Above: A charging station for electric vehicles (EV) located in the parking lot of Pine Avenue Community Park in Carlsbad. The City of Encinitas is preparing to install its own EV “gas station” at City Hall. File photo
ENCINITAS — After months of delay, construction of a long-anticipated electric vehicle charging station is now underway in downtown Encinitas.
The lower parking lot of City Hall in the past few weeks has become a hotbed of activity, with charging bays being delivered and being prepared for installation.
A “gas station” for electric vehicles, the charging station was first proposed in 2013, and in 2014, the Department of Energy awarded the contractor, Corridor Power, a $500,000 grant for the project.
City officials anticipated the station would be opened by last summer, but a series of delays — stemming from the need to apply for an extension for the grant — pushed back the start of construction, officials said.
During that time, Corridor updated the project to reflect changes in battery technology.
“Battery technology also has changed since our applicant filed his application with the City about four years ago,” former City spokeswoman Lois Yum wrote at the time of the initial delay in 2018. “Instead of a single battery storage structure, the new technology is like a series of bollards that have more flexible locational
requirements, and a larger storage capacity. The prior plan was to house the battery bank in a structure, but the new technology is outdoor and has a smaller profile.”
The city doesn’t have an estimated completion date.
When completed, the charging station will have shade canopies, 10 EV charging towers and a 480-square-foot driver’s lounge and retail store.
City officials see the charging station as a key piece of its recently adopted climate action plan by promoting alternative fuel and environmentally friendly modes of transportation.
“This project supports the City’s efforts to transition from using fossil fuels citywide,” said Crystal Najera, the city’s climate action plan administrator. “One of the City’s Climate Action Plan strategies focuses on clean and efficient transportation modes. The more convenient we make electric vehicle charging stations, the more people will choose to switch to electric-powered vehicles.”
“As part of this grant, City residents and staff will be able to charge EVs at no cost,” Najera said. “The station is also ideally located to allow for rapid charging of commuter EVs traveling through Encinitas for a nominal fee.”