By John Upton, October 2, 2013
Tesla roadsters charging at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters.
If you build a new home in Tesla Motors’ hometown, your electrician
is going to need to wire it up for an electric vehicle charger.
The Palo Alto, Calif., City Council recently endorsed a building-code
change that would require builders to include wiring in new homes that
can easily be connected to a charger. The council also directed city
staff to figure out how to make it easier and cheaper to obtain permits
for new EV chargers.
To wire a new house for an electric vehicle charger, it costs under
$200 — a quarter of the price tag for installing a charger at an
existing home, Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff told the San Jose Mercury News.
Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd said she received a phone call from a
resident who had installed a curbside charger for public use. The
electric-bike fanatic said the charger was a big hit in his neighborhood
— but that obtaining the permit cost him hundreds of dollars. The
council also heard that a Unitarian Universalist Church paid $459 for a
permit needed to install its electric vehicle charger. Ouch. That “seems
like a lot,” Council Member Liz Kniss deadpanned.
“Let’s figure out as a council what we can do to remove the obstacles
to owning electric vehicles in Palo Alto,” Scharff said. “I think what
we really need to do is make it convenient, easy, and economical.”
The council then voted 9 to 0 to endorse the changes, and sent a memo
directing city staff to rewrite the building code and permitting rules