We’ve Got the Largest Public EV Charging Center in CA…for Now!

Panorama of EVsWhy would anyone want to set a record, only to turn around and say they can’t wait until that record is broken?

Well, that’s what we’re saying here ever since we opened the largest public electric vehicle charging center in the state. On April 20, 2016 the Santa Clara Electric Vehicle Charging Center came on line at Santa Clara’s Tasman Parking Garage located near Levi’s Stadium, the Santa Clara Convention Center and the Great America theme park. With 49 charging spots, it’ll serve EV drivers in that destination-rich environment. And a California Energy Commission grant paid for just about all of it.

But what’s coming up is even more exciting! Our charging center surpassed the previous record holder, nine chargers at a supermarket on Mowry Ave. in Fremont, which set that record in December 2015. We won’t be surprised if the growing number of charging locations includes one with 50 or more chargers in the very near future. Private companies are already on the bandwagon – reports say the new Apple campus in Cupertino will feature numerous EV chargers for employees.

A leading industry publication, Smart Grid News, echoed remarks made by Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor when it called the Santa Clara Center a “climate change milestone” with its one Fast DC charger and 48 Level 2 chargers. Plugincars.com says a Fast DC charger can “fill up” an EV in as little as 30 minutes while the Level 2 power pushers take more time.

The cost of driving an EV in Santa Clara can be around $0.04 a mile, based on a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimate. Since EV battery capacities and range vary considerably, the DOE has a Vehicle Cost Calculator to better estimate your overall expenses.

We collaborated with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Joint Venture Silicon Valley, ChargePoint and MJR Electric to make the charging center a reality. It may be the largest in the region for now, but we will be cheering for more and even larger EV charging centers for the growing number of EV drivers.

Electric Vehicles Get a Charge Out of the Tasman Parking Garage

We recently found out that 5 percent of people living 20151222_081905in Santa Clara own an electric vehicle, and a whopping 31 percent say they will consider an EV sometime in the next 3 years. Growth in EVs has been steady, and we know that the need is rising for charging stations necessary to keep them moving. We’ve stepped up support for EVs by installing 48 Level 2 ChargePoint charging spaces at the Tasman parking garage serving the Mission College/Tasman area, Santa Clara Convention Center, and Levi’s Stadium.

The new stations recently went live on the first two levels of the garage, and are in addition to the EV chargers available at the Santa Clara Central Library and at Santa Clara City Hall. The charging speeds of chargers differ:

  • Level 1, 110 volts, is slow
  • Level 2, 220 volts, is faster
  • Level 3, 480 volts, is fastest

One Level 3 charger is also available at the Tasman parking structure.

We partnered with the California Energy Commission, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Joint Venture Silicon Valley to make the project possible. Although most of the project was funded by grants, a fee is charged at the EV charging stations to cover the balance of the installation costs and power. Navigant Research estimates that there will be 140,000 EVs on California roads by the end of the year, so we’ll be keeping an eye on the growing local demand for charging stations.

Along with current EV carmakers like Nissan, Ford, Chevrolet and Kia, companies like Audi, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz are planning to join Tesla in the luxury EV market in the next few years, according to the California Air Resources Board.