Filling up the Mini E at the gas station; photo, Michael ThwaiteEnlarge Photo
We’ve often heard people muse that electric car charging stations need to be as ubiquitous as the humble gas station.
In fact, we’ve even encountered rare occasions where electric car charging stations are offered alongside regular and premium, but what if electric car charging stations replaced gas stations entirely?
It might sound like the utopian dream of an electric car fan, but in a small part of Boston, Massachusetts, that dream has become a reality.
Enter the appropriately-named Dinosaur Capital Partners and its Green Park & Charge site.
Built on the site of a disused gas station in the increasingly trendy Bulfinch Triangle area of downtown Boston, the facility combines a parking garage with smart-grid enabled charging stations for electric cars.
Charging Cable and SocketEnlarge Photo
In a collaborative project with California-based Streetline Inc., the facility will be fitted with smart sensors that help locate empty parking spaces within the facility as well as keep track of their car’s state of charge using its Internet-based portal and smartphone apps.
“The concept here is to create an environmentally conscious parking facility,” Scott Oran, a founding partner at Dinosaur Capital told Mass High Tech. “When we spoke with the city about the types of cars they wanted to promote, they wanted to promote electric vehicles and then they’d like to accommodate the cars that use the least amount of gas.”
To help that promotion, owners of hybrid or electric cars using the facility will get a 10 percent discount on parking charges, while electricity used to charge cars will be provided free of charge.
To discourage drivers of larger vehicles with poor gas mileage, the facility will add a 10 percent surcharge on parking for drivers of SUVs and vehicles with an EPA rating of 15 mpg or less.
As far as we know, this is the first time electric car charging stations have replaced gas pumps, but we hope it won’t be the last.
In fact, it could be the start of a new trend.
Rapid Charging Station Tennessee Gas StationEnlarge Photo
Not only have increased fuel economy and high gas prices forced many gas stations to close, but zoning laws in some areas limit the redevelopment that can occur on the site of a former gas station.
Often cited in busy inner cities, these areas of land are ideal places to develop parking garages and charging stations for commuters to use.
Will it happen?
At the moment, it’s a little early to tell. But when Boston’s Green Park & Charge facility opens on August 1, we know the green car world will be watching.