From Gas Station To Electric-Car Charging: Is Encinitas Leading The Nation?

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Evoasis charging station rendering

Evoasis charging station rendering

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From the ashes of an old gas station flies the phoenix of electric charging for all.

If you excuse the confused metaphor, that's essentially the idea behind an electric car charging plaza proposal in Encinitas, California.

San Diego-based Evoasis wants to build the new plaza on the corner of Vulcan Avenue and E Street, and plans moved a step forward last week when the City Council agreed to consider leasing the property to Evoasis.

As The Coast News reports, the charging plaza could accommodate 15 cars at one time, and the stations would also feature a fast-charge facility for compatible vehicles.

The site used to be a gas station until 1992, when the city bought the property. Since then, the plot has been used as a small 25-space overflow lot for City Hall.

Encinitas has been chosen as Evoasis CEO Angus Clark says it's both a busy corridor for electric vehicles, and because locals are increasingly coming around to the idea of electric car ownership. He adds that the town has a reputation for being eco-friendly--"People drive electric cars or want to." The plaza would also be within convenient reach of Interstate 5.

The charging hub would also serve one of Evoasis' side projects, HulaCar.

Like Daimler's car2go electric car sharing service running in San Diego, HulaCar plans to offer a rental service with 40-50 vehicles in the area, where users can pay by the minute and drop cars off anywhere within the scheme's service territory.

Clark plays down any fears that the Encinitas electric car plaza would be full of HulaCar's Mitsubishi i electric vehicles, even though it would serve as a hub for the business--the majority of the scheme's cars would be parked throughout the service area.

He even wants to see local businesses making use of the vehicles--"We want to get to a point where the local pizza shop is using these cars to deliver pizza."

Money for the Evoasis charging plaza project will largely be provided by a $1.2 million grant from the California Energy Commission. Once set up, the business would be self-sustaining through fees paid by users--$5-6 would cover a 20-minute fast charge. With the nearest Tesla Supercharger station around 40 miles from Encinitas, it might even convince a few Model S users to stop by for its convenience.

To ensure the chargers are available for use as much as possible, customers would be encouraged to charge their vehicles for no more than 30 minutes at a time, though longer periods would be available if required.

If given the go-ahead, the plot could be up and running by summer 2014, coinciding with the launch of the car-sharing service.

For SoCal-based electric car owners, it'll make charging away from home easier than ever.

[Hat tip: Peder Norby]

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