Electric vehicle charging stations try to gain a foothold in urban areas
By Rob Nikolewski
Rodolfo Rodriguez was delighted to discover a brand new Tesla charging location in downtown San Diego.
“Anytime you can find charging, anywhere, it’s great,” Rodriguez said after he plugged in his 2018 Model X on the ground floor of the 6th & A Parking Garage. The owner of the covered garage, EMMES Realty Services, partnered with Elon Musk’s company to install 16 parking spaces, each with dedicated Tesla Superchargers that provide consistent charging times of around 30 to 45 minutes for most drivers.
That’s considerably faster than the eight to 15 hours it takes to charge at what is called a “Level 1” station, primarily for overnight, at home charging, and the three to eight hours needed at a “Level 2” charging station while on the road.
And the new downtown facility makes life a lot easier for Tesla drivers like Rodriguez. Before, the only Tesla supercharging facility was located some 14 miles north of downtown, at the parking lot at Qualcomm’s headquarters in Sorrento Valley.
The 6th & A Parking Garage is an example of the growing need for more electric vehicle charging stations, especially in densely populated urban areas, as the EV market tries to meet the ambitious — and expensive — goals set by California policymakers to morph the transportation system from the internal combustion engine to electric-powered vehicles . . .
The state is also spending a lot of money in the process:
- The California Public Utilities Commission has approved $1 billion in spending in the coming decade by the state’s three investor-owned utilities on EV infrastructure, Wood said.
- The California Energy Commission has allotted up to $200 million to support electric vehicle charging.
- And after the Volkswagen diesel emissions testing scandal, the car maker will spend more than $800 million on EVs in the state. Wood said the lion’s share of the money will go to charging stations.
All told, that’s about $2 billion largely earmarked for charging stations . . .
Wayne Winegarden, senior fellow at the San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institute, which advocates free-market economic policies, doesn’t think all the spending on rebates and charging infrastructure is a good use of public money.
“Right now, we believe the solution to global climate change is lots and lots of electric vehicles — and that might be right, but maybe it’s not,” said Winegarden, who wrote a report criticizing government spending on EVs. “There are so many examples of government getting involved in some industry or company that is going to do something miraculous and 10 years later, either Solyndra goes out of business or ethanol is harming the environment and we’re still subsidizing it.”