New electric cars such as the Maya 300 need charging stations that can cost as much as $2,000 apiece. ((AP Photo/ Steve Ruark))

Vancouver developers may soon be forced to install charging stations for electric cars in new condo parking lots, despite the fact there are fewer than 10 such vehicles in use in the city.

City staff are expected to recommend to council Thursday that stations be installed in at least 10 per cent of new condo parking spaces, along with some city-owned parking lots.

Don Chandler, past president of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, says the move is essential.

"You're not going to go out and buy an electric vehicle if you don't have a place to plug it in. And Vancouver in particular is really lacking in that," said Chandler.

City staff argued it is cheaper to install the charging stations now, than to retrofit the stalls later. The cost to install the stations is estimated at $500 to $2,000 per stall.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has already voiced his support.

"Electric vehicles are being increasingly adopted around the world, and we need to be leaders in supporting them.… Making our city friendly for electric vehicle infrastructure is a major step towards becoming the world’s greenest city."

But not everyone agrees it would be money well spent.

Jeff Fisher, the deputy executive director of the Urban Development Institute, which represents developers, said it may be too early to commit to this emerging technology.

"Let's not forget, a few years ago, many people in Canada and the United States were talking about a hydrogen highway, and we haven't heard much about that. And now it appears to be electric cars," said Fisher.