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I’m writing in response to Michael Sabo’s April 8th letter, “Where are the Promised Electric Vehicle Chargers?”
As Mr. Sabo writes, the EV Project is a large electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure study partly funded by a public grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and partly by private investment. In San Diego, the project kicked off in early 2010. ECOtality and our local partners, such as SDG&E, SANDAG, UCSD, SDSU, the county of San Diego, and the cities of San Diego, La Mesa, Santee, Oceanside and Chula Vista, spent 2010 readying the San Diego region for EVs and EV charge infrastructure.
Most importantly, a blueprint for the deployment of public EV chargers was developed to place EV chargers at locations most likely to be used now and in the future, so as to maximize the value of the U.S. Department of Energy grant and private investment. The blueprint takes into account regional traffic flows, regional and employment destinations, appropriateness of land uses to host EV chargers and other factors.
By spending time and effort on developing this blueprint, ECOtality and our partners aimed to minimize the number of unused or under-used EV chargers that are deployed as part of the EV Project. The blueprint was largely completed before the release of any Leafs or Volts to consumers in the San Diego region.
Our effort also included establishing a local contractor network and collaborating with local cities and their inspectors to prepare for residential EV charger installations, such as Mr. Sabo positively experienced. It included development of a set of deployment guidelines to address siting considerations not only for residential EV charger installations, but public charger installations. Topics that had not previously been dealt with comprehensively, such as safety, signage and Amercians with Disability Act compliance, were wrestled with so that we can smartly deploy public EV chargers.
Now in April 2011, excitedly, a handful of new EVs are on San Diego roads and an escalating number are expected to be delivered in May and June. Public charger installations began earlier this month with the first three of over 1,000 Blink EV chargers installed at the Lodge at Torrey Pines. Public charger installations will continue through all of 2011 mirroring the roll out of Leafs and Volts to San Diego.
In the next couple months, EV drivers can look for public chargers at some Best Buy stores, Stone Brewing and World Bistro, and Palomar Hospital amongst other retail, entertainment, and recreation venues. Public charger installations will continue to escalate through 2011 to serve the entire San Diego region from Chula Vista to Oceanside and out east to Julian.
Andy Hoskinson is the ECOtality Area Manager for San Diego. He lives in Clairemont.