A California town last week agreed to require all new homes be wired support an electric car charger.
A ChargePoint electric vehicle charger is displayed during the Drive The Dream event at the Exploratorium on September 16, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Palo Alto's city council tasked a committee to create an ordinance requiring new homes be wired for EV charging stations. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Palo Alto city council voted unanimously on September 23 to require this electric vehicle accommodation in new construction, according to the Palo Alto Online.
"Because of the high concentration of electric vehicles in Palo Alto, the interest of our citizens in electric vehicles and supporting the environment and fighting climate change we believe that electric vehicles should be encouraged and supported," a memo from the mayor said, according to the news website. "Palo Alto is one of the leading cities in environmental sustainability and it is time to review or processes, ordinances, requirements and incentives for installation of EV stations throughout Palo Alto to (e)nsure that we encourage and nurture the Electric Vehicle trend."
An official ordinance for the council to adopt is still being drafted. Once drafted, it would also need to be voted on again, and just because a home is wired for an EV charger does not mean one has to be installed.
The council's Policy and Service Committee was also directed to think of other avenues to promote electric vehicles in the community, like requiring new hotels or other commercial projects install stations, according to Palo Alto Online.
"We have electric-vehicle owners who aren't able to drive their vehicles to Palo Alto because they can't charge up when they get to work," Councilman Pat Burt said, according to Palo Alto Online.
"It's incumbent for us to find out what are the obstacles to owning electric vehicles and to get rid of those obstacles," Mayor Greg Scharff said.
Here's another councilman's perspective, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News:
But at least one council member had words of caution.
"No one makes money on it. I'm wondering if in the long run we are not inhibiting the growth of popular usage of electric vehicles because we are mandating leading-edge places where this stuff is free," said Greg Schmid. "There's no incentive to create networks through our communities."
Wired reported this step being one of many to help the state reach its goal of having 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025. Wired's Damon Lavrinc wrote that wiring new homes is more cost-effective than doing so later. Although it might cost $200 to wire a home during construction for an EV charger, retrofitting a home after the fact can cost up to $1,000. And that's just the wiring -- the charging station itself is an additional cost.
Featured image via Robert Hoetink/Shutterstock.com.