A plan to install four fast-charging stations to power electric vehicles at a park and ride on Calle Joaquin Road in San Luis Obispo is moving forward with anticipated completion by the end of this year or early 2019.
The new direct current (DC) fast charging stations are envisioned as part of a broad network along the Highway 101 corridor designed to charge electric vehicles in a matter of 15 minutes for longer road journeys.
In comparison, it takes about eight to 10 hours to charge most electric vehicles at home using a standard domestic socket.
An El Segundo-based company, Recargo, is seeking final permitting approval from the California Energy Commission to install the four DC fast chargers, as well as a fifth slower charger at the San Luis Obispo park and ride, located between the Rose Garden Inn and Hampton Inn on the city’s south end.
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“As of right now, there doesn’t appear to be any ultra-fast installs in California, though multiple networks are working to provide these, including us at Recargo,” said Carl Pancutt, Recargo’s director of network development.
Recargo received a $1.6 million grant from the California Energy Commission to set up 22 DC fast chargers along the Highway 101 corridor from Buellton to Gilroy, including in San Luis Obispo. Governor Jerry Brown’s goal is to have 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the California roads by 2025.
But the Californa Energy Commission must still sign off on the proposed San Luis Obispo site and infrastructure system that PG&E would connect to at Calle Joaquin, Pancutt said.
How SLO residents benefit
Recargo plans to maintain and operate the chargers over a period of 10 years, paying the city about $7,000 per year in licensing fees, to use the city lot that opened in February with 31 parking spaces.
The five charging stalls, which will operate at no cost to the city, would be open to the public for use with credit cards or a phone app, according to city officials.
The cost to charge will be significantly lower than gasoline prices, though prices haven’t been determined, Pancutt said.
The new DC fast-charging stations are planned to be equipped with both CHAdeMO (functional with many Asian cars) and CCS connectors (functional with U.S. and European cars), suitable for all fast-charge capable electric vehicles (Teslas will require an adapter), Pancutt said.
An Electric Vehicle Future
Currently, San Luis Obispo has about 78 electric vehicle chargers, operated by private and public owners, and some people charge their electric vehicles at home, said Chris Read, the city’s sustainability manager.
Electric vehicle charging stations have been encouraged for new developments in the city, according to officials. Local charging stations in public places include Target, Cal Poly, Home Depot and the San Luis Obispo Promenade.
“The new electric vehicle chargers support the city’s goal of reducing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the use of alternative fuel vehicles,” Read said.