Skip to main content
Report this ad

See also:

Palo Alto takes electric vehicle policy forward

Electric Car charging
Electric Car charging
Michal Lenchner

The City of Palo Alto aims to become a leader in promoting electric vehicles (EVs) and has already taken steps in this direction. Last year, the city passed a regulation requiring all new single-family homes to install conduits for electrical wiring for electric vehicle charging equipment. Earlier this month, the City Council passed a similar law that applies to new hotels, multifamily developments and commercial buildings. The new ordinance mandates that the above new constructions to provide the needed circuitry for installation of electric car chargers.

In 2012 Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order directing the state officials to support and facilitate the rapid commercialization of zero-emission vehicles. The goal to put 1.5 million net-zero vehicles on California roads by 2025 applies to city and county governments. Last year, Palo Alto expanded its carbon-neutral electricity portfolio and, through various ‘green’ action, is addressing air pollution and clean air issues.

In Silicon Valley, transportation is the single major carbon-emission producer and is estimated at 45 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The City of Palo Alto council approved the ordinance by an 8-0 vote, which parcels out different requirements for the various types of new developments, including allocation of parking spots to either include charge equipment or provide the needed electrical circuity for future installations.

For example, a new multi-family residential building will need to include one charger (or one conduit for a future charger) for each housing unit. In addition, the developer will be required to install outlets, chargers or circuitry to enable at least 25 percent of guest parking spaces. New hotels in Palo Alto will be required to include charging stations at 10 percent of their parking spots and plan for electric vehicles at 30 percent of their parking spaces. Similarly, new commercial buildings will need to allocate 25 percent of their parking spaces to accommodate electric vehicles, however they will be required to install chargers at 5 percent of their parking spots. The 5% allocation of parking-spaces per station is consistent with the rule-of-thumb most Silicon Valley employers use in their planning and allocation of EV chargers for their employees and visitors.

What would this new EV promotion ordinance cost the developers?

City officials estimate that will raise the cost of construction of a new development by less than 1 percent. A 30,000-square-foot commercial building would have to spend about $7.5 million in construction costs overall and the installation of the EV charge stations is estimated to cost around $64K. For a multifamily residential development the cost is still under 1 percent. For example, construction of a 30 unit complex is estimated to generally cost about $9 million, where the chargers would add around $81K.

At the state level, the overall transportation sector contribution of GHG is estimated at 40% in California. At the same time, EV adoption is gradually growing, where about 1,000 new plug-in vehicles are sold in CA every month. Today, the total of electric plug-ins in the state is more than 12,000 vehicles. In Silicon Valley the rate is higher, with many Teslas on the roads. Palo Alto estimates that about 5 percent of the resident drivers operate an EV.


Check the City of Palo Alto Transportation website:

Palo Alto’s Carbon Neutral Portfolio:


The Electronic Auto Association (EAA) has several chapters around the San Francisco Bay Area:
I. San Francisco chapter:

Event - Marin National Drive Electric Week Celebration
September 21, 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Location: Marin Civic Center Parking Lot - 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA
For Information & Sign Up:

II. East Bay (EBEAA):

Up coming events:
1. The History of Electric Cars
In Alameda - Aug 23, 10 am to 12 pm (Noon) 
Location: Rhythmix Cultural Works, 2513 Blanding Ave, Alameda, CA
Visitors welcome, open to the public.

2. National Plug-In Day (South Shore Center)
In Alameda - Sept 27 - And more (scroll down to ‘Calendar’)

III. Silicon Valley chapter:

Report this ad