Last call for free home electric car chargers!
In researching a story for the San Jose Mercury News about the installation of home charging stations – technically called Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (don’t I sound official, now) -I discovered that the EV Project is winding down, and quickly.
Technically, the project is still accepting applications, however the folks at ECOtality are making no guarantees that those who apply now will be considered and accepted. In other words, if you are thinking about buying an electric vehicle, or have bought one at are procrastinating on the paperwork: Apply Now.! The program started in 2009 – 2011 in the San Francisco Bay Area. So far, the program has installed more than 6,500 home charging stations in nine states and Washington D.C. at no or minimal cost to the homeowners. A whopping 1,700 of those were in the San Francisco Bay Area!
Besides being techie and green, San Francisco Bay Area residents had extra incentive to install the chargers. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District partnered with ECOtality in the Bay Area to provide extra funding. Therefore Nissan Leaf drivers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southwestern Solano and Southern Somona counties are eligible for up to $1,200 in installation costs as well as a free Blink charger. In other parts of the country, if you live in a qualifying zip code and qualify for the program, the charger is free, but the installation credits are as low as $400. This explains the confusion -which I likely caused- over how much is covered by the program. In the Bay Area, only Nissan Leaf owners quality. However, in the other parts of the U.S., the program is open to both Leaf and Chevy Volt owners.
ECOtality is excited about the data it is collecting from chargers through its program. With more than 63 million miles of EV miles traveled recorded, they are finding that EV drivers are getting braver in the distances they drive, and becoming more confident that they will find an available charger to use away from their home, says Jason Smith of ECOtality. This assumption that EV drivers are feeling less “range anxiety” is reached through statistics showing a steady increase in the number of people using the chargers. Again, the Bay Area exceeds use compared to the rest of the U.S. The EV Project has installed 2,500 commercial chargers so far. One of the most exciting installments occurred this week with the addition of a DC 480 Fast Charger at the Hilton in Concord, California. Has anyone tried it yet? Send photos.
Thanks for everyone for their help as I researched the story, which will appear on Feb. 16 in the San Jose Mercury News and at www.mercurynews.com And, thanks to Jason Smith of ECOtality for his time and patience.