Fri08012014

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Electric-vehicle station installation charges ahead


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier The Los Altos City Council authorized the installation of three electric-vehicle charging stations around town.

The Los Altos City Council Feb. 12 gave the green light for installation of three electric-vehicle charging stations in the city.

A U.S. Department of Energy grant to ChargePoint Inc., a Campbell-based manufacturer of charging stations, made the three 240-volt units available to the city at no expense. Although the units, which retail for $6,800 each, are free, the city will incur installation expenses of approximately $30,000.

“I’m so excited that we are going to get these EV chargers and that the city has jumped on the chance to get these free stations,” said Los Altos resident and electric-vehicle owner Maddy McBirney during public comment.

When fully operational, the devices charge two cars per unit. With a $1 per hour charging fee, the city expects to cover all electrical costs, maintenance and annual fees.

To minimize expenses and maximize user convenience, the city selected strategic locations for the chargers based on electrical line accessibility and parking demand. Two of the chargers will be located in Plaza 3 between San Antonio Road and Third Street, with the third installed adjacent to Bus Barn Theater in the civic center.

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins and Library Commission Chairwoman Cathie Perga expressed reservations about placing a charging station near the library.

“A kids’ story hour might have 40-50 people, and that takes a lot of parking,” said Perga of her concern that the two parking spaces required for a charging station might reduce parking availability during daytime hours.

Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw responded by asking if library users – as many as 1,000 per day, according to Perga – were also electric-vehicle drivers.

“I bet they will be,” Perga said.

If there are no delays, the charger installations could be complete by the end of March.

 

To read Part I and Part II of the Town Crier's series on Electric Vehicles click the included links.

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