By Claire Harlin
Del Mar may soon see the installation of three electric car charging stations, after the City Council voted Dec. 12 to proceed in negotiations with ECOtality, a company that’s agreed to offer substantial credits to install them.
The agreement being made, which will be subject to council approval, involves the installation of one charging unit at the new 17th Street Beach Safety Center and two charging units at the Del Mar TV Studio, located at 240 10th St. The stations would charge a minimum rate of $2 per hour and the City would split profits with ECOtality.
The idea first came before the council in October, but officials took no action out of concern that, despite a $2,500-per-unit credit offered by ECOtality, the City would still have to use about $5,000 of reserve money to complete the project. At that time, the City was looking into the installation of six units — two at the Beach Safety Center, two at the 21st Street pump station and two at the Del Mar TV Studio. In addition to concerns about cost, council members brought up another possible downfall — that the proposed locations, chosen because they were the most cost effective, may not allow easy access to recreational and commercial points of interest.
Since then, however, the Arizona-based electric transportation technology company has lowered its installation cost and increased the installation credit by $1,000 per unit in its pilot project. The city also narrowed the scope of the project to only three units, deciding that the TV studio and Beach Safety Center provide the “most attractive” electrical vehicle charging location sites that meet both budgetary concerns and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
Also resolved was another issue presented in October — whether or not an agreement with ECOtality would be subject to California state law, as the company is based in Arizona. Public works director Eric Minicilli said the agreement with ECOtality will mandate that the laws of California apply.
Minicilli also said that city revenue received from the charging station rates will be sufficient to cover electrical costs to the city. Upon installation, city staff will work with the Traffic and Parking Advisory Council to craft an electric vehicle parking policy.