CEC helped cut the ribbon on 6 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Solvang, along with the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, City of Solvang, and County of Santa Barbara representatives.
These are the first of dozens of stations being constructed throughout Santa Barbara County as part of Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint America program. Funding for the stations comes from the Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, and private sources.
CEC played a major role extending this program to the Santa Barbara/Ventura area as well as identifying and coordinating sites with local partners.
These new charging stations charge at 240 volts, twice to four times as fast as a 120 volt outlet. The stations allow pure EV owners (like the Nissan LEAF, and the upcoming Mitsubishi I, Ford Focus EV, and Tesla Model S) the opportunity to “top-off” thus extending the places they can visit. They also allow plug in hybrid drivers (like the Chevy Volt, and the upcoming Toyota Plug in Prius) the opportunity to charge up and travel more miles on electricity instead of gasoline.
There are 3 charging locations now active in Solvang, each with 2 charging ports, for a total of 6 charging stations—all open 24/7:
- Veterans Memorial Hall Parking Lot at 1745 Mission Drive
- City Parking Lot 1 at 1576 Mission Drive
- City Parking Lot 3 at 482 Alisal Road
Parking is free in Solvang’s public parking lots and the City of Solvang currently charges $1.25/hour to use the stations.
Soon, the County of Santa Barbara will greatly expand this network, installing 18 charging stations at 9 County owned sites in Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria. Cities in San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties have also added charging stations in recent months to join the hundreds of public stations that are now available throughout California.
CEC welcomes these charging stations to our region, and excitedly awaits the dozens of more coming on line soon.
Benefits of EVs
EVs provide significant environmental and societal benefits to EV drivers, such as:
- New electric cars achieve around 100 mpg equivalent, according to their EPA labels. Electric motors are 3 times more efficient than gasoline motors, with little waste heat, noise, or emissions.
- EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, benefitting society with cleaner air.
- EVs reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 75% in California, as our grid is very clean, with very little coal. We currently get 20% of our electricity from renewable energy, and this is mandated to increase to 33% by 2020. Thus EVs get cleaner as they age, unlike gasoline cars, which get dirtier.
- EV owners can charge up for $1/gallon equivalent if they take advantage of cheap, off peak nighttime charging. The money saved can be spent on local goods and services, instead of going to foreign countries.
- EVs and solar panels go great together. 2 kW of solar allows an EV driver to “drive on sunshine” for 12,000 miles per year. 2 kW of solar currently costs around $7,000-8,000 after incentives – much cheaper than paying for 25 years of gasoline!
- EVs are very fun to drive, with lots of torque right off the line.