Electric cars make their mark on Atascadero

leallan@tcsn.netDecember 3, 2012 

Lon Allan

THE TRIBUNE

Two months ago I sent a picture to the Atascadero News that showed the Golden Way Block (Atascadero Hotel). Parked in front of the two-story structure were a number of cars and trucks of the 1930s. Also in the photo was a team of horses hitched to a wagon filled with hay.

That one photo captured the transition in transportation in America and specifically Atascadero as gas-powered cars and trucks began to replace the horse and buggy. For some reason, that farmer was still using his horses to haul hay 30 years into the new century.

Recently I encountered another transition, this time in the parking lot of Atascadero’s Rabobank. There was a hybrid electric car plugged into a charging device. This “Electric Vehicle Charging Station” was put in by Robobank as a show of support for the need to go green. Only a few years ago Rabobank put solar panels on the roof of its Atascadero facility for the same reason.

While talking with Carol Bezkostny, vice president/ manager of the Atascadero branch, about the charging station, a woman who overheard us visiting walked up and asked if we knew anything about the car plugged into the charging device.

She said she and her husband were en route to Southern California from San Francisco and were driving a Tesla, an all-electric vehicle. They needed to charge up. A device on the Tesla’s dashboard identified the Atascadero charging station for them.

But nobody could find who was using the charger. I guessed maybe they plugged it in and went to dinner or a movie.

So the couple with the Tesla, who said they had about 70 miles left, was going to try to make it to Santa Maria where the next charging station was listed.

Maybe there is a need for a new “charging etiquette” here. Don’t just plug in and leave for longer than it takes to charge your car when there is only one device.

But I applaud the bank’s effort to encourage use and development of the electric car.

“Sustainability is one of Rabobank’s core values and our network of charging stations helps create new travel opportunities for electric vehicle owners and give further momentum to the renewable energy movement. It also sets an example for other businesses in Atascadero to become more environmentally friendly,” said Steven Harding, regional president.

The charging station was installed through the combined efforts of the California Air Resources Board, Rabobank, the City of Atascadero, Solar City and Tesla Motors.

Lon Allan's column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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