San Diego boosts charging stations for electric vehicles – The San Diego Union-Tribune
It’s getting increasingly easier to find a place to recharge an electric vehicle in this county, with hundreds of sites where people can power up their cars and trucks.
Officials announced Wednesday that the city of San Diego, for its part, has now built 68 charging ports at 15 locations — including nine spots that were established since 2014 thanks to a $500,000 grant from the California Energy Commission.
“We hope that by locating charging stations in popular destinations, it’s easier and more convenient to use electric vehicles as well as encourage more people to purchase electric vehicles,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a statement. “You can enjoy staying at a park, beach or library a little longer knowing you can charge your car there.”
To date, the energy commission has awarded nearly $65 million to pay for more than 7,800 electric vehicle charging stations. The state expects to dole out an additional $17 million for electric charging infrastructure through the next fiscal year.
For the San Diego region, the state awarded nearly $9 million last year to four companies to build 61 “fast chargers” along Interstate 5, Highway 99 and Highway 101. These stations allow electric vehicles to power up within 20 to 30 minutes.
In San Diego city, the economic development department secured the $500,000 grant with help from the locally based Center for Sustainable Energy, as well as San Diego Gas & Electric and charging-station maker and operator OpConnect, officials said.
The city installed its 68th charging port in December. Its network accepts credit cards, with fees ranging from $1.50 to $1.80 per hour of charging.
The charging stations are dispersed throughout the city, such as at the downtown central library, the San Diego Zoo, the Ocean Beach lifeguard station and San Diego State University’s aquatic center in Mission Bay.
The city also built its first on-street charging station — in Hillcrest at the intersection of Normal Street and University Avenue.
“It’s obviously a huge plus for the community as we try to build more infrastructure for electric-vehicle charging in places where people spend time,” said Jacques Chirazi, business development manager for the city’s economic development department.
The assorted efforts reflect an ongoing push by government leaders to boost use of electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles as a key way to lower greenhouse-gas emissions, which are linked to climate change. Experts have cited the lack of charging stations in California and the rest of the nation as a leading reason why very few Americans have decided to purchase an electric vehicle.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s program to promote zero-emission vehicles calls for Californians to use at least 1.5 million such cars and trucks by 2025.
In addition to charging ports overseen by municipal governments, others are being installed by utility companies and car makers like Tesla — each with its own pricing scale or membership requirements.
San Diego County currently has about 1,000 plug-in ports at 377 locations, according to the San Diego Association of Governments. A map of publicly available charging locations in this and other regions is maintained at plugshare.com.
This summer, San Diego Gas & Electric plans to start building the first of its planned 3,500 charging stations. Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison have launched similar projects as part of proposals to develop a comprehensive support infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Together, the three utilities’ plans would cost more than $1 billion. The companies are seeking approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to raise ratepayers’ monthly electricity bills to pay for the envisioned projects.
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