Electric car chargers added to park-and-ride

  • Tue May 8th, 2012 8:54pm

By Bill Sheets Herald writer

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — People with electric cars now will have the option of charging up while they ride the bus to work.

Charging outlets for 20 cars have been installed at the Mountlake Terrace park-and-ride lot at 236th Street SW and I-5. A dedication “plug-in” ceremony was held May 5.

Each of the 10 stations is equipped with two outlets. One is a 120-volt, “level 1” outlet that charges a car from empty to full in 16 to 30 hours, depending on the type of vehicle. The other is a 240-volt, level 2 charger than can juice up a car in eight to 15 hours.

This is the most charging stations installed in any one location so far in Snohomish or King counties, said Shane Hope, planning director for Mountlake Terrace.

The 20 chargers are two more than the 18 recently installed in the parking garage at the Snohomish County complex in Everett.

The new stations in Mountlake Terrace are the first to be installed at a park-and-ride lot in the county, according to websites that show station locations.

Mountlake Terrace applied for and received a $55,000 federal grant for the stations, Hope said. The city paid for installation, which she estimated at a few thousand dollars. The ChargePoint brand stations are made by Coulomb Technologies of Campbell, Calif.

The project was done with the blessing of Community Transit, which leases the site from the state for the park-and-ride lot.

Three years ago, with $20 million in federal grant money, Community Transit built a five-story parking garage at the park-and-ride lot, expanding the number of parking spaces from 387 to 880. The garage is connected by footbridge to a $35 million bus station in the I-5 median, opened last year by Sound Transit.

Commuters with electric vehicles can now park, plug in and let their cars charge up all day while they’re gone, Hope said.

The service costs 85 cents per hour with a maximum of $4 per session, she said. The charging stations take credit cards. The charger shuts off automatically when the car’s battery is full, said Mike Mangione, electrical inspector for the city.

Most in-home chargers cost about 30 to 35 cents per hour, Hope said. But even at the higher figure, $4 can take an all-electric Nissan Leaf 100 miles — much farther than $4 can take a gasoline-powered vehicle, she noted.

The all-electric Nissan Leaf and the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, which has a 40-mile electrical range and a gas engine as well, became available within the past year and a half.

Several auto makers, including Ford, are planning new models for release.

The Leaf sells for about $35,000 and the Volt for about $39,000.

A $7,500 federal tax credit is available for each.

Charging stations

At least four websites help drivers find public charging stations:

U.S. Department of Energy: http://tinyurl.com/3kjzcrm

Blink: http://tinyurl.com/3myyjxb

ChargePoint: http://tinyurl.com/3msqybu

Recargo: www.recargo.com/search