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Santa Monica Action Plan Calls for 300 New or Upgraded Electric Car Chargers


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

September 27, 2017 -- With the use of all-electric vehicles zooming upwards, the City of Santa Monica is calling for the installation of 300 new or upgraded public chargers by 2022 to meet demand.

In its newly released draft Electric Vehicle Action Plan, the City said the charging stations will be located throughout the city in residential neighborhoods, commercial areas, parks, libraries, beach parking lots and at other public facilities.

The city now has 75 charging ports in 65 locations.

City officials are currently seeking public input on the draft proposal, including by filling this online form. The deadline for comment is October 15. For a copy of the plan, click here.

For Santa Monica, dramatically reducing use of fossil fuels as soon as possible is crucial. The City has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050, or sooner.

Despite an aggressive effort to get people out of their cars and into green alt-transportation (walking, biking or taking mass transit), driving personal vehicles is still the first choice for most of the public.

“Since many trips will continue to be made by vehicles, electrification is essential,” the action plan said.

Vehicle emissions are responsible for 64 percent of Santa Monica’s carbon footprint.

“EVAP,” as the plan is called, modernizes and expands the existing network for electric vehicles and the related infrastructure, focusing on installing public charging stations in residential neighborhoods, “mixed-use districts,” or neighborhoods that are mostly apartment buildings, and in work places.

It is anticipated to cost $2 million.

EV ownership has been rising in the U.S. but particularly in California, which accounted for about 65 percent of total sales in 2015, the report said.

An independent study found 1,428 registered clean-air vehicles in Santa Monica last year (including City fleet vehicles), up from 63 such vehicles registered in 2003.

Resident purchases of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Battery Electric Vehicles have jumped 136 percent since 2012.

Cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles in Santa Monica are predicted to reach nearly 4,000 by 2021, the report said.

The City of Santa Monica first started shifting its fleet to electric vehicles in the mid-1990s, but as demand also increased from private EV owners, the system has “become difficult to sustain without a structured program or policy in place."

Public slots fill up quickly.

“EV owners typically use private chargers if offered, but if not, they utilize the limited public charging facilities,” the plan said.

“Challenges are greatest for residents in MUDs (mixed-use districts) because they often lack dedicated parking or adequate electrical capacity to support EV charging," the report said.

"Unsupportive landlords and prohibitive installation costs can be additional barriers.”

Faced with a lack of infrastructure, the report concluded, “people are choosing not to go electric.”


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