Future of Electric Vehicles in Pasadena Gets Big Charge From New Proposal

With help from Tesla, the City plans the largest electric vehicle charging station in the West

Published : Monday, February 25, 2019 | 5:38 AM

Current and future electric vehicle drivers in Pasadena could be in for some shockingly welcome news this year.

A new proposal going before a City committee this week could result in Pasadena developing the largest electric vehicle charging station in the Western United States.

The City’s Municipal Service Committee on Tuesday will consider recommending to City Council a five-year agreement with Tesla to provide 24 new Tesla charging stations in the Marengo Parking Garage at 155 East Green Street.

No Tesla? No problem. Tesla would also build the infrastructure for an additional 20 charging stations for non-Tesla electric cars.

The 44 stations would create a centrally located charging station useable by a wide variety of electric vehicle types.

The proposal comes as electric vehicle sales in the U.S. are spiking, last year rising up 81 percent over 2017, according to the tracking website Inside EVs.

The new Pasadena charging stations would feature Direct Current Fast Chargers (“DCFC”), considered the most advanced electric vehicle charger technologies available and capable of charging an electric vehicle to 80% in 20 to 30 minutes.

“Fast charging has high demand but the availability of such chargers is scarce,” said the report, adding, “While the City has been promoting electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas and other air emissions consistent with the City’s Climate Action Plan, the City of Pasadena has only one DCFC located at the Del Mar Parking Garage that is available to all electric vehicle (“EV”) drivers,” said the report.

According to the staff report, the proposed “Marengo Charging Plaza” would be installed on the top level of the Marengo parking garage, which is connected to the Paseo Colorado mall through a pedestrian overpass bridge.

“The proposed Marengo Charging Plaza will enhance EV charging infrastructure in Pasadena and act as a catalyst for increased visits to businesses located in Old Pasadena and Paseo Colorado as marketed through the Tesla vehicle owner digital platform,” said the report.

The staff report also noted that the new charging spaces were “strategically selected to avoid monopolizing prime parking spaces predominantly utilized by the businesses located adjacent to the charging plaza.”

While EV chargers are usually free, parking fees would still apply to anyone entering the Marengo parking facility.

Project planning between City and Tesla began in early 2018 to discuss the possibility of installing Tesla charging stations in Old Pasadena. The city reviewed all its garages and available power infrastructure in the area. After the initial assessment review period and multiple meetings with the Tesla Team, the Marengo parking structure was chosen, based on several factors including Tesla’s site selection criteria.

Tesla will be responsible for all costs of electric service upgrades, equipment procurement, installation, maintenance and electricity use associated with the Tesla charging stations, according to the proposed agreement.

The Tesla charging stations will be separately metered, according to the staff report, and Tesla will pay all associated electric bills, as well as the electrical infrastructure improvements needed to supply PWP’s planned EV charging stations in addition to its own.

Should the Municipal Services Committee approve the agreement, it could likely appear on the City Council agenda as early as next week.

No timeline was given for the actual construction of the 44 new charging stations.

The Municipal Services Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday, February 26 at 4 p.m. in the City Council Chambers in the Pasadena City Hall at 100 North Garfield Avenue.

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