Louis ahead of today’s electric vehicle hype.

“Ten years ago, there were a lot of discussions on trying to come up with uniform configurations, so that no matter what vehicle you decided to purchase, you would still be able to plug in and charge,” she said. “We were trying to come up with something up front, so that as things move forward, we would be ready to go and that we could keep up with any changes in the National Electrical Code.”

Little said she hopes that groundwork will put St. Louis electricians ahead of the curve for jobs installing the electric vehicle charging docks.

She added that St. Louis is one of only four cities setting a target of a 100% reduction in greenhouse gases by the year 2050.

“So we're kind of innovators in that regard,” Little said.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.