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California’s Sustainable Transport Incentives Leave Other States in the Stone Age

California has more electric vehicles per capita than any other state in the nation, in part because policymakers seem to love them. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a whole sheaf of bills intended to hasten their adoption, and the city of Palo Alto — home to Tesla Motors — will require every new home to be wired for EV charging hardware.

The Palo Alto city council voted 9-0 in favor of a proposal that would require new single-family homes to come pre-wired for an EV charging station. It’s a nominal requirement, considering most homes already are wired for a 220-volt line — which is needed for a so-called Level 2 charging station that can charge most cars in about eight hours — because that’s the voltage needed to power a washer and dryer.

The decision came down to money (and politics, natch), with an eye toward “future-proofing” new homes for EVs. It costs just $200 to wire a new home for an EV charger, but can cost upward of $1,000 to retrofit an existing home. That’s on top of the cost of the charging station, which can run anywhere from $600 to $2,000. Not that it really matters to Palo Alto residents — the average home cost is $1.5 million.

“The thing that caught me is how simple and easy and fairly inexpensive it is to rough-in the wiring,” Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd told the San Jose Mercury News.


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