CARLSBAD — As electric vehicles and hybrids become more popular, cities continue to invest in infrastructure, notably charging stations.
Last week, the city of Carlsbad added three locations for EV drivers to charge their batteries. Motorists can now charge at Stagecoach Community Park, Pine Park and a city-owned parking lot on State Street between Oak Avenue and Carlsbad Village Drive.
In total, the city now has four EV charging locations. Alga Norte Park was the first, and has a total of 16 charging portals, and there are 10 at Stagecoach.
More importantly, though, the EV additions are complementing the city’s push to reduce greenhouse gasses as part of its Climate Action Plan.
“Emissions from gas and diesel vehicles account for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions in Carlsbad,” said Mike Grim, who administers Carlsbad’s Climate Action Plan. “Every mile you can travel in an electric vehicle, carpooling and even biking and walking, adds up to a marked improvement in our air quality and progress in meeting our Climate Action Plan goals.”
The plan calls for increasing the amount of zero-emissions vehicle miles traveled in Carlsbad from 15 percent to 25 percent by 2035, according to the city.
As for the city-owned EV stations, they use the ChargePoint network and charge a fee of $0.35/kWh.
Looking forward, though, the city is analyzing other locations to add more EV stations. According to the city, a 2015 Center for Sustainable Energy infrastructure assessment found other city-owned sites with potential include The Shoppes at Carlsbad parking lot, City Hall, the Cole and Dove libraries and the Faraday Administration Center.
The Stagecoach and State Street locations were chosen because existing electrical service capacity made these sites the most feasible.
Meanwhile, EVGO Services LLC, a division of NRG, is under a legal mandate to build out California’s electrical vehicle charging system infrastructure in workplace and public facilities statewide, at no cost to the public agencies or property owners. The city entered into an agreement with EVGO Services in July 2016 to install the base units for the new charging stations at the State Street and Stagecoach Park locations. The city then contracted with ChargePoint to provide the charging terminals.
The Pine Avenue Community Park location just underwent major improvements, including a new community center and gardens. According to Grim, when the city builds new facilities it’s become routine to work in as many environmental sustainability features as possible. In addition to the charging stations, the new Pine Avenue Community Center has solar power, natural lighting, smart lights and temperature controls, and even a water bottle filling station that tells you how many plastic bottles you save with each refill.