Electric charging stations coming to park in Carmel Valley

By Karen Billing

Thanks to a $499,755 grant from the California Energy Commission, San Diego will be able to install 41 new electric-vehicle charging stations in a number of parks throughout the city to help support a growing EV-driving population and promote the use of clean, zero-emission vehicles.

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board voted to approve new electric charging stations at Ocean Air Community Park at its Sept. 25 meeting.

According to Jacques Chirazi, program manager for the city’s Clean Tech Initiative, San Diego has the highest number of electric vehicles per capita among California cities. The state has surpassed 100,000 plug-in sales, and San Diego is now home to 10,000-plus electric vehicles.

Chirazi said they looked at a number of locations in the Carmel Valley area and narrowed them down to spots at Torrey Hills and Ocean Air Community parks.

The charging stations, made by OpConnect, will take up the side of one Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) slot in front of the recreation center building and two other spots close to a SDG&E transformer on the other side of the building. Each driver pays for the energy received from the OpConnect station, and Chirazi said they will monitor the spaces to ensure that the EVs are actively charging.

Chirazi said within the city there are 612 chargers in commercial areas, meant for quick “fill-ups,” and 18 DC fast-charge units that can charge a car in less than 30 minutes, the fastest EV charging rate available.

Electric vehicles potentially need to be charged every 100 to 150 miles. Chirazi said if they want more people to drive electric cars, they know the infrastructure needs to increase and charging stations need to be easily accessible, in places where people can conveniently use them.