Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

If You Build A House In Palo Alto, You'll Now Need To Be Ready For An EV

The California city is home to Tesla. It's also the first to write electric vehicle standards into building code.

If You Build A House In Palo Alto, You'll Now Need To Be Ready For An EV

[Image: Flickr user Vestman]

With five times more public charging points than any other state, a third of the vehicles, and a slew of helpful state programs, California is already a leader in electrified transportation. Now, one of its cities is raising the bar further by mandating that new homes are built with their own EV charging equipment.

This week, Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley, agreed to pass an ordinance requiring new residential construction to be pre-wired for 240-volt "level 2" charging. In doing so, it became the first city to make electric vehicles part of a building code, setting a precedent for others. The City Council said it wants to make charging easier for residents who often struggle to find spaces at public sites. That includes employees of Tesla, which is based in the city.

While some people are bound to resent the government telling them what to do—especially as there are only about 130,000 EVs in the entire country—pre-wiring makes financial sense. Palo Alto estimates that hooking up circuitry during construction costs $200, or four times less than retrofitting it after. So the government is actually saving people money who do decide to go the electric route.

Meanwhile, Jerry Brown, California's governor, recently signed more EV incentive initiatives into law. They include a bill to develop charging standards for multi-family buildings, and another that standardizes access to public charging points and makes them easier to locate. If electric vehicles are going to make it anywhere, it's going to be the Golden State.