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Public help is requested to locate sites for new electric vehicle charging stations

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -  Where should new electric vehicle charging stations go?  The public is being asked to help identify sites.

The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) is asking for the input as part of a six county effort on the California central coast .

The goal is to identify ideal locations for new public charging stations in the six counties between Ventura, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties.  Electric vehicles are essential to the fight against climate change, and more charging stations are needed to recharge vehicles, particularly in rural and traditionally underserved communities.

SBCAG  says, the information gathered from the interactive online mapping tool will help create the Central Coast Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy.

Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), Association of Monterey Bay Governments (AMBAG), and San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), along with Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties have partnered to develop the strategy. 

That mapping tool can be found at: SBCAG.    

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams says, "we know that the barrier is people want to know there's charging station locations where they can use them."    He personally drives a Chevy Bolt and says it has been helpful to his budget.

The public outreach now is to get some new sites identified.  "If you don't have an electric car right now we want to know what chargers will be convenient enough for you to put you over the top to buy an electric car,  and if you do have an electric car we want to know where the gaps are."

Online he says, the survey link is easy to navigate.  "You just pick the point.  I said there needs to be one out in Cuyama for people going on long trips."

SBCAG will be evaluating the suggestions for future planning.

Central Coast ZEV Strategy aims to improve the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EV) and focuses on three types of EV charging:

  1. Level 2 Charger – Electric vehicles can recharge using a Level 2 Charger that typically takes 2 to 6 hours to fully charge the vehicle's battery.
  2. DC Fast Charger – A direct-current (DC) fast charger is the fastest way to charge an electric vehicle, recharging most vehicles in just minutes as opposed to hours.
  3. Tesla Supercharger – A proprietary Tesla DC fast charger, called a Supercharger, that can recharge electric vehicles up to 200 miles in just 15 minutes.

Drivers we talked to like the process of getting ahead of the demand.

Electric car owner John Shoolery said,  "I think the whole evolution of electronic vehicles, electric vehicles. is going to accommodate the charging requirements and  it is fundamental to the success."

Dennis Levitt is also an electric car owner, and has had four of them over the last 11 years.   "I think that is the future.  I think not just for climate change and if you have ever driven an electric car, they're fun!"

As for new locations,  near retail or food was a popular suggestion.  Beverly Holmes said, "even if it is near a park that would be nice but somewhere where you can get out and do some  activities or grab a bite or spend some money."

Williams says the cost saving to the public from incentives is still very attractive for buyers.  There are rebates and incentives funded in part by the government.   "Electric car sales have taken off and there  are more users.  We want to build them faster so they are waiting when you when you get your electric car."
Input is sought through October 2022.

Currently there are various mapping systems to help drivers find an electric car charging station, they are also located at dealerships where these vehicles are sold.

Most drivers have said they have been able to find open slots often and if there is a wait it is short.

Article Topic Follows: Environment & Energy

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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