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Santa Barbara steers toward electric vehicle adoption with 30 new chargers

New SB electric chargers
Ryan Fish/KEYT
Thirty new electric chargers were recently installed on top of the Granada garage in Santa Barbara.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate electric vehicle adoption, the city of Santa Barbara recently installed 30 electric vehicle charging stations on the roof of the Granada parking garage, located downtown on Anacapa Street.

Last week, Santa Barbara City Council set a goal of carbon neutrality in the city by 2035.

Alelia Parenteau, Santa Barbara's Energy and Climate manager, says transportation-related emissions make up more than half of the city's greenhouse gas emissions, and are the largest source of emissions throughout the state and country.

Electric vehicles emit significantly less compared to standard internal combustion engine vehicles.

“It’s going to take everyone’s help to reach carbon neutrality by 2035,” Parenteau said. “Because transportation emissions are such a big piece of that equation, we’re really looking at so many ways that we can help people reduce their vehicle-related emissions. And this is just one piece of that puzzle, but one that the city’s really excited about.”

The city's ambitious environmental goal comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement last month, calling for all cars and passenger trucks sold in California to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

Each of the 15 new charging stalls are able to charge two vehicles. The Level 2 charging stations can charge any electric vehicle, and can do so roughly five times faster than a normal wall outlet at home would.

They are slower than DC Fast Charging stations, such as Tesla Superchargers. Level 2 charging stations can fully charge a battery in 4-8 hours, depending on the vehicle and battery size.

These charging stations cost 20 cents per kilowatt-hour during off-peak hours and 35 cents per kilowatt-hour during peak hours--usually in the afternoon and evening when more electricity is used.

“It’s not as inexpensive as charging at your home, but [these are] really meant to be more of a stop-gap,” Parenteau said.

The idea is that people can top-off their batteries while parking downtown for more than an hour, whether to go to work, grab a meal, or walk around the area.

The project cost about $500,000, with roughly $400,000 being funded by Southern California Edison's Charge Ready program and a grant from the Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District.

More of the charging stations are already in city-owned parking lots and garages and more could be added in the coming months.

“Currently we’re really looking at parking lots and also trying to figure out some possible public-private partnerships," said Parenteau, who also mentioned that the city is looking into what it would take to bring curbside charging stations to some neighborhoods.

Another proposed project would install large solar panels to cover the Granada garage's roof. That array would produce 500 kilowatts, enough to power the garage, its internal offices, as well as the city's Public Library and adjacent garage across the street. Parenteau is hopeful that construction could begin within a year.

Economy / Santa Barbara - South County
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Ryan Fish

Ryan Fish is a reporter, sports anchor and forecaster for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Ryan, click here.

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