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Palo Alto embraces new laws to promote electric vehicles

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Seeking to cement Palo Alto’s position in the driver’s seat of the electric-vehicle revolution, city officials on Monday adopted a policy mandating that every new house be wired to accommodate charging stations.

The unanimous vote was part of a broader package of proposals the City Council considered Monday as part of its effort to make Palo Alto one of the nation’s leaders when it comes to electric vehicles. The discussion was prompted by a memo from Mayor Greg Scharff, Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd and Councilwoman Gail Price and by urging from the city’s electric-car enthusiasts, a small group of whom exchanged celebratory high fives at the end of the discussion.

Among them was Sven Thesen, an Evergreen Park resident who had installed a curbside station in front of his house, making Palo Alto “the first city in the nation to have a curbside residential EV ‘filling station,'” according to the memo. His experiment in giving drivers free electric charges has been a success, he told the council Monday, prompting gratitude from drivers and a feeling that he is doing “wonderful things.” He has even received three bottles of wine as gifts from Tesla drivers (estimated value: $90).

“I have lots of people come to the door and say, ‘This is great,'” Thesen said.
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