California City Requires All New Homes Be Wired For Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf may be the future of automobiles (personally, I’m holding out for someone to create the Mr. Fusion), but one city in California’s Silicon Valley is betting on EVs by requiring that all newly built homes be wired for EV charging stations.

Last week, the City Council for Palo Alto, CA — home to Stanford University and a number of tech companies, including luxury EV maker Tesla — unanimously adopted a new policy mandating the ability to add charging stations on new homes.

“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,” one Council member said to Palo Alto Online (via TheVerge)about the need for more places to plug in.

Mayor Greg Scharff says this is all about encouraging consumers to switch away from gasoline-powered cars and to EVs.

“It’s incumbent for us to find out what are the obstacles to owning electric vehicles and to get rid of those obstacles,” Scharff explained.

The question is whether this sort of initiative will actually make any difference to consumers. Just because a private home has a charging station doesn’t mean that the owner of the house will buy or use an EV, or that the owner will allow EV users to charge up. This is why the Council is also considering adding charging station requirements for new commercial construction like hotels.

Ultimately, two things need to happen before there is widespread adoption of EVs: driving distances on a single charge that are comparable to what gas-powered cars achieve on a single tank, and the ability to plug in, not to a special charging station, but to any standard outdoor outlet.

When drivers can make the same trips they make today, without having to make a mad scramble for a charging station in an unknown location, two of the largest objections to EV ownership will have been removed.

All this talk of electric vehicles replacing gas guzzlers has me humming Rush’s “Red Barchetta”…

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.