With extensive electrical infrastructure already in place in built-up areas, plug-in electric cars are never too far from a potential recharging source.
But retrofitting existing structures with the necessary wiring to install 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations can be complicated.
Now, California has ensured that new buildings at least will have electric-car charging in mind from the start.
The California Building Code will require all new construction to be wired for Level 2 electric-car charging stations beginning in 2015, laying the groundwork for the gradual rollout of a more pervasive charging infrastructure.
2013 Tesla Model S and 2011 Chevrolet Volt in garage; photo by George Parrott
Among other things, they require that the electrical infrastructure at new buildings and parking lots include enough capacity to support charging stations.
The rule specifies that one- and two-family dwellings have a service panel with capacity for a 40-amp circuit--enough for a 32-amp charging station--and conduit that can support wiring for an 80-amp circuit.
Parking lots with more than 100 spaces will also be required to have sufficient electrical capacity to accommodate charging stations for 3 percent of those spaces.
By ensuring that new construction comes prewired for electric-car charging, the California rule streamlines the process of installing a charging station at a later date.
2011 Chevrolet Volt plugged into Coulomb Technologies 240V wall charging unit
The estimated cost of compliance is reportedly around $50, a fraction of the cost of adding the appropriate electrical service and wiring later on.
In removing obstacles to the installation of charging stations, the California state government follows the lead of one of the state's own cities.
Palo Alto--which just happens to be the home of Tesla Motors--adopted a requirement that new homes come prewired for electric-car charging late last year.