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EV Charging Station at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to Open Friday

It's the first of dozens to be installed throughout the county through the EV Project

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara County, the Community Environmental Council and ECOtality announce one of the first public charging stations on the South Coast, with many more arriving soon throughout Santa Barbara County.

The new public electric-vehicle charging station at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden will open Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The new public electric-vehicle charging station at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden will open Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden photo)

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal is poised to cut the ribbon on the first public electric vehicle charging station installed through the EV Project in Santa Barbara County at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 1212 Mission Canyon Road in Santa Barbara.

This is the first of dozens of EV charging stations being installed throughout Santa Barbara County through the EV Project, and the public is invited to attend the ceremony. Early adopters of electric vehicles are welcome to “charge up at the garden.”

“The garden’s mission is not only to foster conservation, but also to serve as a role model for sustainable practice,” SBBG Executive Director Steve Windhager said. “We are pleased to be among the first locations in Santa Barbara to offer an EV charging station for the use of our community. Supporting this national program is completely in line with our mission, and we are happy to be an early participant.”

Cabajal added: “Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has a long history of promoting environmental sustainability and stewardship. Their foresight and leadership in establishing an electric vehicle charging station will help move Santa Barbara County into the next era of a clean energy transportation infrastructure.”

Soon, the county will greatly expand this network, installing 18 charging spots at nine county-owned sites in Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria. Santa Barbara County is considered an early adopter market by utilities and car companies, and already hundreds of electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf have been purchased locally.

By the end of 2012, the offerings will expand from these two vehicles to a dozen. The Ford Focus EV, the Toyota Prius Plug-in, the Mitsubishi I-MiEV and the Tesla Model S are all expected to be released in spring or summer 2012.

The new public charging stations allow electric vehicle drivers to expand the places they can drive, and will charge a car two to four times faster than a regular 120-volt outlet. With the rising cost of gasoline, this can save owners a great deal of money as well as time.

“Electric vehicles achieve 100 miles per gallon equivalent, produce zero tailpipe emissions and reduce greenhouse gas pollution 75 percent on California’s green electricity grid,” said Michael Chiacos, transportation specialist with the Community Environmental Council. “They benefit our economy by using domestically produced electricity rather than foreign oil. Drivers save money as well with off-peak electricity costs the equivalent of $1/gallon — a considerable savings as $5/gallon gasoline prices loom.”

ECOtality is the project manager of the EV Project and will oversee the installation of commercial and residential charging stations in major cities and metropolitan areas in six states and the District of Columbia. The project will provide an EV infrastructure to support the deployment of EVs in these key markets. The project is a public-private partnership, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy through a federal stimulus grant and made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Click here for more information about the EV Project.

To prepare for electric vehicles, the Community Environmental Council is leading the “Plug In Santa Barbara” effort, a group of government, utility, business and other stakeholders working to build public charging infrastructure, reduce barriers to electric vehicles, and attract state and federal funding to the region. Click here to follow the Plug In Santa Barbara efforts, or “like” Plug In Santa Barbara on Facebook.

— Joni Kelly is the communications manager for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

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