Electric Vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity in Palo Alto as owning, charging, and driving an EV in the region has become easier and convenient. Learn more through the City of Palo Alto Utilities' (CPAU) frequently asked questions.
1. Does CPAU provide rebates for residents that purchase or lease an electric vehicle?
No. CPAU does not provide any rebates for purchasing or leasing electric vehicles (EVs). Check the State of California's Drive Clean website to learn whether state or federal incentives may apply to your EV purchase.
2. Does CPAU provide rebates for residents that install EV Chargers in their home?
No, at this time CPAU is not offering EV Charger rebates for homeowners. However, check the State of California's Drive Clean website to learn whether state or federal incentives may apply to your EV Charger purchase. Federal tax credits may also be available.
3. Does CPAU provide rebates for businesses or organizations that install EV Chargers?
Yes, but only for eligible facilities. With CPAU's EV Charger Rebate, eligible schools, non-profits, multifamily and mixed use facilities can receive up to $30,000 per year in rebates for installing EV Chargers. See the EV Charger Rebate page for Eligibility Requirements, Terms & Conditions, and more.
4. What do I need to consider before purchasing & installing an EV Charger at home?
In order to install a home EV Charger, a permit from the City of Palo Alto is required. Follow the steps outlined on the EV Chargers for Home page.
5. Are EV rates or Time-of-Use (TOU) rates available to me?
No, at this time an EV or TOU rate plan is not available. All residential customers pay for their electricity at the E-1 rate. Any new CPAU rate options, programs, or adjustments are publicized through the Residential Rates page. Please note that CPAU's average electricity rate is still much lower than the average rates in neighboring communities with a TOU rate plan.
CPAU has a pilot program called Customer Connect that installed advanced meters for participating residents with the option to enroll in a pilot TOU rate plan. However, we are no longer accepting new applicants as all participant slots have been reserved. If you'd like to be included in our mailing list to receive updates on EV-related rebates, TOU, or other future programs, please register here.
6. As a CPAU customer, what is the best time of day to charge my EV?
Although CPAU currently does not offer a city-wide TOU rate, we highly recommend EV charging during post peak night hours to help lower the load and alleviate stress on the distribution grid. CPAU also recommends EV charging during the day in the Spring to consume excess solar PV generation.
CPAU recommends EV charging during the following time periods:
- Nighttime: 11 pm to 6 am (All Seasons) - Daytime: 9 am to 3 pm (Spring only)
7. Why is the City of Palo Alto concerned about my EV Charger installation?
Though an individual EV Charger may have a negligible impact on the utility electric system, the combined effect of several chargers in the same area could result in overloads on utility secondary wires and transformers. It is crucial that the City of Palo Alto Utilities is notified of any charging station installations to ensure that utility electrical system components are adequately sized to maintain high levels of service reliability.
CPAU needs information on location (address), types of charging equipment, charging level (as defined by NEC, Article 625), and number of chargers or electric vehicles being installed.
8. Where can I ask EV or EV Charger related questions?
Please contact the following City of Palo Alto offices:
- General EV or EV Charger Questions: Please contact Utilities Program Services at (650) 329-2241 - Permit Related Questions: Please contact Development Services at (650) 329-2496 - Utility Service Upgrade Questions: Please contact Utilities Electrical Engineering at (650) 566-4500