Three down, 77 to go – LA is installing a hundred new electric-vehicle charging stations across the city to utilize spare power generation capacity. Good news for EV drivers and even better news for environmentalists, reaffirming Los Angeles’ drive to become greener.
Although the city has not yet made the top 10 on the “Greenest cities” charts, it has made the top 15—at #13—and is working hard to move up. This project with the 100 chargers, however, was basically a stroke of luck. When the city decided to save on power costs and replace 4,500 miles of sodium-vapor streetlights with less bright but more energy-efficient LEDs, no conscious thought was given to the power generation capacity that will be freed up.
When this capacity became a fact, something had to be done with it, and the city authorities decided to add a hundred charging stations to the EV network. Of these, 27 should be completed by the end of the year and the rest by the end of 2017.
Wired notes that 100 stations won’t solve all the battery recharging problems of EV drivers in LA – a city of six million cars – but however you look at it, 100 is better than none, even if they are not evenly distributed across the city (some historical districts are excluded). Related: Oil Traders Sell Off As Dollar Firms
In fact, this charging station project will benefit drivers in more than one way. Unlike other such projects, this one is municipal – the city has taken on the installation costs. Other projects, however, have created controversy.
LA’s mayor is committed to making the city the greenest of them all. Turning increasingly to EVs is part of this plan: Eric Garcetti has put in a requirement that 50 percent of new cars on LA’s streets are electric by 2017. Also, the LAPD just recently announced a deal for the purchase of 100 electric BMW i3’s. This will make LA the city with the most EVs in government service. These new EVs will also need charging stations, so there are another 104 of those in the pipeline.
Mayor Garcetti pledged under his “Sustainable City pLAn” to have 1,000 new charging stations installed in the city by the end of 2017. Then more will have to be built to service the 50 percent new car requirement that will jump to 80 percent in 2025, with the overall share of EVs on the streets of LA forecast to be 10 percent in 2025 and 25 percent in 2035. Related: $50 Oil Has U.S. Rig Count Increasing For 2nd Week In A Row
It’s certainly an ambitious plan, and one that’s at the moment progressing well. The promise for the 1,000 new charging stations has already been completed, ahead of the deadline, and it has made LA the city with the most charging stations in the U.S.
Now the new ones that will utilize the excess generation capacity of power plants after the introduction of LED street lighting and the 104 for the police will ramp up the total tally nicely. Some worry that even these numbers of charging stations are not enough for a city so reliant on cars, but Mayor Garcetti is not leaving things as they are.
His pLAn also involves a ramp-up of public transportation – by 2035, half of all journeys in the city should be on foot, by bicycle or via the public transit system.
The latest news was the launch of a new metro line that’s optimistically expected to relieve traffic congestion at least a little bit. While some have argued that the effect on congestion will be negligible, something is better than nothing. The same is true for the new charging stations: a couple hundred is not a lot, but certainly better than none.
By Irina Slav of Oilprice.com
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