The Ramada Santa Barbara on Wednesday became the first hotel in Santa Barbara County to unveil electric-vehicle charging stations.
There are three 240-volt Blink stations at 4770 Calle Real that drivers of electric cars can use temporarily for free with a swipe of a Blink card. A depleted car will take about eight hours to charge and, after the free trial, will cost $1 to $2 an hour, according to Michael Chiacos, the Community Environmental Council’s transportation manager.
He said electric motors are three times more efficient than internal combustion engines, produce zero tailpipe emissions, use 20 percent renewable energy and will get cleaner as they age.
“As the first hotel (to implement charging stations), they will reap the benefits of lots of tourists, business travelers and UCSB parents who can stay the night, charge up their cars and make it back to L.A.,” Chiacos said.
The Ramada, which also features a solar-heated pool, wanted to bring together the entire community to accommodate visitors and stimulate the Santa Barbara economy, according to Ramada Limited spokesman Drew Wakefield.
Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, Santa Barbara County 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf and Goleta Mayor Ed Easton were among local government and business leaders who attended Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“This is really an opportunity to promote electric vehicles and alternative forms of transportation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to have businesses, government and nonprofits work together,” Schneider said.
Chiacos said that while the Ramada is the first hotel to host charging stations in Santa Barbara County, there are 23 units throughout the county and 24 more on the way.
Hotel general manager Tom Patton said the county and Plug-in Central Coast helped speed up the permitting process.
“The people behind the planning counter said it was the right thing and it needed to get done,” he said. “So they were able to push us through when we were originally given the time frame of four to six months; they got it through in a couple of weeks.”
After about $10,000 in state subsidies, the Nissan Leaf costs about $25,000, Chiacos said, adding that prices need to come down and the technology needs to improve before electric cars are widely deployed. The Leaf can travel about 73 miles per charge. The MIT Enterprise Forum Central Coast held a similar discussion last week.
Schneider said she hopes the Ramada sets a trend.
“I look forward to seeing a lot more of these,” she said.