Electric vehicles

To achieve our 2030 carbon neutral goal, the City of Menlo Park encourages residents to drive electric vehicles (EVs) for unavoidable vehicle travel. Driving an EV when walking, biking, or public transportation are not available is a great way to work towards achieving carbon neutrality. 

EVs reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve air quality because they do not have a tailpipe. Instead of consuming and combusting fossil fuels like a gas car, an EV uses a battery to power an electric motor. Fortunately, Menlo Park’s energy provider, Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE), provides businesses and residents 100% GHG free electricity! More EVs on Menlo Park roads, means a significant reduction in our transportation-related emissions. Less emissions means cleaner air and a healthier community.

See resources below for charging needs, selecting the best EV for your needs, and other related rebates/incentives. 

Installing charging stations at apartments and commercial buildings

Learn more about installing an electric vehicle charging station at your multifamily residence or commercial property from Peninsula Clean Energy’s EV Ready program.

Tenants have rights! California Civil Code Section 4745 provides tenants with the right to install an EV charging station in their rental property parking space. Check out the EV FAQ to learn more.

List of public EV chargers

Click on the interactive map below to find available public EV chargers. The data is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.

EV Charger Map

You can also check out PlugshareChargepoint maps, which indicate charger types and availability in Menlo Park and neighboring cities. Heading out of the area, check out the U.S. Department of Energy map to locate public charging stations nationwide.

Resources 

Tax credits, rebates, and incentives

Choosing an electric vehicle

  • The California Public Energy Commission recommends Electric for All as a great resource to explore and compare EV models, benefits, rebates, and more.
  • Plug In America’s Plugstar is a one stop shopping resource. Feeling overwhelmed with the choices or have some additional questions? Call 1-877-384-3571 or email to talk to someone about your options.

Electric vehicle charging stations

  • Peninsula Clean Energy created a $28 million program called EV Ready to increase access to EV chargers for workplaces, multi-unit dwellings, and other public location. Free, no obligation technical assistance is available. 
  • Tenants have rights! Current state law (Civil Code Section 4745) provides tenants with the right to install an EV charging station in their rental property parking space. Check out our FAQ to learn more.

FAQs

Can I afford an electric vehicle?

The sales price of a new electric vehicle (EVs) are trending downward. Overall, the total cost of EV ownership can be lower than comparable gasoline cars. Electric vehicles can also be affordably leased. Instead of being stopped by the initial price, consider these additional cost factors:

  1. Cheaper to fuel 
  2. Lower maintenance costs
    • EVs does not have oil, filters, belts, etc. to change.
  3. Available EV tax credits and rebates
  4. Increase number of used EVs coming to market
    • As new EV models are more readily available, used EVs are cheaper and may still have years of useful life
    • Executive Order N-79-2020 sets a state goal of banning the sale of new gas cars by 2035

Can an electric vehicle meet my driving and/or hauling needs?

Yes, did you know the average American drives less than 40 miles a day? Most electric vehicles have a driving range of over 100 miles.

Electric sport utility vehicles and trucks with high towing capacity are also coming soon. For example:

  • Ford Motors electric F-150 is set to enter production mid-2022
  • General Motors Hummer EV SUT is scheduled to be in showrooms at the end of 2021
  • Lordstown Endurance will start rolling off the assembly line in fall 2021
  • Rivian R1Tand R1S deliveries will start in summer 2021
  • Tesla CyberTruck is expected to enter production in late 2021

Check out Electric For All to explore and compare new EV models.

I live in an apartment complex that does not have any EV chargers. If I buy an electric vehicle, how can I charge it?

There are public, Level 2 charging stations in Menlo Park available for your use. Prices and availability may vary so make sure to check the station before heading out for a charge. Driving outside of Menlo Park? Check out this U.S. Department of Energy map to locate public charging stations nationwide.

In addition, under the current California Civil Code Section 4745 state law, tenants have the right to add EV charging infrastructure (including a standard household plug) at their rental property at their expense. As a tenant, knowing your rights and responsibilities puts you in the driver’s seat. You may can exercise your right to install an EV charging station in your parking space by submitting a written request to your landlord. The request should include:

  • Your plans for installation, use, maintenance, and removal of the charging station and related infrastructure;
  • The identification of a responsible party for compliance with state requirements and guidelines;
  • Requirements for insurance* for property damage and personal injury;
  • Complete financial analysis and scope of work for the charging station’s installation and infrastructure, supplied by you to your landlord; and
  • A statement of your understanding that it is your obligation to pay all costs of installation, electrical usage associated with charging station, maintenance, and repair costs.

*Your landlord cannot require you to pay for insurance if both of the following conditions apply:

NOTE: If you do not meet these two conditions, your landlord may pass along the cost of insurance to you. However, the law states that “the amount of insurance required may not exceed 10 times the annual rent charged.”

The new electric vehicles are nice, but the selection seems limited to compact cars. Are there different types (SUV, trucks, luxury, vans, sports cars, etc.) of electric vehicles to serve my needs?

Yes, the electric vehicle market is evolving rapidly! In addition to all-electric start-ups (Lordstown, Rivian, Tesla, etc.), major auto manufacturers are transitioning to electric vehicles. For example:

  • Ford Motors vowed to phase out all its gas vehicles in Europe by 2030.
    • Deliveries of the Mustang Mach-E SUV began late 2020
    • E-Transit commercial van will hit market in late 2021
    • Electric F-150 truck will be available in mid-2022
  • General Motors intends to sell all zero emissions vehicles by 2035.
    • Chevrolet Bolt utility vehicle, Hummer truck, and Cadillac Lyriq SUV are due in showrooms in 2021
    • Chevrolet electric pickup truck will go into production by 2025
  • Volvo has committed to making only EVs by 2030.
    • XC40 Recharge compact SUV was released in 2020

Check out Electric For All to explore and compare new EV models.

Will an increase in EV ownership overwhelm the electric grid?

Not in the foreseeable future. A recent National Renewable Energy Lab study concludes our current electric grid can meet the Level 1 charging demands of up to 25 percent of cars on the road becoming electric. Of the 250 million cars, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks on the US roads today, fewer than 1% of them are currently electric. Therefore, there is still time for grid improvements to meet the needs of EV charging as more consumers drive EVs. We could also reduce the load on the electricity grid by improving the way EV owners charge their vehicles. For example:

  • Time-of-use pricing 
    • Did you know the cost of electricity is constantly changing? The more people using electricity at a given time, the higher the price is and vice versa. Time-of-use pricing sends price signals to EV owners to better manage demand on the grid. For more information, visit PG&E.
  • Smart grid technology 
    • Instead of using price signals to motivate EV owners, charging stations and utilities could coordinate the charging activity of multiple EV chargers and alleviate demand to the grid.
  • Bidirectional charging technology
    • Ways to convert your EV to a backup battery are currently being explored. Charge your car when demand is low (best done overnight) or when production is high (when solar panels produce excess) to store electricity in the car batter and use it to power your house when grid demand is high.

Keep in mind, the electrical grid can handle more EVs if not everyone is charging at once.

How do greenhouse gas emissions compare between manufacturing gasoline vehicles and all-electric ones?

Manufacturing gasoline and electric vehicles (EVs) are similar except EVs have an additional battery component. The greenhouse gas emissions from the production (manufacturing) and operation (driving) of an electric vehicle are more than 50% lower more than of a comparable gasoline vehicle. In other words, the lifecycle of an electric vehicle emits less greenhouse gas than of a gasoline vehicle.

Additionally, most EV batteries last beyond the life of the vehicle and can find second life as battery storage. When EV batteries degrade enough to be unsuitable for cars, they are repurposed to store electricity for either refrigeration or powering EV charging stations. After that, batteries can be recycled to harvest raw materials.