Seattle Gets Its First Public Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

SEATTLE, Washington, June 14, 2011 (ENS) – Seattle’s Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks football team, is now also home to the city’s first publicly available EV charging stations. This coming season, Seahawks fans can charge their EVs as they’re watching the games.

“The need to drive and the demand for driving is going to remain, but we need to give people more efficient options and better options for clean energy,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said Thursday at the unveiling of the charging stations. “We’ll do all we can to make sure Seattle is eco-ready.”

“By the end of the year, more than 1,000 publicly available charging stations will be installed in Washington State, many of them in Seattle,” said Mayor McGinn.

Washington is one of six states participating in the public-private EV Project headed by ECOtotality, Inc. The company is in the process of installing 14,000 of its Blink charging stations nationwide.

Blink charging stations at Seattle’s Qwest Field (Photo courtesy ECOtality)

“This summer, customers will be able to use a Blink app for smartphones and other mobile devices to find and reserve the charging stations,” said the mayor.

ECOtality began installations of its Blink Level 2 residential charging stations in December 2010 and now has completed some 1,200 installations.

Over the past few weeks, the company has begun to install Blink Pedestal chargers in commercial and publically accessible locations in Arizona, Oregon and Tennessee in addition to Seattle.

The Blink Pedestal is a Level 2 EV charger (240V) that features an interactive seven-inch color touch screen and web-based delivery via the Blink Network.

“Charging stations like the one at Qwest Field represent our first step toward a greener, cleaner transportation future,” said U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott, who represents Seattle. “In the not too distant future, federal investments in public-private projects like this will return immense rewards and really revolutionize the cars we drive and what fuels them.”

“It’s appropriate that some of the first charging stations in the nation are here in Seattle,” said McDermott. “We’re a city of innovation and have a track record of embracing the future.”

Installation of the charging stations is a cooperative effort between the City of Seattle, the State of Washington, and the Obama Administration. Funding for the EV Project was provided by a $114.8 million grant from the US Department of Energy. When added to private investment, the total value of the EV Project is approximately $230 million.

ECOtality CEO Jonathan Read said, “EV drivers throughout the Seattle metro area and the state of Washington can expect to see more Blink charging stations at convenient locations in the coming months. Together with our EV Project partners we are creating the infrastructure needed to make the Puget Sound region a genesis for EV adoption.

Locations for the commercial charging stations were selected using ECOtality’s Micro-Climate planning process, which took into account factors including traffic patterns, the locations of employment centers, regional attractions and retail hubs, as well as the input from regional partners.

“Seattle City Light supports the use of electric vehicles as an opportunity to significantly reduce the impact of transportation on our environment and climate,” said Jorge Carrasco, superintendent of the Seattle City Light utility. “The infrastructure we are putting in place today will pave the way for providing the power to drive that cleaner transportation future.”

Copyright Environment News Service,ENS, 2011. All rights reserved.