Tuesday Aug 30 2011
New stations offer free charge for electric cars
By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
It’s good for business, says electric auto association
Electric car owners may find it a bit more convenient to recharge when traveling through Roseville. The city recently installed three new charging stations, two at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville and one on the corner of Oak Street and Washington Boulevard in downtown. “We want to give people the ability to charge their car when they need to,” said Vonette McCauley, public relations director for Roseville Electric. “Whether they are here for employment or they are shopping, we want to provide some ability for them to recharge.” But the city isn’t the only entity making it easier for electric car owners to charge up. John L Sullivan Chevrolet at the Roseville Auto Mall is in the process of installing two large solar canopies that will act as a charging station for customers. “This will provide a free charge to our customers who want to come in and hook up,” said Steve Ruckels, controller with John L Sullivan Chevrolet. All these efforts are in response to increasing demands for electric vehicles, albeit the demand might be slow moving, according to Kris Blair, account representative with Roseville Electric. Since the city installed the new charging stations last month, they have been used 19 times for a total of 26 hours, using about 87 kilowatts of energy — and costing the city about $10, Blair said. “We’re doing this as a courtesy to people in Roseville, for people who are living and shopping here,” Blair said. “We do not charge the customers.” The three new charging stations that the city installed feature the latest technology from manufacturer Coulomb. They have the ability to track usage and also the capability for customers to use their credits cards, should the city one day decide to charge customers. Tom Dowling, vice president of the Sacramento Chapter of the Electric Auto Association, said the market for electric vehicles is slow moving mainly because manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand. He said the charging stations in Roseville are probably of more benefit to people from surrounding areas rather than actual Roseville residents. “The people who need the charge are the ones who came from Sacramento or Davis or some place and need to get back home,” Dowling said. “They are not necessarily Roseville residents, but they are coming and spending their dollar and contributing sales tax revenues to Roseville.” Blair said the city’s website, www.roseville.ca.us, provides a link to Coulomb’s website, which also provides locations of charging stations throughout the state. “We are going to watch and see how fast the market goes and possibly reevaluate it in the future,” Blair said. “I think with more and more cars coming out that we’re going to see a gradual increase in frequency of use.” That being said, Dowling thinks it is a good thing that the city is installing more electric charging stations. “It’s good for business, it’s good for sales tax,” he said. “It is good for cleaner air, for reducing dependence on foreign oil. It’s good for lots of things.” Customers who wish to use the new charging stations can register an account with Coulomb by visiting that company’s website. Toby Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.