ENCINITAS – City officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 13 at commuter parking lot B at E Street and South Vulcan Avenue in downtown for the opening of two EV (Electric Vehicle) charging stations. The stations at the site are part of The EV Project, a pilot program initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy to install EV charging stations in cities across the country.
The downtown Encinitas site was chosen specifically because of its access to shops and other amenities in the area.
“People come here to stop charge up and then shop downtown,” said Assistant City Manager Richard Phillips. “We evaluated several sites,” he said. “One at City Hall, one at the community center…but this one had better visibility, a closer proximity to downtown.”
Just that morning, Phillips said a woman pulled in to use one of the chargers, telling him that her husband had forgotten to charge their car the night before. “So she went downtown to do something, charged and came back,” he added.
There are two pedestal charging stations in the lot, which accommodates charging one car per station. Charging times will vary depending on how much energy the car already has. An EV that is completely drained will typically take up to five hours to fully charge.
The pedestal charger has the ability to charge most every EV, using the industry standard SAE J1772 connector.
The cost for charging electric vehicles at the site has been free while under The EV Project program. That will change starting January 2013. “EV drivers, just as other drivers pay for the gasoline, need to pay for their fuel costs, the infrastructure costs, the electricity and all the other cost factors that go in,” said Andy Hoskinson, stakeholder services area manager for ECOtality North America. ECOtality received the $99.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to begin deploying the charging stations.
ECOtality is the parent company of Blink, which supplied the two pedestal chargers.
Through Blink, drivers can purchase different plans to access and pay for the charging of their vehicles. Costs will range from $1 to $2 per hour of charging depending on the plan chosen. The plans are available for purchase at blinknetwork.com.
Drivers using the Blink network will also be able to see if either of the stations is available for use through a mobile application or on their computers. Later this year the charging stations will have reservations capabilities.
There are two parking spots designated as EV Charging parking spots in the commuter lot; an ADA parking spot will also be designated to allow for charging if the spots near the chargers are occupied.
As of now there are no penalties should a non-EV park in a charging spot, except “bad Encinitas karma,” Phillips said.
The chargers receive their power from a nearby SDG&E transformer. “In a commercial district, it’s not what’s considered a significant load,” Hoskinson said. Charging a Nissan Leaf draws about 3