City of Palo Alto Mandates That All New Homes Come EV-Ready
Buying a new house is a stressful time, but EV owners in Palo Alto, Calif., will have one less thing to worry about: Thanks to a new mandate adopted on Monday night by the Palo Alto City Council, all new homes within the city limits now must include wiring for EV charger installation as standard, making it easier than ever for local residents to make the switch from gasoline to electric fuel.
As the Mercury News reported, support for the change in the Palo Alto City building code was unanimous, as was a change designed to streamline the process of obtaining a permit to install an EV charger.
“Let’s figure out as a council what we can do to remove the obstacles to owning electric vehicles in Palo Alto,” said Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff. “I think what we really need to do is make it convenient, easy and economical.”
As Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd explained, while the additional wiring mandated by the new building code adds around $200 to the cost of wiring a new home, it is up to four times cheaper to pre-wire the home at the point of construction than it is to wire it later. “The thing that caught me is how simple and easy and fairly inexpensive it is to rough-in the wiring,” she said.
In addition to making it mandatory for all new build properties to have wiring pre-installed for electric vehicle charging, the City Council voted to pass measures to ensure that those seeking to install an EV charging station—public or private—were charged a fair fee for the permit allowing them to do so.
At the moment, Council members admitted costs for a permit alone could run well over $450, more than half the cost of some of the domestic charging stations now on the market.
Nestled on the western shores of the San Francisco Bay, Palo Alto has a reputation for adopting pro-electric car policies, and is home to the headquarters of Tesla Motors.
Palo Alto's change in building code will compliment two bills currently passing through the Californian Senate and House, which will make it mandatory for all new multi-dwelling homes and commercial properties to have electric vehicle charging stations. New laws will also require charging networks in the state to offer interoperability similar to cellphone roaming between network, and to accept credit card payments for charging station use, rather than requiring network subscription fees.
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