News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


City Asks Neighborhood Businesses To Host Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

January 24th, 2011 by master

This story is from our sister site Phinneywood.

The city’s Office of Economic Development is asking businesses to host an electric vehicle (EV) charging station for customers.

Charlie Cunniff, with the OED’s Seattle Climate Partnership, told a recent Greenwood-Phinney Chamber of Commerce meeting that any business with a parking lot  could host one parking spot with a plug-in. Cunniff says the business could promote it as a benefit for customers to charge up while shopping.

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a $115 million grant to Phoenix-based ECOtality to manage the EV Project, installing 15,000 charging stations in 16 cities in six states, including Washington. ECOtality, which has been in the electric vehicle charging business for 20 years, matched the government grant, for a total of $230 million for this pilot project.

“The electric vehicles are here, it’s not the future, and there needs to be a charging infrastructure for people to charge outside their homes and at their homes as well,” Dan O’Shea, Washington State sales manager for ECOtality, explained. “Within the next three to five years, 80 percent of all car manufacturers are going to have at least one electric vehicle.”

O’Shea, who lives in Phinney Ridge, says his company plans to install about 2,000 EV chargers from Olympia to Everett. About 900 of those will be in the homes of people who agree to have their data shared as part of the pilot project, to help the DOE determine where to install additional chargers, and to understand the habits of EV drivers.

“Western Washington and Seattle are an important part” of the project, he said.

A Blink residential electric vehicle charger.

About 1,200 chargers will be publicly available at short-term parking lots where customers would typically park from one to three hours, “where you’re going to be doing your topping off of your battery,” O’Shea explained.

The public charging stations will be what’s called Level 2 chargers, at 220 volts. (Level 1 is a normal household 120 volt system.) Level 3 chargers, called a Fast Charger (with 480 volts) will be installed at fueling stations and other easy-access places such as convenience stores.

A Level 2 charger for commercial locations, such as parking lots.

O’Shea says Level 2 chargers would typically take four to eight hours to fully charge an electric vehicle. But, “a Fast Charger will take your battery from zero to 80 percent full in 26 minutes,” he said.

Fast Chargers have two ports, so two cars can plug in at one time, however, they charge sequentially. So the first car will be charged, then it will automatically start charging the second car.

“They’re very forward looking, very modern looking. Size wise, they’re very manageable,” he said. “It looks like a giant iPod Shuffle. They have touch screens, interactive screens.”

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