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Santa Clara County Looks To Update Building Codes For Electric Cars

SANTA CLARA (KCBS)—With more electric cars driving on Bay Area roads and less charging stations than needed, Santa Clara county supervisors are looking to change local building codes as a solution.

Santa Clara supervisors are considering an ordinance requiring that homes be pre-wired for 240 volt charger stations. Supervisor Mike Wasserman said the ordinance would only apply to new homes and remodels.

“It’s for new construction which will get the amperage, the volts, the wiring, the outlet itself—all that correct from the get-go,” he said.

A typical home outlet delivers about 110 to 120 volts and second tier chargers, used for washing machines and dryers, deliver 240 volts—allowing users to charge their vehicles twice as fast.

The ordinance would also require that charging stations be installed at county parking lots. Supervisor Dave Cortese, who owns an electric car, said he supported of such a measure.

“The chargers that are across the street seem to be used pretty frequently. It certainly wouldn’t hurt my feelings if there were more on the back lot here,” he said.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the county currently has 494 chargers at public buildings and private companies.

Pre-wiring ordinances are already in place in Sunnyvale and Los Angeles. Santa Clara’s legislation, if passed, would only apply to buildings in the unincorporated area of the county but supervisors hope the ordinances would lead to more widespread changes in local building codes.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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