Calif. City Requires Electric Car Charging Stations for New Homes

The home of Tesla Motors requires all new homes to be wired for electric cars.

ByABC News
October 2, 2013, 12:51 PM
An electric car charges at a charging station.
An electric car charges at a charging station.
Getty Images

Oct. 2, 2013 — -- Palo Alto, Calif., the home of Tesla Motors, is making headlines for requiring all new homes to be wired for electric vehicle charging stations.

Located in Silicon Valley, the city has a population of over 64,000 and has more electric cars per capita than any other city in the country, which Palo Alto's mayor proudly touts, along with the fact that the city is "carbon neutral."

"We believe electric vehicles are the future," Mayor Gregory Scharff said. "You create no greenhouse gas emissions and that's the future of automobiles."

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Last year, the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada began requiring electric car charging in certain residential buildings.

Palo Alto's planning department is expected to finalize a city ordinance in the next 90 days, at which point all new homes will be required to have wiring for charging stations. Last week, the City Council approved the new policy.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for someone to own an electric vehicle," said Scharff, who has owned an all-electric Tesla Model S for the last year.

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Scharff explains that wiring a home for an electric vehicle charging station, similar to wiring for a stove or dryer, before it is built is more affordable than retrofitting a home. Wiring a home before it is built can cost around $200 while retrofitting an older home can range from $500 to $1,000, he says.

Scharff spent about $800 wiring his home for his Tesla.

"It's a nominal cost to do it when you're building the house and more expensive as a retrofit," he said.

What's next for the city of Palo Alto and lowering emissions? Scharff said the council plans to require all commercial buildings, including office buildings, hotels and apartments, to have charging stations.

"We're coming up with a whole series of things to make the city more electric-vehicle friendly," he said.