Mtn. View proposes EV-friendly rules for new construction

Courtesy of City of Mountain View
A city staff report shows the growth of electric-vehicle ownership.

Mountain View’s Environmental Planning Commission last week recommended approving an ordinance that would require all new construction in the city to provide for installation of electric-vehicle chargers.

Acting on a city staff proposal, the commission recommended that any new single- or multifamily housing project install at least one EV charger. The proposal is a result of the state’s growing environmental consciousness as well as Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2012 executive order promoting mass production and use of EV vehicles, with a goal of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

“To meet this goal, it is important that facilities be readily available to provide convenient charging stations for EVs,” stated the city staff report to the commission.

“It’s just smart business to be prepared for what’s coming down the road,” said Margaret Capriles, vice chairwoman of the commission.

City officials said the ordinance “is intended to provide low-cost strategies that offer choice and savings in design for homeowners, employees and consumers wishing to purchase an EV without necessitating retroactive installation of higher-capacity electric wiring and supply equipment for charging EVs.”

Staff-compiled statistics indicate a need for such infrastructure. Santa Clara County leads the country in EV sales. According to the California Center for Sustainable Energy, there are 7.38 EVs per 1,000 people in the county, with 13,745 vehicles total as of June. Mountain View has 12.32 EVs per 1,000 residents, based on a July estimate.

City officials predict that by the end of 2015, there will be 15 EVs per 1,000 residents in Mountain View.

The proposed ordinance calls for one conduit per unit of single- or multifamily housing, to accommodate at least a 208/240-V, 50-ampere grounded AC outlet, as well as wiring with capacity to accommodate a 100-ampere circuit.

EV-ready outlets would be required on 50 percent of all non- deeded, residential parking spaces in new multifamily housing. Commissioners tweaked the percentage of EV recharging access from the staff-recommended 15 percent to 20 percent of all guest and accessible parking, and for new nonresidential construction.

Commissioners added the recommendation that the proposed rules apply to major remodels as well. The Mountain View City Council is expected to consider the ordinance in early 2016.

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