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UPlace mulls rules on electric vehicle charging stations

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on April 14, 2011 at 9:30 am with No Comments »
April 15, 2011 9:55 am

The University Place Planning Commission will hold a public hearing April 20 on a proposal to allow electric vehicle charging stations.

A 2009 state law set a deadline of July 1 for Washington cities to allow charging stations. The law was intended to support the needs of electric vehicles as automakers develop more of these models. Already Chevrolet has been selling the Volt, an electric car that uses gasoline to extend its range, in several states, and Nissan has begun rolling out the all-electric Leaf.

The law set earlier deadlines for cities in urban Puget Sound counties adjacent to major highways to to allow infrastructure for electric vehicles, including battery charging stations, where a low battery is swapped for a new one so drivers don’t have to wait to charge up.

The cities of Lakewood and Tacoma as well as Pierce County have adopted these ordinances. The cities of DuPont and Milton have drafted ordinances.

University Place amended its existing code to allow charging stations rather than write a new chapter for that purpose.

“The Planning Commission felt it was premature to create a new chapter dedicated to electric vehicle infrastructure because the technology was just evolving and the City has not yet received any inquires regarding the issue,” according to a staff report.

The proposal allows Level 1 and 2 chargers in residential and commercial areas, but prohibits commercial use of chargers installed at residences. Level 1 chargers have voltage similar  a regular household outlet and can charge a vehicle in 16 to 24 hours. Level 2 chargers have voltage similar to what serves an electric oven or dryer and can “fill up” a vehicle in four to six hours.

The proposal only allows Level 3, or rapid, chargers that can charge a vehicle in less than 30 minutes, and battery exchange stations where gas stations are now allowed.

The city will install six electric charging stations in the new parking garage under the civic and library building.

The hearing starts at 7 p.m. in the City Hall Meeting Room, 3715 Bridgeport Way West.

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