Silicon Valley City: Electric Vehicle Chargers Now Mandatory in New Homes

electric_vehicle_charging_stations_Palo_Alto_DOT_resizeRemember when being able to purchase a house with a brand-new gizmo called a built-in dishwasher was the sign that you had finally made it?

Probably not. But if the city of Palo Alto has anything to say about housing trends, electric vehicle chargers will eventually be as common as the dishwasher – in its neighborhoods, at least.

The city, which is home to Stanford University and major tech companies like Tesla Motors, is requiring that all future homes construction include an electric vehicle (EV) charger. The council is also mulling over the possibility of requiring commercial facilities to have charging stations to offset the needs of visitors and tourists. According to the city council, which approved the measure unanimously, the decision to require chargers in new homes was a no-brainer: it just made good sense for local home owners.

Local resident Sven Thesen apparently agrees. Thesen had installed a electric vehicle charger in front of his house for his neighbors to use on their way to work. His community service he said, made Palo Alto “the first city in the nation to have a curbside residential EV filling station.”

It’s worth asking though, whether the city council’s decision to spread the electricity is a gesture of generosity and green thinking, or a desire to encourage more brisk business for California’s most famous EV manufacturer?

I suspect it is a bit of both. Council member Pat Burt noted that in some cases, workers who live outside of Palo Alto are being prevented from driving their EVs to work because of a lack of charging stations in the area. That can be a problem for a city that sees itself aligned with a cutting-edge sustainable market.

Tesla_charging_station_with_solar_collector_JusdafaxInstalling chargers in new homes is also in line with current thinking in Sacramento, where Governor Jerry Brown just signed a couple of bills that will help increase access to electric chargers throughout California.

Palo Alto’s move to add chargers to new homes probably won’t make much of a dent in local pocket books, either – certainly not the way the dishwasher did some 40 years ago. The average house in Palo Alto already tops $1.5 million in America’s fifth most expensive city  (2012) and median household earnings are comfortably above the $100,000 mark. Paying a bit more for one’s own built-in electric vehicle charger probably won’t make a difference to Palo Alto homeowners, but it certainly sets a contemporary benchmark for future sustainable housing markets in other parts of the nation.

Universal charging station symbol courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation

Tesla public charging station with solar collector –  image courtesy of Justdafax

Jan Lee

Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.

Leave a Reply