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Palo Alto To Require Electric-Car Charger Wiring In New Homes

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2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott

2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott

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With most electric-car charging today taking place in the garages of private homes, installing a home charging station can pose a hurdle to potential buyers.

Now Palo Alto, California--the city in the center of Silicon Valley--is moving to make it easier for homeowners who want to switch to an electric car.

The city council adopted a proposal that Palo Alto's building code be changed to require that new homes come prewired for the installation of 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations.

The additional cost of adding such wiring to a house being built is only about $200, a fraction of the cost of retrofitted an older house with the appropriate electrical service and wiring.

And with the average home in Palo Alto selling for more than $1 million, that additional cost is not likely to be a deal-breaker.

The council also voted to streamline the permitting process for installing a charger in an existing home, and to develop incentives and strategies to boost the use of electric vehicles within the city.

Council members noted that a surge of demand had led to record use of the public electric-car charging stations in the city.

The vote for the package of electric-car policy changeswas 9 to 0.

Palo Alto is home to the headquarters of Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], whose Model S luxury sedans can be seen throughout the neatly manicured streets of the very, very pricey town.

It's also the site of Stanford University, whose engineers and other graduates have spawned the startup culture of Silicon Valley.

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