Palo Alto, home to tech giants such as Hewlett-Packard (HP), VMware, Skype, and well, Tesla Motors started the ball rolling when it required that new houses be wired to allow plug-ins. After all, the city is the headquarters of the iconic electric vehicle maker. It looks that the idea has caught on and the whole state of California is now revising its building code so that all new houses and parking lots are equipped with electrical systems that can handle EV charging.
Sure, at first glance it doesn’t seem necessary. After all don’t we simply pass by a station to fuel up our gas guzzlers? On second thought, we don’t leave our cars overnight at the gas station to load up, don’t we?
The nice thing is that it’s targeting new construction. When building a new house, it’s estimated that the cost of wiring it for plug-ins costs around $50 to $200 for wires rated at 240V/40A, usually gauge #6 or thicker. Although this doesn’t allow you to charge as fast as a Supercharger station, it’s fast enough for a quick drive out for Chinese after getting home from the office and finding no food at home. Also, these rules don’t just apply to single-detached units, parking lots and multi-family housing are also covered by these rules. This means that even those who live in condos or apartments can go EV even if they don’t have a private garage where they can recharge their vehicle.
This new building code is expected to take effect in 2015-2016. Forward looking developers and home buyers need not wait until then, though. Hopefully other states and even countries will follow suit so that we need not worry where to charge the car when we go on an interstate trip.