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Santa Clarita eyes more support for electric cars

Posted: January 22, 2014 6:22 p.m.
Updated: January 22, 2014 6:22 p.m.
 

SANTA CLARITA - The number of electric vehicles on the road has steadily risen in recent years, leading officials to look for ways to build up public charging infrastructure that can handle the increasingly popular brands.

Since 2012, sales of electric vehicles have surged, meaning there are more cars on the road that can’t be refueled simply by looking for the next gas station off the freeway.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. expects 800,000 electric vehicles to be on state roads by 2020 — there are only 20,000 now — creating a high demand for charging stations.

Currently, there are about 5,000 public and workplace charging stations in California and 20,000 nationwide.
Santa Clarita is home to some charging stations that can serve electric cars, according to city spokeswoman Gail Morgan.

For example, one charger is located in a parking garage near the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Town Center Drive. Another is located at the Kohl’s department store on Golden Valley Road.

“The city is exploring some grant opportunities and the upcoming budget in an effort to add more public charging stations,” Morgan said.

The issue of charging infrastructure is more pressing in areas where electric cars are more prevalent. In the Silicon Valley, for instance, some companies say they have been unable to provide enough chargers for all their employees that drive electric cars.

ChargePoint, which operates a large EV-charging network, says companies should provide one charging port for every two of their employees’ electric vehicles.

“Having two chargers and 20 electric cars is worse than having no chargers and 20 electric cars. If you are going to do this, you have to be willing to continue to scale it,” said Pat Romano, CEO of ChargePoint.

Adding chargers can be expensive, especially at sites where companies are leasing space and don’t want to invest in permanent charging infrastructure.

 

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